To become a writer . . .

To become a writer, you must write
by Liz Thompson
Published June 30 and July 20, 2011
Suburban News Publications

So you want to write? Grab a pad of paper and pen and go at it. Don’t worry about what you say or if you’ll ever be published. Just write. Write what you know and from the heart. Each person has a unique perspective and maybe someday yours will see the light of day in print, maybe not.

If your aspiration is only to become famous and wealthy, you might want to rethink your goals. As with most art, you must love it.

Most writers I know have a need to write. One such friend said it well– “Ideas circle around my head almost continually like airplanes circling an airport waiting for clearance to land.” Once the idea lands, it’s time to go to work.

Next I advise you to read—classics, fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines and even children’s books.

My 12-year old granddaughter is a budding writer. She writes poetry, stories and is working on a Christian fiction book. She will surpass me with her writing and I will continue to cheer her on.

While reading some of her work, I enjoyed her beautiful imagery and wording that smacked of the classics. “I wish people still talked like that,” she said.

“How did you learn to use this style of wording?” I asked her. My daughter home schools her children and I know they have read classics and a wide scope of material since a young age.

Her response to me was, “Read Ivanhoe, Nana. It takes awhile to get through, but it’s worth it.” When a 12-year old tells me to read Ivanhoe, I head to the library.

Since before I was my granddaughter’s age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. How that dream would be realized was a mystery to me; one that seemed elusive.

My dream was put on hold for years as I raised a family, worked at various jobs while dabbling in poetry and writing music and lyrics. Little did I know that losing my hearing would bring me one step closer to realizing my dream. Being gregarious, I had to find a way to express myself other than music and voice. I found it through using my hands.

Yes, I learned sign language but I’m talking about using my hands to talk through writing. When Suburban News Publications published my first column in January 1998, my learning curve swelled. Through his editing, then Commentary Editor Cliff Wiltshire taught me how to send my message in 800 words or less.

Now it’s more like 500 words or less because of newspapers downsizing but I have the basics. Next I became a reporter at SNP and editor Marty Rozenman was my teacher, along with each editor for my current news beat.

Seeing my byline is a private thrill, true, but in time the message superseded the need to be published. My desire to learn and improve is constant. I read continually, watching other writing styles, including my granddaughter’s.

Now working on my third book, I thank God for bringing me the long way around to realizing my dream. That way I have my priorities straight knowing who to thank.


2 thoughts on “To become a writer . . .

  1. Liz – Since retiring from teaching, I’ve used lots of my time to write. To push myself, I participated in National Novel Writing Month last year. I hope that my schedule will allow me to do so again.
    I can hear your voice in this piece. Thanks for reminding me how invigorating and rewarding writing is!
    Susan White


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