Community Member Guest Post: The Writers Workshop

“We all work toward a writing career, but first we need a life as a writer.”

-Ron Seybold

Community membership in the Writers’ League of Texas allows businesses and organizations to support our programming and services. It’s also a great way for our community of writers to learn about the many valuable and varied services, programs, and opportunities available to them.

The Writers Workshop is a resource that provides writing workshops for novels and memoirs, creativity groups, coaching, and editorial services. Read a guest post from Writers Workshop director and coach Ron Seybold below.

Patience, Presentation, and Practice: Three Assets for Success in the Book World

 

There are three assets everyone needs to move into a career in writing. We all work toward a writing career, but first we need a life as a writer. The three assets are patience, presentation, and practice. Whether you choose to work with a publisher, employ an editor to polish your book, or make your career by publishing yourself, these three “Ps” are essential. They lead you from inspiration to publication.

The first “P,” patience, is crucial to assisting creativity. As authors build skills and polish their own books, they find opportunities to reach out to one another. You might be doing beta reads for your friends’ full drafts, or even catching typos in a late-stage revision. Remember, you must be patient with your own work, too. You may find yourself saying things like, “Really, why can’t I have three first-person points of view for my cozy mystery?” Talk it through (patiently) with a fellow writer, a workshop group, or even a coach.

As you move into your career as a writer you’ll also want to practice the second “P”: presentation. To a writer, presentation means the ability to share, submit, and offer. You will rework and revise, polish and pare down, but showing your work to the world is what launches a writing life. Even reading aloud what you’ve just written is a start. Find other honest, hopeful ears and eyes of a trusted group or a partner and share again. All work should lead toward the moment of presenting your writing.

Of course practice, the third “P,” helps everything improve. We practice to become the hard-working authors who love to put our early efforts well behind us. Plenty of practice happens via traded emails and Track Changes notes in the margins. Practice makes doing the work easier, too.

In his memoir Father’s Day, Buzz Bissinger gives Eamon Dolan fulsome praise in the book’s acknowledgments. “With Eamon as fastidious editor and wordsmith—some chapters had more of his comments than they did my own words—what began as an earnest and rudderless first draft became a book.”

It’s Buzz’s book, yes. But it’s also a collaboration that benefited from patience, presentation and practice. The first feels like magic when we manage to conjure it. But it’s earned by applying the other two assets in order to create something worthy of notice. Buzz admits his fine memoir was rudderless at first, but he kept working toward the big presentation. Patience helped him steer the story, and practice was the wind that filled his sails.

Thanks, Ron!

Find out about upcoming programming at the Writers Workshop here.

Ron Seybold is director and coach at Austin’s Writers Workshop, a volunteer tutor for the Austin Batcave Literacy Program, and the author of a debut novel Viral Times.

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