Friday, October 2, 2015

Advice For Aspiring Writers Part I

I decided to become a writer at a young age.

I remember sitting in the family room of my childhood home, plunking away on an old manual Smith-Corona typewriter, while my older sisters watched "The World According to Garp" on TV.

In that movie, the late, great Robin Williams played an aspiring author, and I can remember one of my sisters saying, "Why would anyone ever want to write a book? That would be so boring."

Glancing up from the typewriter, I allowed my attention to get caught up in the movie for a minute or two before agreeing with her: "Yeah. All of those words? That would be boring."

Never mind the fact that I was sitting there writing a story. Never mind that building worlds with words on paper was a favorite pastime of mine.

I honestly believed people who wanted to write a book or books were crazy. It seemed like a never-ending homework assignment.

Now, more than 30 years later, I laugh when that memory comes to mind.

Despite my belief that "all those words" would be boring, I became someone whose livelihood revolves around the written word.

It was never really a conscious decision I made. It was just part of myself I recognized and fostered.

That would be my first piece of advice for anyone who is struggling with making a conscious decision to become a professional writer.

Don't make it a conscious decision. Let your words be part of who you are and how you see yourself.

Practice drawing that piece of yourself out on the page. Readers won't feel a connection to your words if you don't.

Kathryn Harris is a journalist, a weekend blogger, a wife, a mother of two and the author of "The Long Road to Heaven," a novel about finding faith and forgiveness in the aftermath of addiction.

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