Things I don’t need to be a successful writer in 2017


Lord, we don’t need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last ’till the end of time
– Hal David

I’m still talking about writing. On the plus side, you’re here reading again.

I don’t need another class about writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I can always learn. I had an incredible learning experience last spring when I was privileged to be a part of The Mighty Pen Project at the Virginia War Memorial (hit them up, give them money). Sitting around the table with about a dozen veterans under the instruction of author David Robbins I became a better writer, and in some ways, I think a better man.

What I mean is I don’t need another internet class about writing. Sure, some of them are great. But I’ve grown weary of all of the “free” webinars that are just infomercials to get me to buy into their expert class that will make me a huge, and I do mean huge, success, for the discounted price of $497.

I’m not saying that those programs don’t have value. They’re just not what I need to become a better writer.

I don’t need another book about writing.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a lot from Stephen King’s On Writing and from Jeff Goins’ You Are a Writer. And I may be reading more this year.

Goins was the one who convince me to go from saying “I want to be a writer” to “I am a writer.”

Good stuff, that.

It’s just not what I need to become a better writer.

I don’t need the perfect writing environment.

In many ways, I’m fortunate. I already have a pretty good writing environment. A few years back I appropriated the guest room as my own office. I should stay I did so with my wife’s blessing. She and the younger son share what would “normally” be the dining room as their office. That was the compromise when she started homeschooling.

So I’ve been able to make this my domain. I have a big desk, lots of shelves, and a good window. My walls and shelves are filled with mementos and reminders of shows I’ve done, things I’ve accomplished, and the things I love. And, I have a door that closes if I need it to.

All that being said, what I need to write is a flat space for the laptop or iPad and a chair large enough to which my ample backside may be applied.

There are tools to help me improve, a good dictionary, thesaurus, and spellcheck are essential.

What it all comes down to is that I need a space (I have), the tools (I have), and the time to write.

I have to make the time.

While I’ll never write at Carnegie Hall, I need to practice, practice, practice.

In other words, what I need to become a better writer in 2017 is just to write, write, write.

I’m not dismissing any of the above-mentioned tools and helps but they’re just not going to do me any good if my fingers aren’t moving across the keyboard.

And so, I write.

Hopefully as I do, I’m getting better at it.

Monkey. Shakespeare. You know the drill.


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