The Art of Writing

Until this very day writing remains a rather mysterious process for me. I've been asked by an assortment of people, how do you write a novel. With time I've garnered a few insights, but my basic advice is very simple, you must sit down and begin; you will never know if you can write until you attempt to write.

All the mental processing of what is technically correct and what is not will most likely garner lots of frustration and a written page that has been edited down to a sentence or two. Why? I think it's because words written on a page that urge a reader to never to forget them are more than technicalities. To write powerfully, a writer must search deep within, courting emotions and thoughts that shed light on parts of the self that survives without conscious knowing. I see powerful, life altering writing as a gift for the writer and the reader.

This is my experience: for my writing to have that spark of life, that Shakti that breathes life into my words and my characters, I must not know everything that is going to happen before it happens... before I write it. Of course I have a skeletal idea, but I do not know the contours, the texture that turn my novels into an experience. Like birthing a child, someone can describe how it feels, an ultrasound can tell you if it ís a boy or a girl, but a woman can not truly know the experience of birth until she goes into labor and/or delivers the child from her body. The parents can not know the particulars of their baby's face or hands until it is delivered. Or how it feels to hold their child for the first time until the baby is in their arms.

So for me, it is through the act of spontaneous creation that reality on the page is born. In my opinion, that is the kind of writing that keeps a reader on the edge of their seat, constantly needing to know what is going to happen next. It keeps them turning pages deep into the night when their bodies are crying for sleep, but their minds crave to continue the experience of the story.

If you were to ask me today, what advice would I give to someone who wants to be a writer; the first thing I would say is anyone who writes is a writer. Anyone who picks up a pen or pencil and creates out of a deep creative yearning, or enters their thoughts into a computer is a writer, because their creation has moved them to create, even if no one else ever reads it. That ís how I see it.

Now, if you were to ask what advice would I give to someone who wants to become an author...that's a different story. I would advise an aspiring author to seek out books that are similar to what they have written, note the publishers and find out what editors work there. This insures the publishing house that receives their hard/heart earned creation is in the business of publishing that particular kind of work. Secondly, I'd recommend learning how to write an exciting query letter, a one page sales pitch letter that hopefully baits the hook so the intended publisher wants to read more. Keep in mind a publisher is going to ask for the entire manuscript before they talk contract with a first-time novelist. Third, a good, and I did say good, literary agent is worth their weight in gold, but know the process of acquiring an agent is very similar to the process that must be undertaken in acquiring a publisher.

Last but not least, do lots of praying... positive thought... or offerings to the Writer gods if you want to be an author, because in the publishing business, you're going to need all the help you can get.

Dig deep and trust what is there.