“Railway to Writing”

Whether you’re an aspiring or an experienced writer, certain basics need to be followed in the writing life to be successful. Think of them as the five R’s that move a train down the tracks.Railway Tracks_wmk_IMG_0883

  1. Read. It’s essential to read other books, newspaper and magazine articles on the subject you wish to write about yourself. I read tons of picture books and am adding middle grade novels to the mix. Why? Because you need to know what’s already out there in the book market to see what you can do differently. Different is sometimes what catches the eye of an editor or agent. Especially if you’re self-publishing, you need to keep your audience in mind.
  2. Research. Researching your subject matter is very important, even when you’re writing fiction – including writing a fiction picture book. Though they run 500-700 words or less, the fiction must be believable. Don’t forget informative. So take time to probe using the internet, books, library, and people.
  3. Write, Right? Finally, it’s time to settle down and let your fingers fly across the keyboard or let the pen soar across the page, if that’s your style. It’s thrilling to let your creativity loose as you begin and maintain your developing manuscript. As a writer, this is what you love doing day and night, right? Find what works best for you.
  4. Revise. Some writers enjoy revising their manuscripts, others not so much. I personally like it because it improves what I’ve already written. I find glaring errors and I discover new insights. This step is probably the most important, because without several revisions, all you have is a rough draft. Never send a rough draft out into the world! Under this category we need to mention how crucial it is to belong to a critique group. (More on that in the future.)
  5. Relax. Writing can be tiring because it’s hard work. You’re staring hopefully into your screen for hours creatively writing, and can often come away with tense shoulders and bulging eyes. LOL. Be sure to take time for a walk and think about your manuscript. You’ll be surprised how inspiration will walk with you. Your input: Which basic is easiest and/or hardest for you?
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4 thoughts on ““Railway to Writing”

  1. Thank you, Carole. The list comes from my long career as a writer, and now as an aspiring children’s book author. Revisions can be quite hard because we may have to part with favorite bits of our manuscript. I’m glad to hear you’re making progress on your revision process!

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  2. Research is my favorite…because I only write what grabs me. Revisions are horrible. They are full of nasty negative inner comments. I have taught myself to write well the first time in hopes of lessening my revision…but yeah still have to revise 🙂

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    • I agree with you, Savannah, that it’s best to write well the first time. Even when your critique group looks over your ms. they will find something the first time around. I think this is helpful, because it leads to a better manuscript and chances of a marketable piece. Yes, research is fun and revision can be fun. Either way it’s necessary. 🙂

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