So you wanna be a writer?

Mountain Xpress asked Bill Brooks for a few general guidelines to help those of us who are still laboring away at our own novels and short stories. Bill’s advice:

• “Writers write, and everyone else talks about it. To become a published, professional writer, you have to a) study your craft, and b) practice your craft. That’s it.”

• “Practicing means writing every day. Be focused. You cannot succeed, in this or anything else, unless you become highly focused, and maybe even a little driven. You have to realize what it is you want to achieve.”

• “Write the type of book that you would enjoy reading, no matter what type of book that is: If you’re going to write a western, make sure it’s the type you would like, whether it’s a dark, horror-tinged western, or more conventional, like Louis Lamour.”

• “Know what your skills are, and what your limitations are, so that then you can go beyond them. If you know that you can’t write the Great American Novel, don’t try. Write the novel that you can write. Learn from it, and hopefully, the next novel you write will be closer to the Great American Novel.”

• “Understand that, whatever you want, you have to sacrifice something else to get it. The thing that causes most ‘wanna-be’ writers to stumble is that they’re not focused and don’t develop the self-discipline — because they let everything else in their lives get in the way. You can’t do that. You have to become very disciplined, and give up other things to go and sit by yourself for those hours when you want to produce. If you do this, and you have a little talent, you’ll probably become a published writer.”


Thanks for reading through to the end…

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