Have You Found Your Way to the Writing Zone?

by Edie Melson

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call THE WRITING ZONE.
Okay, I confess. I borrowed the intro from a television cult classic. But truthfully, have you ever read a better explanation of what it means to be a writer?
Today I’m offering some tips to help you find your way to the writing zone.
1. Be Willing to Call Yourself a Writer: Yes, this one is controversial. There are many who argue that we must do much more than just call ourselves a writer to become a writer. I would only say this, I believe that calling yourself a writer is the first step on becoming a writer. Without that step, it’s hard to move forward.
2. Spend Time Writing: This may seem like a no-brainer, but spending time talking about writing—as opposed to actually writing–is fairly common. Don’t be one of those who only dream; be ready to walk through to The Writing Zone by spending time writing.
3. Invest Financially in Your Writing: Take classes, attend conferences, buy books, join organizations. Do your homework first, but be ready to put your money where your pen is. Here’s a series of posts I wrote about Dollars & Sense for Writers.
4. Develop the Art of Patience & Enjoy the Journey: Finding success in publishing rarely happens overnight. Realize that you’re in it for the long haul and do the next thing. Relax and enjoy the journey, but keep moving forward.
5. Make Writing a Priority: In the beginning, it’s hard for some friends and family to understand the commitment it takes to become a writer. Beginning writers don’t often get paid for writing and it’s easy to assume it’s a hobby. For some writing is a hobby, and that’s fine. But if you’re serious, then act like it. If you don’t take writing seriously, then no one else will.
6. Realize that Failure is an Option—a Good One: We often learn more when we fail. If we never experience failure, it’s a sign that we’ve never tried anything difficult.
7. Talent is a Very Small Part of the Equation: Talent won’t take you far. Diligence and perseverance are where you find the strength for The Writing Zone.
8. Don’t Try to Go It Alone: While writing is a mainly solitary pursuit, we still need others to help us. We need to be a part of a writing community so we can give and receive encouragement and get perspective on what we write.
9. Don’t Kill Your Creativity with Negative Self-Talk: We all do it. But talking down to ourselves will have a negative impact.
10. Comparison is a Death Trap for Writers: It’s easy to look at others and think we’re gaining perspective. The truth is, we aren’t. Everyone’s writing journey looks different. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor.

11. Keep the Faith: There is a reason you started on this journey. Write it down and put it where you can see it. I believe God made me as a person who processes life through words. If I tried to give up writing, I truly think I’d die.
These are the things that have helped me find my way to The Writing Zone. What would you add to the list? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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photo-1 copyEdie Melson—author, editor, and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular inspirational speaker and mentor. She’s the author of While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military (Worthy Inspired). She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts at While They Serve. In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers. Connect with her on her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, which reaches thousands each month, and through Twitter and Facebook.
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