by Deborah Nielsen (guest columnist)
Noted Colorado best-selling mystery authors Margaret Coel and Diane Mott Davidson got their start as writers with short stories (Diane) and as a newspaper journalist (Margaret). John Krakauer, a mountaineer, climbed some of the most difficult ascents in the world then started writing about the tragedies and triumphs, first for Outside magazine.
Let’s explore what qualifies as writing. Writing is a form of communication, a way to tell a story.
Regularly keeping a detailed diary or journaling can help you get your thoughts and feelings on paper or an e-document if you’d rather use a keyboard. Doing an annual Christmas letter for friends and family is another form. Jot down notes throughout the year and use them to compose your letter. Volunteering to help out with a church or club newsletter is yet another way.
If you like making up stories in your head, write them down. Short stories can be a hundred words or several thousand. They have a beginning, middle and end just like a novel. Do you have a personal story that others could relate to and that may help them get through a similar situation? Write it down.
In this area you have many opportunities to become a writer or a better writer. Northern Colorado Writers, a local writers’ group, offers classes to non-members. Check out class listings or the community service classes offered at local colleges and community colleges. You can also find out about upcoming workshops online. Get some books on writing from your local library or bookstore.
The main thing to do to be a writer is to just write. Every day. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes The more you do it, the easier it will be. Make it a habit.
Tell a story, real or imagined. Tell a friend or family member a story. Are they interested? Do they like what you write? If so, kick it up a notch and join a writers’ group or critique group. Beware that not all writers’ groups or critique groups may be a good fit. Keep writing and one day you may find yourself a published author or even that best-selling author. If fame is not your thing but you just like to write for your own enjoyment, that’s okay, too. You’re still a writer.
How do you define yourself as a writer?
Deborah is a member of Northern Colorado Writers and an avid motorcyclist who occasionally tears herself away from
the bikes long enough to write or take photographs. Deborah currently lives in the land of strong winds, a.k.a southeast Wyoming.