Thursday, February 23, 2017

Writing Life

Writing is something we do alone, at least most of the time. The Internet has changed that a bit. We have writing groups, UTube videos, research options, and other helps earlier writers couldn’t imagine.

Gone are the days when publishers picked up stories they liked or loved then cleaned them up for the author. Today we are expected to have “beta readers” those lovely writers that look over our work and suggest changes, correct grammar or spelling, and improve our work immensely. A word of caution here, we can’t make all changes anybody suggests. That came into clear focus in a short story writing class I took. We had seventeen in that class and everyone critiqued each others’ three stories. More often than not, what one person liked, another one disliked. Yet when taken as a whole, when the author saw a majority agree on some point or the other, he or she needed to take notice.

I can’t speak about UTube writing videos, I haven’t used them very much, but I’ve heard some mentioned from time to time, and I’m sure some are helpful, and others not so much.

I’m not going to delve into the glories of researching on the Internet, except to say—be cautious. It may come as a surprise to some people, but not everything on the Internet is true. There is as much misinformation as good information out there. Cross reference, and double check.

I’m especially sold on writing groups on-line or in person. I still have a few friends I’ve never met from the old days of AOL’s Writers’ Club. That was a well oiled machine with many controlled weekly chats. I’ll admit I went to too many of them and they did steal writing time, but I got good information that helped me in various aspects of writing.

I currently belong to a fantastic writing organization. We have monthly meetings. I belong to an on-line chapter, but there are live chapters also. This organization has an annual writing conference where writers of all types get to learn from those who have gone before.

In short, today’s writers have it both harder and easier than ever before. Harder because we have to perfect our work more before being published, but easier because we have the tools to do so.

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