I read a lot of varying advice on the internet about writing, self-publishing and being an author. To be honest, I’ve been amazed and overwhelmed by the number of independent authors out there. There is an unbelievable amount of incredible writers just waiting to be discovered.
Writing is a very diverse talent. Some people study all aspects of the English language, sentence structure, verbiage and tense and have trouble putting together a coherent thought. Others, though, never took a single creative writing class and can weave together a story that would astound Shakespeare.
Ernest Hemingway said, “Prose is architecture, not interior decoration.” Though it’s hard to argue with one of the greatest writers of our time but, to me, it’s not about the sentence structure and proper grammar but the story. Oh, don’t get me wrong, bad English will take away from any good story. You need to proofread, spell check and edit anything you write. It’s about the storyteller and what they have to say.
It’s incredible to read about J.K. Rowling and how she struggled through writing the Harry Potter series until the book finally took off. Now, she’s one of the richest and, more importantly, most influential authors of our time. That is something to aspire too.
C. J. Cherryh said, “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.” That is one of the problems with being a self-published author. You don’t always have the resources to edit your work before its published. I remember after Forever Avalon was published, I sent copies of my book to my family. After reading my book, my mother sent me two pages of grammar and spelling errors. It was quite a humbling experience and it made me work harder as a writer.
I love to write. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I remember back to my childhood when I was fascinated with comic books and superheroes. I drew cartoons all the time, sometimes creating my own characters. I was so focused on the art, I never realized the creative side of writing and storytelling that I was delving into.
I was an okay artist but I was narrow-minded, ignoring the creative side that was trying to burst out of me. I realize now that there was more of a writer in there and I just needed to cultivate and groom those talents.
That’s one of the reason I always give credit where credit is due. Dungeons and Dragons fueled my imagination, but it was the U.S. Navy that molded my creative writing through journalism. The education I received from my Navy training at the Defense Information School was top-notch. It gave me the tools I needed to become a self-published, independent author.
In no way am I comparing myself to J.K. Rowling. We all take different journeys to reach our destination. My novels may not become multi-million best sellers, even though that is my ultimate goal; but I am very happy with the work I’m doing. I see the improvement in my writing as I progress from one book to the next.
Somerset Maugham said, “If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write?” That’s true to all of us. We all have to find that inner writer, our own creativity, and pursue it as part of our dream of becoming a successful author.