May 26, 2014

Thoughts on Writing (& How I Write)

By Pamela Swyers

Writing is one of those tricky things. Many people say they want to write and only some of them get around to doing it. It takes time and focus and a strong will to sit down and do something that people may or may not like, that you might or might not get paid for, etc. In my experience, there are some prerequisites to making it as a writer, particularly a writer of full-length fiction novels.

One: I really believe you have to be born with a passion for the written word and be a huge reader. When someone says to me that they want to write a book but then tell me that they never read, I can pretty much write them off--it will never happen. (I always tell aspiring writers to read everything they can get their hands on in the genre that they love.)

Two: You have to have (make) the time to focus on nothing but writing. You must set aside writing time every week, then stick to it, even if you sit down in front of your computer and stare at a blank screen for a while. This takes a lot of self-discipline and can be a tough thing in the midst of families, other jobs and responsibilities. I am fortunate enough to be able to write almost full time these days, but I wasn't always, and not everyone is, especially in the beginning. You prioritize what is important to you, so if you want to write, make it happen.

Three: It always saddens me to say this, but to some degree, you either have it or you don't. I read manuscripts very often, and I can tell in the first three paragraphs if the person has what it takes to be a writer. Some I believe have potential but need to take a few classes on basic writing skills so that they can effectively tell the story they are trying to tell.

For me the process begins with the idea. I keep a folder with book ideas and they come to me all the time. Some in dreams, some just seem to pop into my head and some seem to be generated by people, music, movies or any number of things.

Once I have the theme in mind, I jot down a basic bullet-point outline that will tell me how the book is going to go. I also jot down any and all notes on the characters and direction of the book as I go.

With this in hand, I am generally ready to sit down and just let the creativity flow. I like to be home alone, quiet or soft music playing and do not like to be disturbed. (When a writer gets in the flow and gets that mojo going, there is nothing worse than being yanked out by a ringing phone or nagging question.)

Now good luck and get started!
Pam lives with her husband Bill in Gwinnett County, Georgia. She is the mother of three grown children and has dabbled in creative writing since she could hold a pen. Pam has written poetry, children's stories and dramatic scripts but her passion and calling is penning fictional novels. The Hobby marks Pam's tenth novel to date. She can often be found toodling around NE Atlanta, doing book-signings and making appearances when she's not working hard on her computer. Her books include: Fictionary, Boys with Cars,Married with Children, Playing with Fire, Rebound, Dylan's Cause, Dylan's Muse, Dylan's Choice, and The Dream Dweller.

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