Questions and More Questions by Vic Olmstead (Cowley Alumni)

Questions! Questions! Questions! Are you trying to come up with a plausible story to write about? Sci-Fi? Romantic? Adventure? The selection of topics can be overwhelming. What appeals to you? What do you feel comfortable with? Is there an experience you’ve had that can guide you? How much effort is needed to put into it? Do you have the requisite time?

If you’re determined, you can overcome the obstacles to these questions and find the best answer that fits you. Sort out the best of the best from the rest and follow your instincts. Give yourself credit for every success and promise you’ll do better the next time. I often think of the adage about photography back in the days when cameras used film. Out of a roll of 24 pictures, you’re likely to get 3 or 4 good ones. I feel story writing has a similar analogy. Every story you write isn’t going to be a best seller. Can you be content with less? I like to write for my own satisfaction in lieu of the highest prize. If I decide to share it and the comments are good, that urges me to try to do better in my next project.

Feedback is important to help steer you toward better writing and away from bad habits, poor grammar, incoherent stories, etc. Getting that feedback is imperative. How will you know your work is good- or bad if someone you trust doesn’t inform you one way or the other? They must be willing to provide a candid review, hopefully pointing out the good with the bad. Listen and learn.

In summing up, let’s keep it simple and derive three things that are easy to remember:

1.    Let your own experiences help guide you in writing what you know.

2.    Write with the intent of making it the best you possibly can.

3.    Get feedback from someone you trust. Candid reviews are essential.

Written by special guest blogger Vic Olmstead (Cowley Alumni)