I've made a list of some of the things I've learned, to share with you:
- Show, don't tell- This has been a really hard lesson for me to learn, but I'm really becoming more aware of putting my audience directly in the action I am writing about rather than just telling them about it as an outside observer. It's the mantra that plays inside my head as I reread what I've written- Show, don't tell. Show, don't tell.
- It's okay to write for pages and pages and then throw the first 500 words away. For me, the best part of the story usually starts in the middle. Aah... revisions :)
- Response groups are a writer's best friend. I always love the amazing feedback other writers are able to provide to make my writing better. Thank you!
- "Memoir writers must manufacture a text, imposing narrative order on a jumble of half-remembered events" - William Zinsser (Inventing the Truth, 6) This is so true and so tricky (and I think I have a pretty good memory!)
- "Writers have to cultivate the habit early in life of listening to people other than themselves." -Russell Baker (Inventing the Truth, 26)
- "Often there is a human tendency to obliterate happiness-to live in one's painful memories." -Jill Ker Conway (Inventing the Truth, 54) I find this to be really true with me. So many of my journal entries and free writes are about such depressing events. I suppose I use writing to work through those memories.
- It's really helpful if you keep journals and then look back over those journals years later for ideas to write about. I am so grateful that I kept journals at different periods in my life.
- It's never easy to be a writer. You just have to keep doing it and keep trying and have faith in yourself as a writer.