Moms Who Write
Do you offer writing classes for moms?
We have. We’ve done them every couple of years in the summer. But it’s possible to work on your writing on your own. One great opportunity is in November: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If you’ve got that romance novel burning in your imagination, or you have the tale of a suspicious murder to unfold, November could be your month to finally tackle it, without intimidation and with the support of a nationwide network. Check it out.
What can you suggest for moms who want to grow as writers?
Write. It seems so redundant to say it, but believe it or not, I need to hear it every day myself. In fact, one of the disadvantages of running a writing business is that I spend more time writing about writing than actually doing it for the sheer joy, satisfaction and creativity of the thing!
- Step One:
Make time to write. Read about writing, read good writing, and then go write.
- Step Two:
The second step is more difficult. You must find an audience for your writing and you must risk doing it pretty early in your writing development. Why? Because you’ve got to develop this thick, scaly skin that masterfully deflects the darts of critique, all while accepting them into your writing psyche. One of the hardest things to do with your precious writing is to risk sharing it with a dispassionate audience who has the cajones to tell you when your writing is banal, trite, flowery or boring. Seriously, those are the hardest critiques for me.
There’s this habit we fall into that is not good for us: we fall in love with our own words. They float off the page toward us with rainbows and powdered sugar and we can’t believe we, mere humans, thought to write those words – those insightful, magical, melodious words. Then someone points out that there are no powerful verbs, the analogy is flawed and the piece stands up better without your favorite sentence. Suddenly you know you’re a fraud, and will never write well, and what were you thinking when you tried to write?
Yeah, that’s just how it feels for everyone.
So write anyway, take the fiery darts of honest feedback like the tough woman who survived labor and lived to tell about it, and get better at it.
Does it work the same way with non-fiction and article writing?
Yes it does. You gather insights and ideas, put them into lists and then craft those lists into articles to share with others. Start by reading in the exact article-writing genre that interests you. Take notes of insights and novel approaches to familiar topics (mine the areas of your personal expertise: homeschooling, gardening, spirituality, organizing a desk, sharing about the birds and bees with pre-teens, recovering from a c-section). Then begin to flesh out those topics through freewriting alternating with research. You want both your natural voice to come through as well as some sophistication (data to substantiate your intuitive hunches).
To market your work, check out Writer’s Market from the library and page through the magazines that relate to that field. Most likely you won’t sell your first article (or if you do, you will get paid peanuts). But that’s how we all start! So if you want to write, do it and cajole your way into any publication that will have you. Over time, you will develop your resume of published items and that will help you find better paying and bigger magazines for your audience.