My dream of writing came to life when I was in my teens. I had read Lord of the Rings two or three times in rapid succession and then began reading any other fantasy I could find, along with a good deal of science fiction—stories that I call “Wonder literature.”
I lived a long way from any cities where I could take a writing class, so I decided to try to learn out of books. I took all of the money that I had at the time and bought a used typewriter and two reams of paper. Then I went to a local university and looked for books on writing. I spent pretty much all of the money I had on books, and began trying to figure out how it was done.
On my first two novels, I got perhaps a hundred pages into each of them and discovered that my plots were falling apart. So I decided to work on plotting. I couldn’t find any books on plotting in those days, so I just began to study plots in movies, television shows, and books.
For a few years, I worried that writing for a living wasn’t realistic. I had a lot of interests. My high school counselor tried to talk me into going to Harvard to study law. My English teacher wanted me to write. I won awards in Math and Chemistry and finally decided to become a physician—one who wrote on the side.
I tried my hand at various art forms. I was terrible with musical instruments, pretty good at oil painting, excellent at sculpting. But I really only ever fell in love with writing.
Even in college, I wondered where to go with my career—until I started winning one writing contest after another. Then I suddenly realized that maybe I could make it in the field.
I kept buying books, even after I published novels. At first I bought writing books to learn the craft. Then I bought reference books to help me with my stories—books on medicinal herbs, castles and armor, medieval life, art books that served as inspiration (both visual art, but also poetry, plays, and novels), and so on.
As a new writer, I set a minimum spending limit. I set aside $50 per month to purchase books. That meant that even if I didn’t have a book that I was dying to own, I would go and shop for books that I knew I would someday need.
It was an odd habit, one that served me well. You see, if I hadn’t set a minimum limit, I think that I would have easily not purchased those reference books at all, and I would have been a much smaller writer.
I look at it this way: every moment that I spend studying or practicing writing is an investment in me, in my career. Even watching a television show or movie or visiting an art museum is a decision that I make with deliberation.
It’s a habit that I recommend to all new writers. Invest in yourself.
I’ve talked about this before, but it is worth mentioning again and again. For the next two days there is a sale that I like at Thrivecart called Write Publish Profit 2.0. Some 50 different writers have put up online writing courses and books for new authors—various resource guides. The retail price of these is more than $5000, but for the next two days you can get it for the magic price of about $50. I call it a magic price because it happens to fit exactly with the minimum investment that I wanted to make each month back in 1989 when I decided to begin investing in myself.
I even put an online course into the bundle myself—my Story Puzzle workshop that contains the information and exercises that I have used to train dozens of other writers who have gone on to become New York Times Bestsellers.
I consider it a bargain. I’ve paid for other writing courses—up to $12,000 for one of them. When you get up to my level, it can get expensive.
So, find something that you think will help move your career forward, and invest wisely. This bundle might not be for you, or perhaps things are so tight, you can’t afford it. But even if you choose to invest nothing more than time in practicing your writing this month, do it, and consider it an investment well made!
I will be teaching a master class writing workshop at Fyrecon this June 20-22 in Layton, Utah. That’s this weekend! I’m also offering a special for Fyrecon. Get the Writing Enchanting Prose workshop there for only $350–a savings of $150–if you use the code: EnchantedFyre19! It’s not too late to still register here.
I will also be teaching at SpikeCon on July 3rd, also in Layton, Utah. Learn more here.
Just a heads up. The next Writer’s of the Future Contest deadline is on June 30. You can sign up here if you want your chance to be in the next Writer’s of the Future book.
Don’t forget to register for two upcoming writing workshops. Writer’s Peak July 19-20 and The Plot Thickens Master Class September 18-21. More info on MyStoryDoctor.com.
New online workshops will be up on July 13th. The Advanced Story Puzzle and Writing Enchanting Prose.