Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The one thing every writer must learn

I have many regrets in my life, especially in my college years.  Life would now be so much better, so much simpler, if I had made the right choices early on.  But my mom and dad had not a clue as to how to help.  He was a machinist, she was a grade school teacher.  Their advice about life was invaluable, but as far as writing or an academic career, they had nothing.

I should have known many things, but I was a kid, what the fuck did I know?  Someone in those first college years should have told me what I needed to know.  But no one did.  Shit, maybe even my professors didn't know enough to realize the things a kid needs to know.

First, don't assume your high school teachers were correct about anything.  My mother's extreme competence as a teacher made my juvenile mind think all teachers are that way - not hardly.  My life would have been much different than it is if I had known one thing: my idiot of a high school math teacher did not know enough math to actually teach it correctly.  I was taught algebra concepts that only existed inside her head.  It took me years to discover this and correct it, and by that time, well...part of what I should have been had passed me by.

Second, my creative writing and English composition instructors never told me the most important thing a writer can know.  What is it?  WRITE EVERY DAY.  That's it.  Keep writing, don't stop, and read as much as you can.  Those are the real secrets to being an author.

R. P. Bird: Professional writer since 1989. Author of the IN THE REALM OF THE GODS series and the SUZIE crime novels. Crazy, but highly reliable. Can fix about anything.