Want to be an author?
Just do it and enjoy.
That’s enough for most of us! Writing is a pleasure and we don’t have to be the best for all readers or achieve some impossible measure of success.
If you want satisfaction for: a) being the best author of the best story you can write that might persist for generations, b) creating stories that speak to contemporary and future readers about the complexities of being human, then you may want to write a fiction story as an art form that engages, entertains, and enlightens, and consider these questions to focus your writing career, even with modest expectations.
1. Why are you writing:
–to be known as an “author” or
–to write creatively and please a targeted group of readers?
No writer, no matter how great or accomplished, pleases even a small fraction of all potential readers, so perspicacious writers know who they want to please then develop their strategy for success with purpose. An enduring truth is creating great stories as an art form is no guarantee for fame and fortune, or universal appeal, but can be durably and reliably satisfying.
2. Do you have purpose to your writing? Do you want to enlighten, stimulate thought, create emotion, entertain? Do you strive for your storytelling to be valuable for your readers rather than trying to impress them with the superiority of your intellect and creativity? Create excellence in your own way but maintain modesty.
3. Are you good enough to achieve your dream of becoming an author? To avoid crushing your enthusiasm, try testing works-in-progress by seeking critiques by readers and teachers who are sympathetic to your writing style. Submit for publication routinely but don’t be surprised or depressed by multiple rejections that are the accepted norm regardless of an author’s ability and, if considered selectively, can give insight to your level of achievement.
4. Should you take courses?
Creative writing workshops give mixed results; they depend inordinately on evaluations of your work by fellow students–novices, at times arrogant and condescending, who inflict imprudent opinion and detrimental criticism. The value and reputation of MFA programs declines with the proliferation of conferred degrees in creative writing from academic settings struggling to survive financially. Consider carefully. Almost invariably, mentorship and/or self-study will value your time and accentuate your career far better than MFA programs with deficient teaching and time-consuming, defective scholarship.
5. Is your vocabulary commensurate with your aspirations? Improvement in vocabular is a necessary, lifetime endeavor for all writers. Do you have the time and the will for improvement?
For maximum, lasting pride and self-satisfaction in telling fiction stories, discover who you are as a writer, learn to imagine and create, know what you want to achieve, and focus intently on improvement of craft and storytelling.
Thanks for reading. William H. Coles
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