All writers go through phases.
I have seen articles along my cyber travels about the process of becoming a writer, it's one thing to read about these growth phases, but it's quite another to understand them because you lived them. These phases are not meant as a put down, only an illustration of the process as I've come to experience it, the more experience a writer gets the faster they go through the process and become successful we would all hope. So, the purpose of this post is to laugh together and to know you are not alone.
The phases go something like this:
Writer writes, thinks they are a brilliant writer, but in reality they don't even know what they don't know , they are writing in a fishbowl and clueless to the whole process. ( I will write a future blog to fully explain what writing in a fishbowl is about, but essentially it's a writer who writes about themselves, for themselves, and doesn't take the outside world full of readers into account.) It's during this stage that you'ill hear desperate screams from the writer's den with declarations such as
"Everyone is crazy, they just don't get me!"
No, really they may get you, but you're vague, self-indulgent and dull and are in no way taking the reader into consideration. Most likely they have no idea what you are writing about because they weren't at Aunt Phyllis' house when the jello mold ended up in the begonias, so they don't know the history of the characters, nor the parameters of this whole social power play, and how it all fits together and THAT, my friend, is WHY they don't get your writing. (Yeah, I don't know where that came from either, I just made that up. Anyway, long story short--clarity in your writing is key for the reader having an enjoyable experience which is what writing is all about).
In Phase II, our writer has some experience, they are using grammar well, breaking up their paragraphs and balancing white space on the page quite nicely. The writer at this stage has better reader awareness they write with greater clarity while at the same time honoring the time of the reader by avoiding long winded diatribes, that frankly no one gives a crap about. And so the process starts. The writer is aware that they need to know more about effective writing and they set out on this magical quest to find these precious gems of information.
The writer learns about SEO writing, topics of interest, how to write to categories and add effective tags. In Phase II writers learn about sourcing information, backing up assumptions and opinions with reliable data. They find out that writing is about and that is communicating an idea, and so the writer dives into the process of finding out what it is he/she really wants to say. The writer attends seminars and web chats, reads information from other writers, he/she might take a class at the local community college. And as the writer fills their proverbial tool kit with tips and techniques that have previously been missing, they begin to write interesting prose that other people--people who are not heir dear old granny --are interested to read.
Phase III I can't speak to with that much vigor because I am somewhere between Phase II and III on my writer's journey but, I can speak to what I suspect it is about. Phase III is about. It's about polish, panache, having style. This is developed by taking in the world, listening to language, thinking about another way to say a sentence that has been said so many times before. How can your voice be as fresh and desirable as a virgin at the prom? Yeah, uh, something like that. But how do you say it? That is the next step. Also,marketing and branding. Who are you as a writer? What is your brand? This is something a writer develops. Become an expert and specialize in something. This helps to develop your brand and someone that people seek out as a source. Let your local radio station and television station know you are an expert at that topic and have information ready so that if an opportunity does come along to share your expertise on-air you are prepared to do so. Develop your talent and your network. Read, read and read some more. Read work from successful writers and absorb it. What have they got going that you haven't got yet. Yet. But you will have success as well when you continue to show up at the keyboard everyday and work on your craft. Create your process and work at it long enough and with some luck, things will happen.
As for any of the other Phases, I can't tell you I haven't been there yet. But when I do, I'll be sure to let you know.
Sophia Tesch is a graduate of the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. Sophia is a community advocate. She lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona with her husband and children.