Don't Be Deterred

Oh wow! To my horror I just learned that the link in my previous post to Pat Holt’s list of Ten Mistakes should have carried a warning:

I learned this from a friend who is on her maiden writing voyage. “After I read that list, I realized there are so many things to be careful about, I’m having trouble writing anything!” she balefully admitted.

The hair on the back of my neck went on full alert.

“Those rules are for editing, not writing drafts!” I told her. “Just write! Write anything. Just get words on paper!” I felt like standing on my chair and yelling, "Forget the rules!

She still sounded a little stuck and frozen so I made another suggestion: “Sit down with a tape recorder and tell a short story to the recorder. Then transcribe the tape.”

This idea appealed to her, and she promised to go home and give it a try. The idea behind this advice is that transferring her own words from audio to the written page will get her used to writing in a conversational tone. She agreed to put Pat’s list of rules out of mind for now. She’ll open her heart and let the words spill out. Then, maybe in a few weeks when she feels stronger, she’ll use that list to do a double-check on her edits before she circulates her stories to her intended audience.

If I caused you similar trepidation or reluctance, please accept my sincere apologies, and I have no doubt that Pat Holt would add her signature to mine. We don’t aim to discourage beginners. For better or for worse, we want everyone to write. Should you choose to take the next step and edit your work, then by all means, consult Pat’s list.

For now, keep this in mind:

Write on,

Sharon Lippincott, aka Ritergal

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