She stood across from me at the booksigning with the warmest smile. As I handed her my signed coaster (because STONE KISSED is an ebook, yo), she said, “I just love what you do. I’ve been reading romance forever, but I could never write a book.”
She was gone before I could leap across the table, grab her arm and shout, “Yes, Ms. Warmsmile! Yes, you can!” And perhaps that’s for the best (I do have boundary issues…)
We were all readers before we were writers. We teach toddlers to recognize letters before we expect them to draw them with their hands. We devoured our favorite books before we scribbled our first awkward adolescent fan-fic copies into black and white composition books. Every writer starts as (and remains) a reader. Even Stephen King reports that four hours of his workday is writing and the other four reading.
So how do you know if you’re ready to put fingers to keyboard?
- If you’re asking yourself, “Am I ready to put fingers to keyboard?”
- If you’re telling stories in your head–especially in the shower, driving the car, folding laundry. If your imagination is traveling into stories, then the stories want to come out.
- If the books you read inspire you… “I could do this!”
- If the books you read frustrate you… “How does this crap get published? I could do better than this.”
- If the books you read scare you…”If I never attempt this awesomeness, I will regret it.”
I believe the urge to create is in our DNA. Everyone is a storyteller, and some are story-writers (others are story-singers or story dancers or or or…)
If you have the itch to write at the base of your brain, here’s one way to scratch it: National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of nut-jobs…I mean, creative pioneers like you and me commit to spewing out 50,000 words. Most of those words are manure. Some of them are diamonds. But we don’t dig for the diamonds during NaNoWriMo—oh, no. Editing is verboten, only creating is allowed.
You learn how long you can sit still and type. You learn what “carpal tunnel” means. You learn that writing is magic and that you’re a magician (yes–even you.) You learn that you–yes, YOU, Ms. Warmsmile–can too do this.