I recently came across a website called Men With Pens, and I’ve become hooked by the various Blog postings they have released, some from the head man himself, James, and others from guest Bloggers. I awoke this morning to an email from James announcing a competition from Men With Pens, a chance to be part of their ‘Damn Fine Words’ Writing Course.
I considered it for about a second (I was rather sleepy at the time) and thought ‘I can do that’. So here I am, writing an article about what writing means to me, why becoming a better writer is so important, and how doing so will help change my life completely.
I always loved telling stories, and without my head becoming too big, I was rather good at it. My problem at school was the language side of things. Analysing poetry, Grammar, and the general techniques of writing. They were the things lacking and it was because of this I took writing no further. I know people say you should go through life with no regrets, but the fact of the matter is we do regret things, don’t we?
I regret never playing an instrument when I was younger, and I certainly regret not taking an English course during my A-Levels. The reason for this is because writing became my therapy. During a rough break up at the age of 21 I turned to it, writing a story that ended up being over 120,000 words long. I thought the story was good, and overall writing helped me get all the craziness from inside my head out and on to a piece of paper. The only problem is I had no idea how bad my writing was. The creativity was fine, but the technique was poor.
So for 5 years I went back and forth to the story, making slight changes but taking no real steps forward. It wasn’t until about 18 months ago that I went back for probably the 4th time and finally did some research into writing and what actually makes a good writer. I read articles, and Blogs, and forums… gathering tips and advice, and overall becoming a much better writer because of it. I compare myself now to when I was 21 and the difference is huge!
Writing is still my therapy and I always turn to it when I’m feeling down. But it’s become more than a hobby and I want to take it to the next level, the only problem is I have no real knowledge to turn to. I’m a marketer by trade and education; therefore I have a great deal of information to look back on. I have books, lectures, and practical examples to turn to, and as such I can go about my job and feel confident in what I’m saying and doing. With writing though I don’t have this. I have doubt and anxiety, and I never know if I’m truly getting better.
I now have a novel that went to its first Beta Reader just a few days ago, and although there’s still a long way to go, the dream of becoming published is still very real. I also want my Blog to become a staple of my every day, not only for my writing, but for my marketing expertise too.
Content Marketing is on the rise and I want to develop a personal brand that sets me apart, as well as improving my knowledge and skill set to take to work in the morning. I have ambitions, in 5 years time, to be one of these people online with tens of thousands of visitors a month, hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, several published books under my belt (both fiction and non-fiction), and to generally be someone respected and someone people to turn to for help and guidance.
Yet I need help to improve in so many ways. Writing is now a big need, and I need professional help to help take me to the next level. Malcolm Gladwell says you should practice for 10,000 hours at something, and if you do you’ll become an expert. This is great because it means I will forever improve with or without help. However, without it I fear the doubt will remain because I will never have that expert hand to turn to. I want to be confident in my writing, just like I am with my marketing.
Writing is my therapy, but it’s become so much more than that now. Not only do I wish to improve my writing so I can write better stories, I wish to do it so I can improve my standing in the marketing world. This Blog is here to stay, and I’ll be damned if it only improves in the coming weeks, months, and years ahead!
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million