Showing posts with label Josh Berk writers poem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Josh Berk writers poem. Show all posts

Aug 16, 2010

"Things to do to become a writer" by Josh Berk

Last week during the writeoncon conference Josh Berk gave a virtual key note. He shared this wonderful poem. I contacted him and asked if I could share it with our readers. He said he would be honored.
So here it is. Enjoy!

"Things to do to become a writer"
Be born into a house filled with books.

Spend some of your time living fully in the world

And part of your time watching it.

Study poetry so that you learn to love language for language's sake. 

Then study journalism so that you learn how to get out of the way of a good story.

Read everything you can get your hands on.

Write a poem or a story or an article that will never be published.

Read some more.

Write another poem or a story or an article that will never be published.

Find someone who will read your work and tell you what they think. 

If they tell you it's wonderful and there is nothing that should be changed, find someone else. If they tell you that it's over-written and boring in parts tell them thank you.

Then write it again, even though it will never be published.

Read no more than two books on how to write, and no less than one.
Write a poem or an article or a story that will be published! And celebrate a bit. 

Raise the bar slightly for yourself and try to publish somewhere bigger.

Don't despair when this doesn't work. Keep writing. Write stories, poems, articles, anything.

Does one of them feel like it could be a very long story? Twenty pages? Fifty pages? Keep working at it even if - oh my Lord - it feels like you're writing a novel.

Don't think about it too much. Just keep writing. 

This novel will never be published.

Show it to your writing partner. And listen to what they have to say. Listen to what everyone has to say. 

You must be doubtful enough of yourself to realize that you are a beginner not an expert. You have work to do. You have tricks to learn. 

But you must be confident enough in yourself not to give up despite the mounting rejections.

That's really what they're called. Rejections. Why did you sign up for a profession so filled with rejection? 

You must enjoy the work. Because even if you do all these things there is no promise of any sort of anything at the end. 

And that story that grew and grew did become a novel! 

And hopefully it was at least a little bit of fun writing it. Otherwise you won't do it again. Which is too bad because this one was not published & never will be.

So you write another one. You take everything you learned from those books, everything you learned from your critique partner, everything you learned from the countless hours writing that first one. 

And you write another one.

And it doesn't get published.

And then idea strikes you -- something wild and weird and strange and unforgettable. And it's all you think about. You become the character. 

And you write for the love, for the fun, for the art, for the magic. You write like a poet, you write like a journalist, you write like a story-teller. You write like a novelist.

And your critique partner reads it and says, "You're ready.

After you fix these 25 things."

And so you do. And you polish and polish and polish and then: it's business time. Don't fret about the business. If you're savvy enough to put together a job application and ace an interview, you're savvy enough for the business. 

It's not you they care about anyway. It's the writing. So you write a query letter, you send it out to a bunch of agents, and, hey ... one of them likes your book. Enough to tell you to do massive re-writes. So you do. Because you can sense it. Your foot in that door.
And a literary agent offers to represent you -- offers to represent your book -- well it's just a manuscript now, no one even hints of calling it a book yet. But some day.

And a lot of revisions later.

It will be.

-Josh Berk

Check out Josh's blog and see what he's been up to. 

Posted By: Carol Lawrence