Bugg Splat

 For those of you who didn’t know (or didn’t read the October 30 issue of the New Era), I was participating in National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. And I’m so excited to have finally completed its requirements of writing 50,000 words between November 1 and 30!
 The past month has also taught me a lot about writing, and put into practice a lot of the lessons and tricks that my Creative Writing professors taught me at university. It also brought up a lot of the myths and conceptions of authors that many people hold, so maybe it’s time to do some myth busting.
1. Good writers are born that way. Think of something that you enjoy doing and you know you are good at. It can be hockey, farming, working, and even hobbies like coin collecting and woodworking. In all these cases, you get better the more you do it, the more you practice, and the more time you put into it. Writing is no different. I’ve been writing since I was in school and really started writing for myself only five years ago.
2. Authors get it right the first time. Nope. This almost never happens. When I first started writing for fun, my stories were, frankly, terrible. But over the years, and with a lot of practice doing both stuff I wanted, and writing for university and my jobs, I think I’ve become a lot more competent and experienced, though I’m still nowhere near being called a “great” writer. The work I did in the past month was a very rough draft, and most likely I will have to rewrite huge sections of it to make it a more cohesive story, much less something I can then hand over to an editor to make sure it makes sense.
3. You need an idea first and know every detail of your story before you write. There are many different ways to write and some of them do involve plotting out everything in a story. Personally, I was always a “pantser,” someone who just wrote what they wanted to write. In the past few years I’ve been trying to plot things out more, but even then it’s just a couple notes on an index card rather than a strict progression of an order of events.
4. There is only one set way to write. Nonsense! If you had a room full of 100 writers, there would be 100 different ways to write. Some can write anywhere, some want to work alone, and some can only do it when in a proper place. Myself, I prefer to work by myself in my room, no TV, just some music, but also with the internet so I can do research and chat with friends when I hit a stumbling block. Chatting with folks from around the world with my story helped solve a lot of the problems I was having with the story, especially at the halfway point.
These are just a few of the many myths and misconceptions when it comes to writing. However, I feel it’s really important to make this clear: anyone can be a writer. It’s not just the few that are divinely granted creativity and knowledge from a muse. Heaven knows I’m still waiting for mine. But if you have a story you want to tell, tell it! You can always fix the spelling and the grammar and fix flow and a dozen other things. But you only can do that when you put pen to paper.

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© Melita New Era