Where to Begin When You’ve Decided to Write

I’m not sure if that’s a declaration or a question.
I’ve been writing for about two years. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate. I’ve been writing since I was about four – I’ve been writing professionally, that is to say, being paid for what I write, for about three years. So I’m classed as a novice writer with a lot yet to learn. I was told recently by a seasoned author, that we never stop learning as long as we never stop writing. I’m beginning to understand that.
Something else I’ve learned recently about the life of a writer is – to share what I’ve learned with others. I already knew this from a general perspective as a life coach and workshop host, to pass on knowledge to the next generation of people so we, as a global community, may improve life for those to come. It didn’t occur to me to apply it to my writing. I thought I should guard my work against the world until it was acceptable to read, without flaws. And isn’t it self-defeating to share my work, in case someone beats me to the finish line? I’ve learned the answer is “no”. What does it matter if someone steals my idea and creates something from it? Remember – share for the next novice to learn from.
So as I embark on an adventure of literary discovery, I invite you to join me; to wade through these sometimes murky waters, to experience the flow of a river of creative thoughts and ride the waves of joy and excitement with me as we blog, journal, research and publish together.

What I learned first:
• You can’t call yourself a writer if you’re waiting to get better at it. If you’re waiting – then you’re a waiter, not a writer. So just start writing!
• Practice calling yourself a writer. If you’ve written your first sentence of a 300-page novel – congratulations – you’re a writer!
• Don’t let anyone steal your dream – not even you. If someone says you can’t make a living at it or pretty much gives you the impression of “who do you think you are”? don’t buy into that. Ignore them or have a good answer ready. I know many people who earn full-time pay for writing.
• Research what you’re writing about; whether it’s a novel, a series of blogs, a magazine article or a collection of thoughts you don’t yet know what to do with, you need to be able to link, accredit and support what you say. If you’re writing a historic novel, for example, you’ll need to know all you can about the aspects of life at that time in history. Keep your information in a file specific to that piece, for future reference. Fans may be interested in where you learned about your storyline.
• Set a schedule for yourself. Be realistic in how many hours a day, how many days a week, you want to devote to writing. Use a filing system online, on your PC or laptop, or a calendar pinned to your workstation with different couloured sticky notes. Whatever works for you. Be prepared for unexpected intrusions and don’t get your knickers in a knot over them.

I would like to end this first Building a Writing Platform by sharing from a book I recently purchased,Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. On being an amateur writer, Kleon writes;
“Don’t worry, for now, about how you’ll make money or a career of it. Forget about being an expert or a professional, and wear your amateurism (your heart, your love) on your sleeve. Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you”.

So how did I do?
As you start your literary journey, I hope you’ll keep in touch. Let me know if this post helped you. Leave a comment or a question.

I’d love to hear from you. – Lynne

Raising an Autistic Child

I’m currently updating my first published book, the story of being a mother with an autistic child. I thought it would be good to share with you my first blog from four years ago, which is an excerpt from the introduction of the book. You can still get a copy of the first edition but some of the links are no longer available.

“My Autistic Son

As this is my first blog, I thought I’d post the introduction from my first book, Raising Benjamin Frog–A Mother’s Journey with her Autistic Son.

My son, Benjamin, was non-verbal as a small child and was later identified as having High-Functioning Autistism. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as he grew older.

The passage describes my feelings as I watched him, detached from my world…

Where do you go to, My Sunshine? 

You have the most beautiful blue eyes, my handsome baby boy. Why can’t I see you behind them? Where do you go when your eyes wander away from me?

I hold you in my arms and stroke your tiny face, run my fingers through the yellow strands falling across your brow and I search for a glimpse of soul connection, but you are nowhere to be found.

If I let go of your small hand you’ll run away or you’ll walk in an endless straight line and not care where you’re going. You won’t see the people on the path in front of you or the tree that blocks your way. You won’t run excited to play with the other children on the swings because they’re not there in your world.

We walk by the lake. I point at the birds, gracefully gliding, skimming over the lapping waves. A young puppy barks and, for an instant, I see a puzzled frown on your tiny forehead, then it’s gone.

I show you the delicate, colourful blue petals of the Forget-Me-Not and we stop for a while to listen to the rustling of the birch. But you walk where I walk and stop when I stop only because I hold on tightly to your little fingers so you don’t slide down the bank and disappear. You have no response to these wonders around you.

I tell you how God made all these things. How He loves you and created you as part of His masterpiece too. How you have a purpose in this life and how I’ll do my best as your Mummy to help you find that purpose He has planned for you. But you don’t seem to hear a word. You just stare into the distance.

We walk back on the path and I sing to you “Forever Young.” You don’t sing along or dance in circles around me giggling. But oh how I love you my Sunshine.

Where do you go to, my sweet baby boy, when your eyes wander away from me and you’re lost in your autistic world.

Benjamin is now 30 years old and a published author himself! My book talks about the struggles we both had as he was growing up, the highs and lows of his formative years, and the blessings he has brought to my life.”

 

https://lynnecollier.com/raising-benjamin-frog/raising-benjamin-frog-by-lynne-collier/
‘Raising Benjamin Frog–A Mother’s Journey with her Autistic Son’ by Lynne Collier

 

For a closer look at autism from Benjamin’s perspective and to see what he’s up to now, visit his blog at

benjaminfrog.wordpress.com

Author of Speculative Fiction

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