Friday, December 6, 2013

Baby Steps Are Best

"I'm going to be a writer." How many of you have said that at some period in your life? I'm willing to wager that the numbers are pretty high. Saying it and doing it are two distinctly different things. We don't declare something like this that will affect our entire lives and then expect it to happen in the manner of a fairy waving her magic wand. Poof! You're a writer. If only!

No, it begins with tiny steps. I can't tell you how many writers I know who startred out by writing a novel to pursue a dream. But guess what? Writing a novel is an enormous step. Starting out with a huge project like that often leads to frustration, failure and giving up.

In your first year of life, you were pretty helpless at the beginning, dependent on others to feed you, change you, turn you over, bathe you and more. You learned a lot that first year--you smiled, turned over, sat up alone, crawled, said a word or two, and you finally learned to walk. But you walked with baby steps. By the time you were two, you ran and jumped and did so many more things that brought clapping of hands and praise from Mama and Daddy.

Beginning a career, or even a hobby, as a writer should progress in much the same way. Start small and move along in baby steps. Write lots of short stories before you attempt a novel. Write short poems before you tackle the epic narrative. Write snippets of memoir before you try a full-blown memoir story. Then consider a nonfiction book in the memoir genre.

That fairy with her magic wand can rarely be found, so it's up to you. Start with those baby steps to reach your goal. The important thing is to make that first move. The more steps you take in your writing life, the easier it is and the better you write. Start small; aim high.

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