Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Well Rounded Breakfast

Believe it or not success in the writing industry doesn’t depend alone on your god-given ability to put words on a page. If that were true, hundreds of unpublished authors would have been published and vice-versa. Success depends on preparation; you have to eat your Wheaties. If you deducted from the above statements this blog is the beginning of a 5 part series listing basic elements to include in a hearty, success-boosting breakfast, you may have read ahead.

Just as a well-rounded meal at the start of the day boosts energy, preparedness, and alertness, having a well-rounded knowledge base of the writing field can better your writing, your understanding of the industry, and spare you from making the naive mistakes some writers make. For most writers, if we could do nothing but type on our laptops all day, the computer would burn out before we would. Fortunately for our computers, success in writing requires us to change out of sweat pants. In short, writers who want to make a career of their craft have to seek out the same pre-professional training generally undertaken in other trades.

Similar to an internship one might enter into at the beginning of a career in the medical field or law practice, writers have to spend some time to gain basic know-how of practice and tailor that new-found knowledge to what works best for them.

In this five part series, I’ve included elements that have been crucial in my development as well as resources I have known to be useful for others. Although this series is slanted towards those in the ‘pre-publication’ stage, keep in mind we never stop growing as writers until we decide to. Rest assured these elements will be just as much a part of your career as your ‘internship’.

(Note: I had I very hard time choosing a particular order for this series to be posted in, as a result, they are in no particular order.)

Part 1 of 5: The Internet: The Iced of Coffee of Your Breakfast

The internet and its infinite supply of information on the writing field is like the Dunkin’ Donut’s iced coffee of your breakfast. Sure, the writing field survived for years without it, but now that we have it, America runs on it as does the industry to the internet.

(I won’t get started on the eBook battle, but JA Konrath has had some amazing guest post lately on the subject. Read and believe if you still think eBooks are eBull.)

Aside from the amazing strides eBooks authors have taken, the internet is host to a variety of sources which won’t even begin to be covered in this 600 word blog. (Rest assured, more blogs are coming.)

When I began seeking out advice to develop my writing career, I started on the internet. What I found there led me to every other element I’ll cover in this blog series. If you don’t already have a list of sites you regularly visit for advice, I’d recommend starting at the websites or blogs of the authors you read. They can turn out to be your best source. Most of the time they offer up their own stories to publication, advice they have found true, and links to sites they regularly visit themselves.

Marcussakey.com was one of the first places I looked and got lucky. Marcus provides some great info in his FAQs as well as links to outside sites. One is to the blog he belongs to, The Outfit, which is a collective of Chicago crime writers. I read The Outfit regularly. It’s always interesting as well as relevant.

Another author site I’d suggest is Denise Tompkin's site. Her blog is very well written (one of the best I’ve read) and contains great advice, especially for new writers.

I regularly visit both of these sites and have found both authors are great at responding to readers.

Aside from author websites another great source is online thesauruses and reference books. I like to use http://www.reference.com/ which has a thesaurus, dictionary, and encyclopedia.

In my beginnings as a writer, as much as I do now, I picked up a lot of advice from writersdigest.com. They have content from numerous authors on various topics. If you have a question, a lot of times the answer lies here. They also put out a magazine I enjoy, which is (in part) the next element of your breakfast/internship.

What are some of the websites/blogs you have found particularly helpful?

Next Post: Books and Magazines On Writing: The Bacon.

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