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Posts tagged ‘amateur’

First Monday Mentoring, making time to write

It’s the first Monday of the month (or the first Sunday if you’re in the northern hemisphere). You’re invited to ask writing-related questions here for me to answer. Lots of talented writers read and comment on this blog and your thoughts and writing experiences may help others.

Questions posted ahead of time will be answered during Monday October 1.

Sometimes the questions go past Monday into the week, and that’s okay too.

To kick things off, here’s a question I get asked a lot – how do you find time to write?

The short answer is, you MAKE time. Nobody has all the time they need to write. If you wait for the perfect moment, you’ll probably never start.

We find time for the things we really want to do. Not what we should do, or dream of doing – but the stuff that burns inside us, keeps us awake at night, and won’t give us any mental peace.

If that’s writing, then you’ll get up an hour earlier, or stay up later, skip a few TV shows, write in your lunch hour…you’ll make the time. You’ll plot in your head while waiting at the bank or post office, and create characters while you’re stuck at red lights.

Do you want to write, or do you simply like the idea of being a writer?

IMO it’s fine to write for your own pleasure, or to share stories with family and friends. Albert Facey wrote his life story for his family. It only came to a publisher’s attention when they took the manuscript to Fremantle Arts Press to be printed and bound. They published the book and it became the Australian classic, A Fortunate Life, later filmed for television.

Few memoirs do as well unless they have strong universal appeal.  But writing to give people pleasure, or for the joy of putting words together is a worthwhile end in itself, as is dabbling in painting or throwing pots. It’s only lately that the word “amateur” has become a put-down. It comes from the Greek for a lover of something. An amateur writer writes for love of the craft.

Either way, you’re a writer if you write. And you’ll make the time because you can’t not write. That’s just how it is.

Got a question related to writing? Feel free to ask me here, or make a comment.

Valerie

http://www.valerieparv.com

on Twitter @valerieparv

and Facebook

Now writing short fiction for Living magazine http://www.livingmagazine.com.au

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Is it okay to write without wanting to be published?

On Facebook this week, online friend Fiona Marsden dropped something of a bombshell.

She posted, “I have made a momentous decision. I’m not going to write for publication.”

When I asked if she would still write for enjoyment, she said, “Oh yes. But I find the whole idea of trying to write something that someone else thinks is publishable is too stressfull. It’s taking the joy out of it. I’ll just write what I like and if it isn’t publishable well too bad.”

To some writers this borders on heresy; to others it makes perfect sense.  I thought it a brave and very sensible decision to make, and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.  Having only read entries in Fiona’s blog, her posts on Facebook and in the Bat Cave on eHarlequin.com (don’t ask!)  I can’t comment on her creative writing, although her posts suggest she has the proverbial “way with words”.

But there’s a deeper issue at stake here for writers.

Is it okay to enjoy writing, perhaps share your work online, and with family and friends, without seeking publication? In my book, The Idea Factory, I explored the idea of writing for enjoyment, observing that, ” “Painters find it perfectly acceptable to dabble in art and produce unspectacular pictures for their living room walls. Yet for some reason writing isn’t considered acceptable unless it’s for publication.”

Imagine if everyone who enjoyed designing clothes felt their work wasn’t complete until worn by some celebrity on the red carpet? Or if a keen gardener couldn’t sleep at night without medals from the Chelsea Flower Show?

These days it’s fine to publish your own work through the many resources available on line.

With some foresight (Idea Factory was published in 1995), I wrote “You can self-publish. For many years this was a dirty word, but as publishers become what Morris West calls ‘agglomerated’ and mainly interested in potential blockbuster novels, small presses are making a comeback.”

Self-publishing, or indie publishing as it’s known now, can lead to spectacular success. John Grisham’s novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected by 28 publishers. It was finally accepted and 5,000 copies printed. Grisham bought 1,000 of them and toured the USA selling them himself. Those books are worth more than $4,000 today if you can find one.

Then there’s Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, by British author E L James. Starting life as Twilight fan-fiction online, the book has now been published, selling over 10 million copies worldwide.

Even if this doesn’t happen to you, it’s fine to decide to enjoy playing with words, putting them together in whatever form takes your fancy, without caring whether they’re published or not.

It’s only recently the word amateur has come to mean  less worthy than professional.

The word itself comes from the Latin amator meaning a lover of something, describing one who does something for the joy of it, rather than for payment. If dealing with real-world or digital publishing takes “the joy out of it” for you, then write for yourself. Share your work where and when you please. Who knows where it will lead?

Valerie

http://www.valerieparv.com

Proud Friend of the National Year of Reading 2012

Established Writer in Residence Katharine Susannah Prichard Centre, Perth 2012

On Twitter @valerieparv and Facebook

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