I don't feel like I am someone who has guidance to give when it comes to writing. I am still at the beginning of my journey. However, at a holiday party I was chatting with the woman sitting next to me while we ate our plate full of latkes. She asked me what I did and I went on to tell her that I was a writer and working on a fantasy novel. She talked about how she wanted to write and how she had vivid dreams that she felt were meant to be stories. She also talked about how she didn't know where to start. I tried to encourage her to put her stories into the world and I rattled off a list of resources that have helped me get started. As I sent them to her in an email I thought she might not be the only one who would want direction and encouragement and that I would share it here. I know every writing path is different but for those of us who didn't start with even a vague idea that we might be writers it can be intimidating to take the first step. So here are my thoughts for writers just stepping into the role:
1. I get by with a little help from my friends - My first step was to join a writing group. In my case it was the Write On Mamas. Then I joined Writers Digest University classes and now Stanford Continuing Studies Online Certificate in Novel Writing. It feels great to have a supportive group of writers. I gain inspiration and direction from them every day.
2. Say yes - Write and submit. Let others see your work in whatever way feels least uncomfortable at first. I find that it is always uncomfortable to share my work. For me that was within the confines of my writing group and then a class. It is only now that I am feeling confident enough to tackle submitting to publications.
3. Become friends with creativity - This has been an interesting challenge for me. I tend toward the analytical and my habits reflect my years of tackling tasks and making plans. I find that creativity doesn't work in the same way. I am still working on this one but I have found Elizabeth Gilbert’s thoughts on the subject to be enlightening and entertaining. I particularly like her Magic Lessons podcasts.