Getting Started as a Writer, Part 1: Laying the Groundwork

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10 Responses

  1. Jason Rehmus says:

    Great post, Dustin. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series.

    There really are a lot of folks online these days who promise to teach the secrets of making a good living by writing. I’m glad you’ll be taking the time to give us a more realistic look at things.

  2. Michael Ham says:

    The books I most recommend are:

    Writing Without Teachers, by Peter Elbow — at the link, copies available for $1.

    The Reader Over Your Shoulder, by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (copies at the link for $1), if that is used as an exercise book as described in this post toward the end.

  3. Great list (an article of mine was published in the Writer’s Handbook), though basically, you’re doomed to the eternal fires of damnation unless you read Elements of Style. Sorry. Just the way it is.

    I’d also toss a style manual in there somewhere (AP Style book or Chicago Manual of Style). Why wrestle with the stuff somebody else has already done for you?

  4. “This is important because, contrary to our idealistic desires, a lot of writing is a deadly slog through idea-less wastelands.”

    How true is this! There are of course the moments of beauty and passion, the soaring verse, and other feats of la-te-da. In the end though, it’s hard work.

    Another great post, Dustin!

  5. deepa says:

    can we please get more parts? Part 2, Part 3, Part 4??

  6. Dustin Wax says:

    Deepa: They’re coming. I got swamped with my day job and a trip out of town, but have mostly cleared everything up now. I should be able to get Part II up this week, and also have some non-series posts to get finished. Stay tuned!

  7. Dougist says:

    Great list….I can’t tell you how important classes can be, and how important is to get a group of writer friends, (from class perhaps?) because all that time in “chop development” can get mighty lonely if there is no one to read your stuff.


  8. Jeff says:

    I don’t understand why this article has (needs?) references I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to, adjectives used to draw attention to difficulty or low quality could be replaced with alternatives. I imagine that most of you don’t care, but I prefer to work in a realm that can be viewed by anyone in my family.

  9. Emma says:

    “rock-botton process?” Another necessary skill in a writer: proof-reading.

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