Author has written 3 stories for Essay.
"Writing is hard work. A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it's because writing is hard." —William Zinsser
How's it going? Call me John. I'm 24 years old, and I'm a journalism student and pianist. I used to think I was the best darn writer (who was very unappreciated and undiscovered) until a humbling day in March 2007, when I threw an online tantrum because people didn't like my writing. Two words: Toad's Castle.
Five years after my self-inflicted humiliation, I know I'm not so hot. I read my old stories and cringe. I finish a story and learn how to avoid mistakes. Best of all, I don't use my Christian faith as an excuse to throw tantrums. Heck, I don't throw tantrums, period. I learn from criticism and work as long and hard as I can to improve my writing. Frustration, angst, excitement, triumph, reality check after reality check—that's how I've learned.
Writing is easy. Good writing is hard work. To produce good writing, you have to know your strengths and weaknesses. You need a thick skin and enough humility to accept criticism. You have to be slightly dissatisfied with your writing so you don't think you've mastered the craft. (Only a few writers have actually mastered it, including C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, and FanFiction.net writer Kit-Karamak.) You have to learn from your mistakes and read a little crappy fiction to understand others'. Most of all, you have to know what you're writing about. Few things make a story more exciting than knowing what you want to say. When you're full of ideas and the words keep pouring out, it makes writing worth the effort.
I've learned the most about writing in my journalism classes and books I've read. I give kudos to my journalism teachers and the writers for their insights:
1) If you can't explain your story clearly, you can't write it. Instead, think about your subject. Research it so you know what you want to say.
2) Don't wait for inspiration. You increase your chances of inspiration by writing, reading and researching.
3) Be a pioneer: Never settle with your best. You can always do a little better than you think. When you finish a story, celebrate your accomplishment even if you don't think you should. After that, look back and find ways to improve. Push yourself a little further every day.
4) Read more than you write. See how authors craft their sentences, study the ways they see things, and learn how they interpret ideas.
5) Write a little every day. Try different forms—short story, poems, songs, articles, essays. You'll get fresh ideas and perspectives.
6) When people critique you, listen.
7) Silence is the harshest criticism. If no one reviews your work, write even more. You'll write better if you respond positively to criticism.
8) Shorten your sentences and cut adjectives and adverbs.
9) Write with confidence. Write something you'll enjoy. Even if you don't enjoy it, write something you'll be proud of.
Be sure to check out my favorite authors on Fanfiction.net and FictionPress.com:
Dragonflesh and Tarnished Gold by Lccorp2 (FictionPress)
All of the Reflections series, Lament of Carmelita, and "The Price of Freedom" by Kit-Karamak (FanFiction)
It Is Our Nature and Molmol by Mantis Man (FanFiction)
Thanks for reading!
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