One Thousand Stories
It has become a cliche in the writing community that if you want to be a writer, you need to write. Ask a writer how to become a writer and the answer is always the same: write.
If you’re like me, though, there’s a problem with that. As much as I love writing, I need an audience. I need to be writing for someone. I’ve never been able to write for myself. I realize that this is different from a lot of people. Most writers I talk to will say things like “I write for myself” and “I don’t care if other people don’t read it.” That’s not me. I write for a very specific purpose: to be read.
It was a chicken-egg sort of problem: my passion for writing is fueled by having an audience, but I couldn’t have an audience until I started writing.
That’s the kind of frustration that can make you want to give up.
Don’t. Instead, focus on the stories.
In my case, I started writing stories about my life as a dad. I didn’t do it as an exercise in writing, or to improve my craft, or anything like that. I just wanted to tell stories. Along the way, of course, I worked on my craft.
About a year later, I pitched the stories as an idea for a column to the Seminole Chronicle. They said yes.
Suddenly, I had an audience.
That’s when I had my Field of Dreams moment: “if you build it, they will come.”
Focus on the story first, and the audience will come. At the beginning, your audience might be your writing group, or your family, or even just a mildly curious neighbor.
Don’t worry about that. Stick to the stories and work on your craft. Write for the audience that you know you will someday have.
For my part, I just hit the 1,000 stories mark on DaddyTales, and I’m super jazzed about it.
You know what, though? As exciting as 1,000 stories is, I still feel like I’m just getting started.
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