Your Cherished Dream of Writing - Fulfill it When You Retire
Copyright (c) 2009 Charles Jacobs
The Gallup Survey Organization says 81% of mature adults long to write
a book. You're probably one of them.
Whatever your answers may be, be absolutely certain you are comfortable with them. This is particularly important if you plan to write a full-length book, for you will be married to that task for a substantial length of time.
Making Your Choice
Beginning writers regularly ask, "Where can I find ideas?" The answer, in short, is the world around you. There are no limits to the ideas that astute observers can develop. And writers must be alert spectators.
Ideas abound right in your own home. Coping with a dear one's terminal illness. Secrets of a relationship that grows stronger with every year of marriage. An unusual family heritage. Cooking or decorating ideas. Unique holiday celebrations. The list is endless.
Beyond your four walls there is an endless storehouse of ideas. You find them all around you by listening and watching and hearing what friends and relatives talk about. Stories, books and articles are built around events and emotions that people experience.
You can also find them every day in the newspaper. You can choose to follow up a factual report and expand it far beyond what a rushed reporter can do on a tight deadline. Or you can choose to take the idea and fictionalize it, adding your own twists and turns.
A book like Writer's Market, updated annually by Writer's Digest Books is a treasure trove of ideas. It offers hundreds of pages of periodical listings categorized by subject. Freelancers use it as a bible to locate publications that might use their stories. You can use it as a trigger for ideas as you flip through the 50 categories of consumer magazines and 60 categories of trade journals.
Whether you're about to embark on a novel or nonfiction, an article or a full length book, you're not ready to face that blank computer monitor until you've completed all of your initial homework. That includes evaluating the responses to the question listed above.
Most fiction writers begin by drafting an outline of the plot. As each main character is fully developed - and you as the author must know those key players as well as you know yourself - changes will be necessitated in the outline. You must research the locale(s) and the time period of the book, for nothing can cause a reader to lose interest faster than discovering factual mistakes made by a careless writer.
The essence of nonfiction is fact, and you better know your facts intimately and accurately if you are to achieve success. Whether you are writing an historical piece or a how-to, do your research. Know your subject. Those of you who choose to write on your work specialty better make certain you are up to date on all the latest developments. Always remember that progress didn't end on the day you retired. Change has occurred, and you better be aware of it.
The key word here is research. Getting up to speed. Knowing your subject intimately. Without this, you run the serious risk of suffering from the author's dread disease, Writer's Block. It usually results from facing a stark white computer screen that seems to leer at you, challenging you to make the leap from brain to computer, from thought to the reality of converting those thoughts into words and placing them on the computer. Writers who have done their research well and know their subject will seldom if ever face this problem.
The one last component that you must agree to is discipline. Whether you choose to devote only two or three hours a day to your writing or anticipate making it a full-time job, it cannot be hit-or-miss. You must set a rigid schedule, and follow it. A few hours each morning leaves lots of time for other activities, yet adds a hugely enriching complement to your retirement years.
About The Author:
Do you need a support system to help jump start your writing career? See what's available free on http://www.retirement-writing.com/ - the web site of writing coach and author Charles Jacobs. His latest book "The Writer Within You" is a Best Books of 2007 honoree, a 5-star choice on Amazon, B&N and Borders and a selection of the Writer's Digest Book Club. Find detailed info and order it at a substantial discount by clicking on http://www.retirement-writing.com/the_writer_within_you.aspx
Read more articles written by: Charles Jacobs
Published - November 2009
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