Tips for New Writers

“When I grow up, I want to be an author and write books for children like my Mom,” sang Katy as she pumped her swing higher and higher. The beautiful summer day was perfect for a playdate in the park with her best friend Amy.  The two girls were inseparable!  If Katy had braids in her hair, Amy wanted braids as well.  If Amy read a Dr. Seuss book, Katy read one too!

So it wasn’t surprising to hear Amy say, “I want to be an author just like you do!”  With that decided, the girls ran off to find Katy’s mom who they knew was writing a blog post for the Author’s Lounge on Best Practices for Writers.  That just had to be something about how to become an author the girls figured.

“Wow girls!  I’m glad to hear that you want to learn how to write.  Let me tell you that the best way to learn is to start writing,” said Katy’s mom.  “You need to write, write, write.  The more you write the better you get at it.  Another thing you can do is read, read, read.  The more you read the better reader you will become and the better writer you will become,” she explained.  “Reading and writing go hand in hand!”

“Really?   We can do that!,” shrieked the excited girls.  “What else can we do?”

Mom explained, “A good writer is organized to write.”

“What does that mean?” the girls wanted to know.

“Organized means prepared, ready, arranged.  When I write, I have everything I need all in one place – like in my office or on my desk or even by my bed, wherever I plan to write.  My computer is there plugged in and ready to go.  Sometimes I use paper and pencil so I have that there in case I need it.”

“ I see you carrying a notebook around Mom.  Why do you do that?” asked Katy.

“I like to be prepared,” explained mom.  “When I see or hear something that would work well in a story is when my notebook comes in handy.  I can jot down the idea and save it for another time.  I even keep a notebook and pencil right next to my bed in case I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea.  It is always good to be structured and ready.”

“Katy, what do I do from 8:30 – 12:30 each day after you leave for school?”  asked Mom.

“You go in your office and close the door.  I think you call it your writing time or work time,” answered Katy.

“Yes, that’s right.  My writing time is not to be disturbed unless it is an emergency.  I try not to answer the telephone or the doorbell.  I try really hard not to schedule anything during that time each day.  Writing is something that I must do consistently.   It helps me keep my thoughts flowing.  Not everyone works that way.  As you try different ideas, you’ll find a plan that works for you,” stated Mom.

“Let me share with you the five steps in the writing process.  It is not always just five steps, now and then steps get repeated and most of the time editing or fixing mistakes takes more than just one time through.

  1. Prewriting – getting ideas down on paper – brainstorming – research/fact finding
  2. Drafting – organizing ideas for purpose, topic, audience
  3. Revising – rethinking order for improvement of meaning
  4. Editing – erasing and fixing mistakes – each edit makes it better and better
  5. Publishing – final product for all to see.”

“My teacher told us that editing makes what you’ve written better.  She gives us ideas and suggestions not to be mean but to help make the writing the best it can be,” added Amy.

“Do you go through all those steps Mom?  Do you have to edit your work?  Can’t you just write it one time and be done?” questioned Katy.    “That sounds like a lot of work!  Do you ever get any help?”

“When you publish your article or book, you want it to be the best it can be.  Remember your name is on it for all to see.  Readers do not pay to read your mistakes,” replied Mom.  “Some of the best help you can get is being in touch with other writers.  Blogs like the one on Author’s Lounge is a good way to keep connected.  Having someone read your draft is a wonderful way to make sure what you are trying to say is what is being said.  Another set of eyes is always helpful to a writer.”

“Okay!” mom exclaimed.  “That’s enough for you two to think about for now.  Remember what I said way back at the beginning about the best way to learn to write is to _____________?” asked mom.

“Write!” the girls shouted in unison.

“That’s right!” shouted Mom.  “So how about doing some writing?”

“Yes, let’s write!”

Mom just happened to have two extra notebooks and pencils with her for the girls to use to get started on their writing careers.  Katy and Amy hurried off to begin looking for ideas to add to their notebooks.  Mom told them to write about things they liked or enjoyed doing.  The swings seemed the perfect place to start.  As the girls ran off, Mom turned back to her computer to finish the blog post for the Author’s Lounge.

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