Upon hearing that this newsletter would be dedicated to the past, to oldies but goodies, I realized that I’ve been with Boroughs for over five years. Crazy. Next came a host of other thoughts, like my wife and I have been married for almost six. My daughter is almost four. Other thoughts were pieces of wisdom gifted to me when I was younger, tidbits I promptly forgot or ignored. They bear repeating.
Keep a journal.
Memory is an amazing thing. It holds all of our most cherished moments and all the events that shape us. You’d wish therefore our minds to be impervious vaults, safe places that allow for no change or loss. And yet, they are not. Our recollections fade, twist or sometimes vanish completely. So…write down what’s important. Not only will this be an excellent exercise to grow your facility with language, it’ll force you to think about what’s important. Those words will also eventually be a marker of how far you’ve come.
You only get better.
I wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. Looking back, I realize what adults meant when saying how little experience I had to draw from. Not that I didn’t have a valid point of view, as I was quick to point out, and fascinating conflicts—as does every person—but my understanding and talents have only grown with age. This is true of everyone: You can sometimes process something very well in one dimension, but your comprehension can only grow when you add others. There is no hard and fast deadline on improvement, either; it should always be happening. And it’s never too late to get into the game. Unlike with many other things, with writing, what came before only helps.
Writing is gardening.
You have to do it every day. While your book, should you finish it, will last like a stone edifice—good or bad—your ability to use words effectively and communicate with your audience depends upon practice. Tend your language skills by reading and writing. Always. Otherwise your garden dies.
Start planting NOW.
Life is indeed “what happens while you’re making other plans.” And so you must do your best to carve out time to obtain your goals, not just wait until the time is right. There’s a reason aspiring authors are told “just write.” It’s absolutely the hardest part of the process—especially when you’re not yet being paid for it. But, you don’t eat vegetables the day you put them in the dirt. The best things take time to ripen and mature. But they have to be planted for that to happen. There’s no time like the present.