Write Now: An Author Should Be In Writing Shape

Before, in another state, in another time zone, I worked with a man who told me he was writing a novel.

I told him that I had self-published a novel, “The Followers: Mind Freeze,” and I would like to read some of his work.

He looked at me in silence.

I waited for an answer.

Nothing.

I went about my way, and he went about his.

Two days later, he asked me about my novel, and the particulars that went with publishing a novel.

I told him about the steps of traditional publishing and about the steps of self-publishing, just so he knew his options.

So he told me that he writes a lot.

I asked what he meant by a lot, and he replied to me that he writes every day. He didn’t give me a word count or page count, so I couldn’t gauge how much time he was committing to his project.

He told me he had about 100 pages finished, and it was science fiction.

Again I asked if I could read some of his pages.

Again he looked at me in silence.

Again he didn’t answer.

Again I went about my way, and he went about his.

Another two days passed, and he asks me if I really like to write.

I told him I didn’t like it.

I told him I love it, and why I love it.

I saw a look of surprise wash over his face. It was as if I told him a secret that only few others knew.

Again I asked if I could read some of his pages.

This time he broke his silence.

He told me that he couldn’t let read any pages because he didn’t know if anything he had written was good enough.

I told him I was not going to judge, but I wanted to read what he had written.

“They are for me. I can’t show anyone. I’m afraid to show them,” he said to me.

I asked him how he would he get published if he won’t allow anyone to read his work. I reminded him about the publishing process.

I asked him again if I could read his pages.

He started to get angry because he already had given me an answer. I, too, became angry because I told him that if he doesn’t let anyone read his work, he won’t know how good or bad his writing is.

Again I hear about his pages “They are for me. I can’t show anyone.”

I responded that what he had told me was a poor excuse. I told him he wants people to give him feedback. I said he could keep the feedback he liked and get rid of the feedback that he didn’t like.

He still wasn’t buying.

I saw a look of anger wash over his face. It was if he was silently telling me to pedal my wares somewhere else.

I didn’t budge.

I repeated to him that hearing feedback — negative or positive — would propel him into another phase for his writing project. Basically it would tell him what are his strengths and what are his weaknesses.

He still wasn’t buying.

I told him I was trying to help him achieve his goal, and if his goal was letting his project age, then he I said he already achieved his goal.

And that’s my point.

It’s important for a writer to let others read his writing when developing a new project. He only needs to seek feedback from his trusted colleagues or friends.

As a journalist, I learned early in my career that some people will like the work, and some people won’t.

I like to think of a writer like an athlete. An athlete has routine of practice before a game. In order to be at the top of his game an athlete must put in the practice time to hone his skills. I have maintained it is the same for a writer.

An athlete probably likes to be in game shape.

Well I think an author should be in writing shape.

When an athlete is in game shape, he is always ready to play.

When an author is in writing shape, he is always ready to commit words to a page.

Writing is what the author makes of it.

So, if you think of yourself as an author, try to be in writing shape.

It’s that simple.

It’s that hard.

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