The WHO, What, Where, When, Why and How of Writing - Part 1
I first posted this on April 3, 2019 on my publisher Books We Love's Blog but I was too busy to share. Hopefully, you all enjoy!
Walking tends to make my creative brain ramble with ideas I generally forget fifteen minutes later, especially when I get caught in the rain and have to hustle. But this concept for a series of blogs stuck. When we think of the five Ws, we immediately think journalism. In this case, however, I’m applying it to writing.
Who – as in Who are YOU as a writer?
What – for What do you want to write?
Where – location, location, location.
Why – what drives you?
When – what the best time to write?
Over the next few months, I’d like to expand on those ideas because those are the questions I see a great deal on social media questions and answer pages for writers, new and experienced. We all have this curiosity about other writers as well as our own creativity and what makes us tick.
So let’s start with the WHO.
Who am I?
When I was a kid, my dream was to be on the Oprah show. To get there, I planned to become one of two things: An actor or a writer. Fast forward a few years later (Ha!). Oprah’s show is over. I am not an actor, but I work for a live-stage theatre.
And I am a writer.
I’m not famous. I may never be, but I’m doing what I love to do even if I’m not able to do it full time just yet.
How long have you been a writer?
This question comes up a lot on forums. For me, I started storytelling when I was little, before I could write. Then learned how to put those stories onto paper so others could read them.
I’ve stuck my passion in a drawer for years to satisfy someone who called it a waste of time, then dragged it back out when I had kids and never looked back.
Are you one of those people who has always loved books and capable of survival if locked in alone in a library for a long weekend?
With a stash of water and food, I’d be in Heaven! Not that all writers would survive without full access to computers or paper to work on!
Have you always had an itch to write the next great novel or do you dream of being wealthy and famous beyond words?
In all honesty, it’s not easy. Those writers like J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, and the like, they’ve had their share of rejections and have had to work hard to get to where they are. All writers do.
Most will never get that kind of attention or notoriety...
Can you type?
That one may seem silly on the surface, but these days all books are submitted via email to agents and publishers. No one will accept a handwritten stack of loose leaf papers.
Do you LOVE to write?
I’ve been told to get a real job many times. That’s never stopped me from writing. Even John Grisham wrote between court cases.
I write between my full time job, raising my kids, and trying to lead a normal life. I write because I have a passion for words, books, for creating stories that no one has ever heard before.
Writing, for some of us, is like a disease that wakes us in the wee hours of the morning. Or distracts us in a board meeting or while on long walks.
We can’t live our lives without a pen in hand or a computer screen beckoning.
Do you have a thick skin?
People can be mean. They criticize and condemn even if they’ve never actually read a word we’ve written. They tell us our dreams are silly and not worth the paper they’re written on.
If you are open to constructive criticism, there are many people out there who will genuinely be able to help you improve your skills.
Listening and learning only help us grow.
Do you have a sense of curiosity in how you see the world around you?
Perhaps another silly question, but it’s how we see the world that makes us writers. We question. We experiment. We have a curiosity about “What if” which is what compels us to create.
Our stories may be based on world events, life events, anything that strikes a chord deep within and makes us wonder what might have been.
Are you addicted to collecting pens, paper, and sticky notes?
Yes, some people prefer paperless, but a lot of writers I know live for the smell of freshly printed books, colorful notebooks, and multi-colour pens which we carry in every pocket and bag we own.
A writer without a pen is like a smoker without a lighter.
One last question for you before I’m off to work on my own book… Are you willing to put in the work?
Writing is indeed work. You need to do research, create a rough draft, edit that rough draft, submit to editors, agents and publishers, do more edits, cry a little, do even more edits.
Then the work begins. No one will market your book for you. You must spend time telling the world what a brilliant person you are and how you’ve written a great story.
You have to organize and do book signings, attend writing events, take workshops to develop your skills, attend more events, do interviews both online and in your community, join writing groups and online groups…
The list never ends. There are so many ways to reach your audience.
The short of it is, you cannot just write a book then sit back and let it take on the world.
The world will never know it exists without a little help from its creator.
Author of Wild Blue Mysteries; Gilda Wright Mysteries and Glitter Bay Mysteries
Mom of 3 boys and 2 cats and a mouse we can't find...