So you want to be a writer, eh? Not a bad choice of career. There are worse ones. There are also better paid careers. But then, you’re not in it for the money, are you?
Welcome to my new blog series ‘Write it now’ – an A-Z of writing. I thought this year I’d share some of the tips and tricks that have helped me write and publish over 500 feature articles and 50 books, some 2,000,000 words or thereabouts, over the last 30-odd years since I had my first break, aged 18, with my university newspaper. Here’s the list.
Each week, I’m going to publish another post covering a different aspect of writing as I see it. And I’d love to hear from you – what you think of these ideas, whether they’re helpful, and whether you’ve got thoughts of your own.
We’re all in it together, you see – writers.
First, a bit about my background. I formally trained in fiction writing at the local polytechnic and, later at university, was fortunate enough to get key writing lessons from Richard Adler, then Professor of English at the University of Montana, visiting New Zealand on a Fullbright scholarship. I wrote my first books as an ‘intern’ with the New Zealand Forest Service a couple of years later – yes, I got paid a salary to write. Later I picked up tips and tricks from a newspaper editor in my home town, and more again from a features editor on the Wellington metropolitan daily, for which I freelanced.
Mostly, though, I’ve written books, published by companies such as Random House and Penguin.
It’s been a lot of fun, and the best is yet to come. Along the way I’ve learned a lot about writing as a profession, about writing as art – and that’s what I’m going to share with you.
How do I see writing? To me, words are secondary. In fact, I disagree with ‘word count’ as a goal. As we’ll see during these posts, it’s simply a tool. And there are many writing tools.
The more important part of writing is purpose. And writing has but one purpose; to elicit emotion in the writer – and to elicit one in the reader. Ideally, the emotion the writer intends.
That’s true of all writing. All? All. Non-fiction included. You’ll see why as these posts develop.
So – in just three words, here’s what writing is:
Writing is emotion.
It’s true. What do you figure?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013
Next week: ‘Write it now – are writers born or made?’ Along with other writing-related posts, history posts, and inspirational posts.