Take a journey, reach for a lesson, and have a creative lifestyle
Are writers a dime a dozen?
Yes, but not all writers are great. It’s such a competitive field. It’s a bit like barbecue. I live in a suburb of Kansas City. You know, a place where barbecue attracts a lot of tourists. Residents also have expectations of it living up to its name. Some venues are the best, some are pretty good, while others are okay.
For those of us who actually write, whether that’s part-time or full-time, we’re trying to come up with the best recipe for telling our story, saying it like it is, and gut digging for that word to make a sentence more memorable. Then, once we get there, coupled with a level of awareness, we start writing for the different types of audiences that are out there.
Part of the secret recipe is learning the art of communication. You have to learn how to talk effectively to any expert by choosing the appropriate words or asking the right questions. You have to learn how to talk to someone who knows nothing about your subject and be prepared to answer questions. Also, you have to respect your readers. Don’t pretend you’re ready to talk about a topic if you haven’t even prepared with adequate research. That’s the only way you can write to an audience in any given circle.
For some readers, you have to provide a set of instructions. Those are the type of readers who gravitate towards step-by-step guidelines, bullet points, and language that makes simple sense.
Then, you have the shallow readers which is obviously the opposite of deep reading. You know with shallow readers (superficial), you need more short sentences, more images, and more bold print. They just need you to get to the point fast, they’re not into you for any deep life lesson, sorry.
Writing is a journey
It’s a constant walk with words. You know, it’s like growing up and becoming a mature adult — you become a better communicator because you start thinking about your choice of words. This in turn improves the way you write. It goes hand in hand. That’s also when you learn there are definitely different types of reading audiences.
Unlike being a fitness walker trying to get to 10k steps a day, writing isn’t about reaching 10k words a day. If you have a word count you feel you need to reach each day, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Drop the numbers and just write routinely until you find your recipe. Kind of like what Arthur Bryant did with his famous Kansas City barbecue back in the day (and which is still operating).
Whether it’s Arthur Bryant, George and Arzelia Gates (founders of Gates Barbecue), or Jack Stack Barbecue (founded by Jack Fiorella following his dad’s success), they each came up with their special recipe, their template of success. And believe me, they reached into their guts to bring customers back again and again. Please don’t ask me which one I like the best.
You, as a writer or communicator, need your own template to show how you carve your words — and those words have to come from your gut. A reader knows when you’re writing from your gut.
Start writing and stop when you want to stop. My laptop is on sometimes at 6:30 a.m. and shut down at midnight. I’ve never been one to sit down and write long sentences in a notebook, although I have several journals I put notes in. I’m like the needle in the sewing machine, once the switch is on, I’m ready to go with a push of the peddle.
I force myself to take a break one day a week, sometimes two. I never have writer’s block (knocking on wood now). I read advice that says to only write a few times every week, but not every day. I can’t imagine not writing every day but for the day I take off because this is part of my life‘s passion.
Writing isn’t a driving force, it’s pure passion. I’m married to it. As such, I’m a devoted participant. Sometimes I’m like a child with it and have to tell myself when it’s time for bed.
It’s the best thinking journey ever.
Writing is a ton of lessons
Language is such an influence. You always hear how powerful words are, and it’s true. (But don’t use negative power words to hurt people because, in the long run, you’re only hurting yourself.)
For every political figure out there, don’t think for one minute that there isn’t a person fulfilling the role of being a prolific writer. For political figures, there has to be influential language. After all, that’s partly why you voted for someone, right? What they said convinced you, persuaded you, locked your brain in — what they said were words that were well-constructed. It’s all about the words.
Writing often increases your knowledge and awareness. Likewise, for the reader, and not talking about reading your newsfeed on Facebook. Whether or not you believe it, reading and writing do promote growth which in turn can affect your whole life. It can build boundaries or extend them. It can create something in you that was unknown before. One set of instructions — that are written words — can generate an hour of time you might spend with your child. So, yes, words have power.
Writing can be a lifestyle
How many hours a day do you spend writing? I average close to eight and occasionally more when I really get going on a flow of words. This became my driven lifestyle in September 2021, three months after I said goodbye to being attached to long hours and years in the legal field. It wasn’t a hard decision because I made it at the right time that was right for me.
A writing lifestyle isn’t to be confused with writing about lifestyles like writing about health or yoga routines.
I’m talking about making writing your lifestyle (if that’s what you want). My goal isn’t to be the next “Greatest American Writer.” I’m not a fiction writer. I’m also not driven to be a journalist.
My goal embraces the act of writing about numerous topics. Right now, I focus on history-related subjects because people generally are interested in history. One of my passions is research and there’s a lot to research and learn about history. I also have a fascination with crime-solving so the true crime genre is interesting and is the topic of a non-fiction book I’m completing.
So how do you make writing your lifestyle?
First, there’s no room for procrastination. You know the saying, tomorrow’s not a promise, well, it’s not. So get started. If writing is only a hobby for you, then you probably aren’t interested in making it your lifestyle.
I have a young granddaughter who said to me, “you work harder now than when you had your office job.” She’s correct. My passion wasn’t going to a 9 to 5 every day, but the rewards helped me exist. I didn’t want to just exist, I wanted to live.
The passion to write was always there. I don’t know what I was waiting for. What I do know is that a desire to be a prolific writer should include life experience.
If you enjoy being idle too much, then writing routinely may not be for you; you might be a hobby writer. My whole life reflects a trait of not practicing being idle. My dad was the same way. To me, there’s a difference between always being busy versus not being idle. Sometimes being busy can involve a task-loaded workday or doing six loads of laundry in one day. I see not being idle as being productive doing something that you enjoy doing, something that actually brings you joy.
You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. — Octavia E. Butler (Source.).
© CJ Coombs