Who Am I To Be Giving Writing Advice?
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
This is a pretty important question. After all, anyone looking for help in any area would like to be helped by someone who knows what they are doing. So, it’s understandable that people looking at my blog would wonder who I am, and what qualifies me to give any advice on writing.
Well, the truth of the matter is, I’m just a person who enjoys writing and has been doing it in a professional manner for a decade. Even still, I was writing stories years before I decided this is what I wanted to do with my life.
My Background in Copywriting
Let’s start with my most professional venue of writing that I have experience with. For seven years, I wrote articles for a California bail bond company. During this time, I wrote thousands, not exaggerating, of articles ranging from why our company was better than the others, to California news, to different legal stuff surrounding California law.
The articles needed to be kept professional, with an informative tone. Arguably, the hardest part of these articles was the fact that I had to self-edit. Anyone who has attempted to do this for themselves will tell you that you can only catch so much. As the writer of something, our brains know what we meant to say and will fill in the blanks and gloss over the typos. It’s a nice, frustrating little shortcut that our minds take. This is where tools like MS Word’s grammar checker and Grammarly come into help out, but they aren’t perfect and can miss stuff. Still, they are better than nothing.
On the occasions where we had a second copywriter helping me create content, I would edit their work before submitting it to the website developers. I made sure that the writer’s voice remained within the piece, but that it was professional enough to be uploaded to one of our sites.
My Background in Fiction
As many of you may already know, copywriting for a business is very different from writing fiction. You use a different style and tone of voice when writing an ad article for business versus writing a fictional story. Recognizing the difference helps a writer know which words and phrases will be appropriate for which situation.
As far as my fiction writing is concerned, as of writing this, I’m looking for an editor for my first novel that I’ve been working on for the last ten or so years. I say “or so” because when I first started writing, those first few years, I wasn’t very focused. I’d write whatever I felt like and never focused on anything long enough to finish it. A part of me wishes I’d stayed on topic better back then, but I also remember how much fun I had writing without fear of whether or not what I’d written was any good. Back then, my inner critic had yet to emerge and as far as I was concerned, everything I wrote was perfect, first try. Of course, things have now changed.
On top of the lack of focus, there was the fact that I had a lot to learn in the ways of writing and about my story as well. In the beginning, my writing was very basic, and when I look back on some of that older stuff, I can’t help but cringe a little. To me, this is a good thing, it shows growth. I can look back at my earlier writing and see exactly what changes need to be made in order to improve it and get it to a level of quality that I would feel comfortable publishing.
I’ve gone through several drafts with this current book. With many of them, by the time I got to the end, I’d look at the beginning and realize I’d learned how to do something better and have to start all over again. I’ve now reached a point where I’m happy with what I’ve written and I’m ready to get it out into the world.
On top of strictly the writing itself, there are elements of the story that I didn’t know about in the beginning that might have been left out entirely if I rushed through. Since I took the time, I feel that I’ve been able to lay the proper groundwork to establish my series.
All in all, this means that I’ve spent a lot of time refining my skills as a writer.
My Background in Editing
I already mentioned how I have edited other copywriters’ work, but I also have additional experience thanks to my writers' group.
For the last five-plus years, I’ve been a member of a writer’s group that has covered a vast amount of material, mostly fiction, but some autobiographies as well. I say “five plus” because I’m not sure when exactly I started, but know it was before 2015.
Having my writing looked over by the group helped me identify the areas where I needed improvement. Looking over other people’s writing helped me better identify what does and doesn’t work in writing. On top of that, the group discussions that accompanied each person’s submittal offered insight into what other people are looking at when reading.
It is thanks to this group that I learned about story beats and how they affect a story. Now I find that whenever I’m having trouble with a particular part of a story, it is usually because I’m not following the story beats very well.
Thanks to this group, my writing has improved in leaps and bounds. I know for a fact I would not be the writer I am today if not for this group.
We’re Always Gaining Experience
Then, of course, there is the fact that I’ve been reading ever since I was little. Any writer will tell you, is a very important part of writing. How can you hope to know what does and doesn’t work if you never look at what’s being published? Reading even helps a person find their own voice as a writer.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know something. I’m sure I still have plenty to learn about the art of writing, but that’s part of the fun. Learning how to write better, or why something isn’t working for you is exciting. I promise that as I learn something new about writing, I’ll share it here so that we can all learn together.
So consider this my resume as of August 2020:
· 7 years of copywriting experience.
· 10 years of fiction writing experience.
· 5+ years of editing experience.
· A lifetime of reading experience.