From Newbie to Master—Understanding the Writer’s Journey

Pirate Code=Writing Rules. Clearer now? :)

Pirate Code=Writing Rules. Clearer now?šŸ™‚

The mark of a pro is they make whatever we want to do look easy. From running a business to playing guitar to wicked cool Kung Fu moves, masters rarely seem to even break a sweat. Same with authors. With the pros? The story flows, pulls us in, and appears seamless and effortless.

Just check out Ronda Rousey’s 14 second record-breaking WIN from this past weekend for an idea of JUST how EASY pros make things look…

Many of us decided to become writers because we grew up loving books. Because good storytellers are masters of what they do, we can easily fall into a misguided notion that “writing is easy.” Granted there are a rare few exceptions, but most of us will go through three acts (stages) in this career if we stick it through.

Act One—The Neophyte

This is when we are brand new. We’ve never read a craft book and the words flow. We never run out of words to put on a page because we are like a kid banging away on a piano having fun and making up “music.” We aren’t held back or hindered by any structure or rules and we have amazing energy and passion.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 8.32.50 AM

Woodleywonderworks Flikr Creative Commons

But then we go to our first critique and hear words like “POV” and “narrative structure.” We learn that maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do and that we need to do some training. We also finally understand why so many famous authors drankā€¦a lot.

Act Two—The Apprentice

The Apprentice Phase comes next. This is where we might read craft books, take classes, go to conferences and listen to lectures. During the early parts of this phase, books likely will no longer be fun. Neither will movies. In fact, most of your family will likely ban you from “Movie Night.” Everything now becomes part of our training. We no longer look at stories the same way.

The apprentice phase is tough, and for many of us, it takes the all the fun out of writing. The apprentice phase is our Act II. It’s the looooongest, but filled with the most growth and change. It’s the span of suck before the breakthrough.

I’ve studied other forms of martial arts, but I am relatively new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Right now I am in the span of SUUUUUCK. When I started as a neophyte, I “seemed” to do better because I just muscled my way around on the ground and being naturally strong? It workedā€¦against an equally green opponent.

Moments before Kristen gets her tail kickedā€¦.

Moments before Kristen gets her tail kickedā€¦.

But it also wore me out and gave me more than a fair share of injuries. I had to learnĀ technique. TechniqueĀ looks awesome when Coach does it. It looks easy on theYouTube videos.

When I do it? Ehā€¦not pretty and NOT easy.

Right now, I’m losing most of…ok, all of my rounds, which is tough on the ego but easier on the joints. I’m focusing more on “rules”, finesse and drilling the basics because I know that in time? It will pay off. Right now is NOT the time for me to try and be “creative.” There is also NO substitute for time on the mat.

 

Same with writing. Many shy away from craft books because they fear “rules” will ruin their creativity. Truth? They will, but only for a little whilešŸ˜‰ .

Eventually we realize that rules were made to be broken. BUT, the difference between the artist and the hack is that the artist knows the rules and thus HOW to break them and WHY and WHEN. We start to see rules as tools.

As we move through The Apprentice Phase and we train ourselves to execute all these moves together—POV, structure, conflict, tension, setting, description, dialogue, plot arc, character arc—it eventually becomes easier. In fact, a good sign we are at the latter part of the apprentice phase is when the rules become so ingrained we rarely think about them.

We just fight write.

We’ve read so much fiction, watched (and studied) so many movies, read so many craft books, heard so many lectures, andĀ practiced so much writingĀ that all the “rules” are now becoming instinct and, by feel, we are starting to know where and how to bend, break or ignore them.

Like anything, there is NO substitute for DOING. Watching Ronda Rousey videos is a good idea for understanding ground-fighting, but it can’t take the place of mat time. Reading, taking classes, studying cannot replace writing crap until we don’t write crap.

At the end of the apprentice phase, writing is now starting to become fun again, much like it was in the beginning when we were banging away on the piano keyboard. Like the fighter who instinctively knows to arm bar an opponent without conscious thought, we now find more and more of the “right” words and timing without bursting brain cells.

The trick is sticking it through the apprentice phase long enough to engrain the fundamentals into the subconscious.

Master

This is where we all want to be. In fact, we all want this on Day One, but sadly, I believe this Day One Master is reserved for only a handful of literary savants. Mastery is when we return to that childlike beginning. We write with abandon and joy and, since the elements of fiction are now part of our DNA, our literary marrow, what we produce isn’t the off-key clanging of a neophyte, it’s actually a real story worth reading. Granted, it isn’t all kittens and rainbows. Masters have a lot of pressure to be perpetual geniuses.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 8.36.54 AM

Portrait by Yosuf Karsh via Wikimedia Creative Commons

I believe most of us, if we stick to this long enough, will always be vacillating between the Advanced Apprentice Phase and the Mastery Phase. If we choose to try a totally new genre, we might even be back to Neophyte (though this will pass more quickly than the first time).

We have to to keep growing. The best writers still pick up craft books, refresh themselves in certain areas, read other authors they enjoy and admire to see if they can grow in some new area. Masters seek to always add new and fresh elements to the fiction.

The key to doing well in this business is to:

1. EmbraceĀ the Day of Small Beginnings—Starting is often the hardest part. Enjoy being new. Enjoy that feeling because you will reconnect with it later because youĀ recognize it.

2. Understand We All Have an Apprentice Phase—We will all be Early, Intermediate, then Advanced Apprentices. How quickly we move through these will be dictated by dedication, hard work and, to a degree, natural talent.

3. No One Begins as a Master and Few Remain Permanent Masters—Every NYTBSA was once a newbie, too. When we understand this career has a process, it’s easier to lighten up and give ourselves permission to be imperfect, to not know everything. Many writers get discouraged and give up too soon because they don’t understand there is a process, and they believe they should be “Masters” right away.

Hey, I did.

We need to give ourselves permission to grow. If we love and respect our craft, we will always be learning, so we will continue to dip back into “Apprentice” to refine our art even further.

Does this make you feel better to know this career has a process? Are you in the Act II span of suck and getting weary? What are you doing to remain focused? Which part has you the most discouraged? Write with the abandon of the Neophyte then edit with the eyes of an Advanced Apprentice or MasteršŸ˜‰ .

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of MARCH, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

The winner for February is Monica Karel. Congratulations! Please send your 5000 word WORD document to kristen @ wana intl dot com.Ā 

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy ofĀ my latest social media/branding bookĀ Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook.Ā 

, , , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by ugiridharaprasad on March 3, 2015 - 10:26 am

    Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

  2. #2 by Moira Please on March 3, 2015 - 10:29 am

    Oh dear me yes, I do recognise this. Well the Newbie and the Suuuuuck phase anyway! Great Blog, I think you talk a lot of sense and I enjoy your style. Great stuff!

  3. #3 by elizamoritz on March 3, 2015 - 10:38 am

    Thank you for this.

  4. #4 by Mira Prabhu on March 3, 2015 - 10:38 am

    Reblogged this on mira prabhu and commented:
    “The mark of a pro is they make whatever we want to do look easy. From running a business to playing guitar to wicked cool Kung Fu moves, masters rarely seem to even break a sweat. Same with authors. With the pros? The story flows, pulls us in, and appears seamless and effortless.” Check out Kristen Lamb’s great new post on the journey from newbie to master writer…

  5. #5 by sharonhughson on March 3, 2015 - 10:50 am

    I feel like I will never move beyond the mid-apprentice stage. I can sell short stories but my novels fall flat. I am reaching the 600,000-word mark in nearly two years of full-time writing. Shouldn’t I be getting closer to the top of the apprentice column?
    Yesterday I was ready to throw in the towel. Today, I feel more like crying and curling into a ball. None of this emotional stuff gets words on the page, but I know I need my heart as well as my head to write truly gripping fiction.
    Shoot me now.

    • #6 by ontyrepassages on March 3, 2015 - 2:36 pm

      Please don’t! I’m in that same place and hate to think you jumped when I was still hanging on.

      • #7 by sharonhughson on March 3, 2015 - 2:52 pm

        I won’t let myself give up. Cry like a baby about the sludge-paced progress? Sure.
        Thanks for the encouragementšŸ˜€

    • #8 by Rachel Thompson on March 5, 2015 - 9:05 am

      The magic number is agreed by many writers to be one million plus .Problem with sustaining novels is often structure. Look at Larry Brooks’ books on structure.

      • #9 by sharonhughson on March 5, 2015 - 9:56 am

        Rachel-
        I have both of Larry Brooks’ books, well-marked and well-referenced. Actually, most negative comments on my novels are about character voice and consistency. Like I said, there’s always something else to learn and improve upon.

  6. #10 by newfsull on March 3, 2015 - 10:54 am

    Ms. Lamb, it seems I comment on all your blogs. I hope you don’t notice, lol.

    I have written three books, and have even written the first one a second time, with many changes from lessons learned. In that same period – four years or so, I have noticed a proliferation in folks pushing writing course at us. I truly would love to take one of these course, but I am very, very (I can use those words like that in a blog – but not in writing a book) concerned I am merely being conned.

    It may be beyond your venue; I will ask anyways – is there a resource you would recommend for such pursuits?

    • #11 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 3, 2015 - 11:01 am

      It’s like anything. There are legit classes and cons. Word of mouth. Get recommendations. I will start teaching again soon. Ramping up after almost five months off with Shingles. Since you trust my blog (and I DO notice and APPRECIATE your comments) then my classes might be a good fit. I recommend anything taught by Les Edgerton, James Scott-Bell, Bob Mayer, Candace Havens, or even any of the W.A.N.A. International team since I pick the teachers.

      • #12 by newfsull on March 3, 2015 - 12:18 pm

        I await your return to “structured” teaching – a distinction I hope you don’t mind; as your blogs are a form of teaching. What a suck up I am. Is there a special apple you prefer?

        • #13 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 3, 2015 - 12:31 pm

          LOL. Opal applesšŸ˜€ . I miss my structured teaching as well. Need to load classes. Just had SO much to catch up on after being ill for so long. Finally seeing daylight,šŸ˜€ .

  7. #14 by C.C. Wiley on March 3, 2015 - 11:03 am

    Reblogged this on C.C. WILEY and commented:
    Continually and forever learning…

  8. #15 by Claire Wade on March 3, 2015 - 11:27 am

    This is so reassuring. I’m at the apprentice stage and feeling like SUUUUCK will last forever. Seeing the process explained so clearly gives me a huge amount of hope to back up my determination. I’m learning so much at the moment and implementing it, it feels like my brain might explode. I long for the day when the skills integrate and become natural.

  9. #16 by daleamidei on March 3, 2015 - 11:29 am

    Methodology is the key to productivity. Passion is the key to motivation. Love and believe, and then do, and what you envision will appear on the page on its own.

  10. #17 by Steve Hartline on March 3, 2015 - 11:54 am

    I’m an early apprentice (I can admit that now and move on). Went to my first ever ‘coffee talk’ writing group last night to meet with fellow crafters. Oy joyous release from isolation! It was fast, chaotic and contained nuggets of insight ranging from an early twentysomething poet to well published poet through a very seasoned journeyman crafter. Framed with this post in mind what I learned is everyone there was at some stage of Apprenticeship. I have since joined a highly regarded critique group (yay! time to see ‘just how the mop flops’ as my master oral storyteller father-in-law will say) and get back at it rejuvenated. Life is a journey, so may as well enjoy the ride.

  11. #18 by kirizar on March 3, 2015 - 12:31 pm

    Bring on the suck.

  12. #19 by swiveltam on March 3, 2015 - 12:40 pm

    This is a wonderful breakdown. I was recently asked to do a lecture for a beginning writing class about self-publishing. I told the professor there were many more people more qualified than I. He still insisted, and I as I compiled the information I’d learned from you, others, and my own experience, I realized I had passed the neophyte stage! Hurrah!

    And I may have slayed the NaNo dragon twice, but I still am slogging in Act Two to make those NaNo first drafts real, layered stories with all the right parts!

    Thank you so much for this wonderful breakdown and the relief it brings to all of us.

    ~ Tam Francis~
    http://www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

  13. #20 by Lisa on March 3, 2015 - 12:41 pm

    I am approaching the intermediate apprentice phase. My writing changes daily, much like my yoga practice. Thank you for clarifying the journey!

  14. #21 by herheadache on March 3, 2015 - 12:46 pm

    Now that I have a blog I write nearly every day, but I know I have a lot to learn and so much room for growth. I will not give up or give in, even if things become frustrating or discouraging.

  15. #22 by Michelle on March 3, 2015 - 12:57 pm

    I may be in suck phase forever!! Thanks for this piece, really informative as are all your posts!

  16. #23 by lynettemirie on March 3, 2015 - 12:57 pm

    This blog gives clarity and hope to those of us who are stuck somewhere in the Apprentice Phase. Study, write, study, rewrite, put it aside, study some more, rewrite again all seems like a never ending cycle but all the effort will eventually pay off. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it.

  17. #24 by katdrennan on March 3, 2015 - 1:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Kat Drennan – Author and commented:
    Thank you, Kristen Lamb, for helping me put this week’s struggle into perspective. I see that I need to get a hold of my vet for a human-sized cone of shame.

  18. #25 by Jean M. Cogdell on March 3, 2015 - 1:31 pm

    Reblogged this on jean's writing and commented:
    Some days I think my stumbling newbie, or adolescence days will last forever. Great blog – thanks Kristen

  19. #26 by donnabeckwrites on March 3, 2015 - 1:44 pm

    Thanks for this article. You just talked me through a tough spot and it is so encouraging to know that everyone has them. I love the sport metaphor, since I am a runner and often use that in the same way. It is easy to improve as a beginning runner, then we hit a plateau where most people drop off. It is harder to stay motivated without all the accolades. I’m going to repost this blog.

  20. #27 by themonsterunleashed on March 3, 2015 - 1:51 pm

    Reblogged this on themonsterunleashed and commented:
    Fantastic article on mastering your craft! Reblogged!

  21. #28 by sheilaenglehart on March 3, 2015 - 2:13 pm

    Yep. Been through them. Still not a master, but aspiring.

  22. #29 by kimberlywenzler on March 3, 2015 - 2:13 pm

    Great post. Thanks so much!

  23. #30 by lori beasley bradley on March 3, 2015 - 2:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Lori Beasley Bradley my writing and commented:
    This has been very helpful and informative.

  24. #31 by ontyrepassages on March 3, 2015 - 2:46 pm

    Sometimes I fear I shall become the Master of Suk. Okay, I’m only half serious. I shall always write, for the drive will always remain, but I’ve grown less sure about the path I should take to publication. Great post.

  25. #32 by Dawn DeSousa (@DawnDeSousa) on March 3, 2015 - 3:12 pm

    When I finally decided to get on my path of “making a living as a full time writer,” I knew that I was in for a journey with twist, turns, and adventures. Thankfully, I brought plenty of friends, humor, and wine along for the ride.

  26. #33 by tarimcneil on March 3, 2015 - 3:35 pm

    Reblogged this on Tari McNeil and commented:
    More good advice

  27. #34 by Eric Klingenberg on March 3, 2015 - 3:51 pm

    I’m just starting out writing, this was very helpful, thank you

  28. #35 by dianaflegal on March 3, 2015 - 4:38 pm

    That first photo is one of my favorite lines in that movie, which is one of my all time favorite movies. Once again Kristen, thank you for guiding writers in their journey!

  29. #36 by Jeffrey A. Gartshore on March 3, 2015 - 4:57 pm

    Must remember…don’t get mad when you do not know how to write like a master.
    Give yourself permission to learn.

  30. #37 by Jon Rieley-Goddard on March 3, 2015 - 5:18 pm

    Read this from beginning to ed, though I am stuck in the middle.

    • #38 by Jon Rieley-Goddard on March 3, 2015 - 5:21 pm

      Meant to say from beginning to end. Though it makes weird sense to say from beginning to ed.

  31. #39 by Deborah Makarios on March 3, 2015 - 5:28 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to the point of books not being fun. When the book is good, I’m not picking it apart, I’m just nomming it down. But I am a lot more analytical about what doesn’t work – even if it’s just one element in an otherwise good book. Maybe that’s holding me back? I dunno. Reading is how I relax and destress – I’m afraid of losing that, even temporarily.

  32. #40 by Susie G. on March 3, 2015 - 5:29 pm

    As a writer, I can absolutely identify with this. I am also a piano teacher, so I love the ‘kids banging on the piano’ metaphor – I see my students going through these phases all the time!

  33. #41 by cbholganza on March 3, 2015 - 7:00 pm

    this piece on writing caught me like a ronda stare down, take down move. love it!!!

  34. #43 by Tiefsa on March 3, 2015 - 7:24 pm

    I can only hope one day to become a master and then teach my skills to young grasshoppers who want to be like me. Actually I do teach seventh graders, but I wouldn’t call myself a master yet. Does having a masters degree count for anything?

  35. #44 by Melissa Hed (@MelissaHed) on March 3, 2015 - 7:58 pm

    I so needed to read this right now. Thank you thank you thank you. Divine timing.

  36. #45 by Sean Mungin on March 3, 2015 - 8:31 pm

    Wow! This is similar to what I wrote today! Amazing!

  37. #46 by Kafie Carman on March 3, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    As a newbie,it is encouraging to have someone who has been thru it lay it out like you have. I will persevere! Thank you.

    • #47 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 3, 2015 - 11:03 pm

      It really doesn’t get easier, just the terrain becomes more familiar, LOL. You’ll get therešŸ™‚

  38. #48 by Dave S. Koster on March 3, 2015 - 10:17 pm

    I am somewhere in that act II. I can’t help but pick apart bits of dialogue in movies, or stop enjoying a story or movie because I’m concentrating on a particularly good bit of plot or setting, thinking ‘that approach is wonderful, can I adapt it to my work?’. I haven’t quite gotten to the point of having been banned from movie night though.

  39. #49 by Jennifer Jensen (@jenjensen2) on March 3, 2015 - 10:49 pm

    Great post, Kristen! This is my goal: “In fact, a good sign we are at the latter part of the apprentice phase is when the rules become so ingrained we rarely think about them.” Some parts of the craft flow out of my fingers without me thinking of them, but others cause me a great deal of struggle.

    I reblogged this at http://jenniferjensen.com/2015/03/newbie-apprentice-or-master-writer/ . Thanks!

  40. #50 by Niina on March 4, 2015 - 3:12 am

    This is definitely something everyone should read and understand. So many people get disappointed and give up when they don’t become Masters on Day One or still not on Day Seven. It takes times and learning, and it’s always good to be reminded of that.

    • #51 by Rachel Thompson on March 5, 2015 - 9:19 am

      I saw that going in on day one, that it would take time. I did newspaper and magazine work; columns, features, straight news for years to build the habit and learn. Then I wrote 40 short stories, then I wrote two novel and a none fiction book to build up to what I’m writing now. I planned all this before starting. I knew how to get me to where I am now– all that to do this book that’s been in my head for 30 years. I did not want to blow it so I wrote and studied. There is no other way.

      • #52 by Niina on March 6, 2015 - 3:03 am

        That’s great! Planning and studying will definitely pay off in the end, even though it will also take time.

  41. #53 by logankeys on March 4, 2015 - 3:40 am

    Reblogged this on Logan Keys Fiction and commented:
    Read. This.

  42. #54 by Lucy Lit on March 4, 2015 - 9:08 am

    I’ve been struggling with my sophomore novel for so-o-o long. Now you post words of clarity. And comfort. I’m finally starting to believe I’m not alone or crazy. Thank you.

    • #55 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 4, 2015 - 12:01 pm

      You’re a writer, so probably crazy. But definitely not alonešŸ˜‰ .

  43. #56 by maryblackhill on March 4, 2015 - 9:56 am

    Thank you. Perfect timing. I hate reading all the craft books, but accept that, to learn my trade, it’s gotta be done. Thanks for reminding me that the grind is necessary and that it does get better. I remember something one of my university lecturers told me many years ago: “The Waste Paper Basket is your best friend.” Maybe these days that’s the delete key…

  44. #57 by Glynis Jolly on March 4, 2015 - 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the pep talk. I needed it. Yep, I’m an apprentice, no doubt about it. My left side of the brain keeps on going back to rules not only teachers have drilled into me, but my mother too. The right side keeps on yelling, “Go past the stupid limits and write what you feel!” Although I can usually handle conflict, I still don’t like it. I shall persevere.

  45. #58 by Allie on March 4, 2015 - 2:36 pm

    Thank you for this! I have had similar thoughts on the writing process lately, and I’m definitely in the Apprentice phase where I don’t really enjoy reading and I think my writing sucks, and I kind of hate it. But I’m pressing on because deep down I really do love my story and I really am a writer. I write because I love it most of the time, and the rest of the time because I might lose my mind if I don’t.

    • #59 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 4, 2015 - 10:19 pm

      Blunt truth is we spend MOST of our time in the Apprentice Phase. It’s like summiting a mountain. The summit’s fabulous but no one lives there. It’s a brief moment of glory and then conquering the next mountain then the next.

  46. #60 by MjDemery on March 4, 2015 - 4:46 pm

    Right now, I feel like I am in the Apprentice stage, steadily making the connection that the mastery stage is like the neophyte stage, but with a more conscious level. The master knows the secret sauce and how to use it. The neophyte just needs to understand that you’ve already had the secret, it’s just knowing how and why use it. This was a truly great piece that I needed to hear. Writing for me has been a life journey and I use my skill to examine, learn, and make fiction and poetry. Thank you for posting an awesome piece. Well needed

  47. #61 by Melissa Keaster on March 4, 2015 - 8:45 pm

    Pinned. Amusing, accurate. The bit about movie night made me LOL. I’m currently reading K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel and The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Other suggestions?

    • #62 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 4, 2015 - 10:18 pm

      Hooked by Les Edgerton, War of Art by Pressfield, anything by James Scott Bell, Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder are all good ones for your library.

  48. #63 by Daniel Moore on March 4, 2015 - 9:34 pm

    Sometimes it’s tricky to know where on the spectrum you lie. Ability and confidence don’t always travel in tandem, and a master can feel like an apprentice. Though the inverse is true as well. Trick is to keep at at it, no matter your confidence level or your actual ability.

    • #64 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 4, 2015 - 10:17 pm

      Also, surround yourself with people who KNOW what they are doing. People better than you who are lovingly honest. They are invaluable for perspectivešŸ˜‰ .

  49. #65 by thomasreich on March 4, 2015 - 10:25 pm

    My first contact with the Apprentice Stage was in my first 300 level English course at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. I was humming right along, doing well as an A/A- student in all of my English courses to that point. I was even thinking I can do this for a living! Even Lit Crit and Theory can’t be that hard.

    Reality hit me like a speeding freight train when on my first paper for the class, the professor wrote:

    “Grade: C. Faulkner can write stream-of-conscience, you cannot.” It was devastating.

    When I asked Professor Hanson about the grade and the comment he said, “I fail most students on their first paper. You had solid arguments, but you didn’t see them all the way through. You also had solid structure. You can take this as a defeat or a learning moment. Your choice.”

    I feel that I am still mid-apprentice stage but growing and improving in my fiction, but I will get there.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Kristin!

  50. #66 by Bob on March 5, 2015 - 6:40 am

    Kristin: Thanks for this post. Everything seems to go through the phases, I just hate sucking at everything. In writing I guess I’m a newbie, definitely not a master. In my current attempt I have the plot arc sort of figured out, I have little problem writing dialog but well developed characters are a problem. And then there are all those rules: show don’t tell, maintaining tense, POV, etc. I seem to write myself into a corner and get blocked trying to get out. Anyway, good post and lots of good comments.

  51. #67 by Bob on March 5, 2015 - 7:15 am

    Reblogged this on Life In Virtual Reality.

  52. #68 by Rachel Thompson on March 5, 2015 - 9:00 am

    Ray Bradbury said he wrote over 1 million words before his first short story was accepted for publication. Step one, is not write a million words, it is turn off the TV. It’s hard to produce any worlds when stuffing your face with potato chips while watching imbecilic crap every night on TV.

  53. #69 by fransprisyafada on March 5, 2015 - 1:35 pm

    I’m very grateful for this post. It inspire me to write more since I’m new in this field.

  54. #70 by leithunique on March 7, 2015 - 9:37 am

    I thought that was it. I am definitely a Newbie advancing to apprentice stage. Thank you for the blog is very helpful.

  55. #71 by lonestarjake88 on March 7, 2015 - 9:46 am

    Thank you so much, Kristen! I’m so glad I’m not the only writer who does Martial Arts. I see you’re studying grappling technique. I do more of the striking.

  56. #72 by lonestarjake88 on March 7, 2015 - 9:47 am

    Reblogged this on Jacob Airey's Librarium and commented:
    This is a great article and resource for my fellow writers! Check out Kristen Lamb’s blog! It is full of great ideas and resources.

  57. #73 by Amy Rafferty Slagle on March 8, 2015 - 8:33 pm

    So stressed I don’t know what POV is AND I would love to get the title of a “craft book” you recommend! šŸ˜Š

  58. #74 by Monsoon's Chai on March 9, 2015 - 3:05 am

    Reading your advice on how to do well reminded me to take a step back and understand that it is all a process. Writing is developed and shaped by time and the experiences that it brings. It brought me comfort to read that even masters have to continue to work hard at their craft.

  59. #75 by G. Ellizabeth Kretchmer on March 9, 2015 - 10:52 am

    Kristen, the idea that we will be in the apprentice phase for a long time, perhaps forever, is so true and so unanticipated when you’re first starting your journey. Thanks for pointing that out. I wish I’d understood earlier on that it was okay to be wherever I was on my path, but it’s hard to be so self-accepting in this highly competitive world. I also love your idea that “few remain permanent masters,” a concept many masters would be horrified to consider. All around, great wisdom.

  60. #76 by amomnextdoor on March 11, 2015 - 12:33 pm

    From someone who’s been stuck in suck, thank you for calling it out for me! Hearing this stage of my career named for what it is really helps. Apprentice can be really fun in the beginning–connecting with other writers, starting to connect the dots as a reader–but trying to apply what I’m learning to my own writing is REALLY hard. Thanks for the reminder to “write crap until I’m no longer writing crap.” BTW, I think Opal apples are so good, we should just rename the fruit. These days I say to my kids, “Anybody want an opal?”

  61. #77 by Patti Rae on March 12, 2015 - 11:40 am

    Kristen, your insight on span two of suck and being weary is exactly where I am. I bought your book Rise of the Machines and I am trying to learn this social media thing, but it’s still a bit scary and discouraging at times. Just trying to understand FB is challenging enough and when I’ve hit a wall, ready to cry out in frustration, I go back to writing and am fine again, for a while. But I know I can’t keep my head in the sand and hope I’ll somehow get discovered by just wishing. It’s a process, and though it’s taking me longer than I would like to wrap my brain around it, I don’t know the word quit. So I’ll just keep writing and work on this social media thing on the side. Thanks for your words of encouragement.

  62. #79 by vidhya1983 on March 13, 2015 - 4:51 am

    Reblogged this on scribblings007.

  63. #80 by Mary Spurr (WA Mary Ellen Blackwood) on March 16, 2015 - 11:29 am

    oh……….I am tired of being stuck, weary of being in the suuuuuuuck phase, but recognize who is NOT over the keyboard enough when I look in the mirror……! I love that you seem to magically write blogs that speak to only me (not narcissistic – just think I am the only writer in a slump or in a quandary over something!). So thank you for the validation that I am not alone……that you have been there, overcame it and now are generous enough to mentor all of us!! May I have much to give back one day….I promise to pay it forward!

  64. #81 by shinyoliver on March 16, 2015 - 3:43 pm

    I think my apprentice stage will last most of my life, but I’m cool with that. There are only a few people whose standards I wish to exceed; one of them is me, and most of the rest are dead. It’ll all be uphill for me. That sounds like a good life in many ways.

    I’m glad you’re writing this stuff. I don’t feel as frustrated and urgent anymore. I’ll concentrate on my reviews and critiques and fiction now and link back to you a lot, instead of attempting to distill writing advice.

  65. #82 by LV Barat on March 25, 2015 - 12:07 pm

    Great post. Thank you for reiterating that when we just start out, we don’t have to know or do everything at once. It lessens the stress a million fold.

  66. #83 by katkent2014 on March 26, 2015 - 1:47 am

    I love this aritlce, Kristen. “Write with the abandon of a Neophyte and then edit…” So true. A teacher at a University told me it would take an average ten years for me to finish my first novel because that is how long it takes to learn to write. I started at the end of 2010, went to some writing classes, conferences, critiques and pitching. Found out everything I didn’t know and worked hard to apply what I learned…and kept writing (now on book three in my YA trilogy). One thing I learned from a writing coach: do not try to write and edit at the same time. (Thought I could shorten the process if I combined some of it). When I took her advice, the ‘Neophyte’ stage came back. WOO-HOO! Its the real reason I decided to write to begin with. If you don’t get it right the first time; its okay. You can fix it during the rewrite and revision phase. What other profession can you commit a total release of your imagination; to let it soar without boundaries? Its like being a kid in a candy store…true joy. And it really is a process. (During my first chapters; my POV hopped so much; you’d think I was writing about bunnies and not supers.) Once you understand this; it get easier; but only if you keep writing. I haven’t used every single chapter I’ve written and some have been transformed into something completely different. I agree with you, Kristen; you have to keep writing, keep learning and never give up.

  67. #84 by katkent2014 on March 26, 2015 - 1:48 am

    Reblogged this on writersback and commented:
    I agree with Kristen; writing is a process and for most of us there are no shortcuts. Keep writing, learning and never give up.

  68. #85 by Gail Werner on March 26, 2015 - 11:00 am

    First-timer to your site and SO happy to have found it. What a treasure trove of info for writers it is! Along with commenting here, I’m more than happy to share your blog as a resource on my new web site I’ve just launched: http://gailwerner.com/resources/

  69. #86 by Pam Phillips on March 10, 2016 - 1:46 pm

    Thank you, thank you, a millon (ok not a million but a bunch) of times thank you. I’ve been beating my head against the wall for, I’m sorry to say it… MONTHS!
    I have been doubting myself and ask myself what ever gave me the harebrained idea that I could write? Geeze….

    I know there is a story that if fighting, screaming and kicking to come out. It’s popped into my head a few times in my life, but some how it just hasn’t managed to turn into a butterfly, YET! I’m thankful a fb friend put me on a path to learn, I’m so glad I didn’t self publish my attempts at writing. I’ve came far enough to be glad I did embarrass myself and I’ve learned enough that I want to write the best story that is in me. It may not, ok probably won’t win a ton of awards before it even comes out, or even after it is out. But thats ok, there are far more books published every year than there are awards. I just want to write the BEST ONE IN ME! One that everytime I read it, it makes me smile and laugh in all the right places. It makes me proud that I poured it out of my heart and soul onto a peice of paper, ok at least 32 pages of paper. I want – scratch that! I am going to be a children’s book writer and illustrator. And as an author I’m so glad to see this, it’s easy to forget that you have to go through the levels one at a time.

    I am still neophyte enough that I do not have a blog yet, at what point do you think a blog is necessary? I figured I needed at least one of my ms close enough to revised, revised and revised a few more times to warrant a blog. Or do you think I should have one now to start building a following? I’m sure it is probably inappropriate to ask these questions in this way. I had a point to all of this blog blah blah. I don’t have a blog but I will happily share this. Most of my fb friends are also PB authors and or illustrators but I’m sure there are… Pearls of wisdom here for anyone who looks for them. I am very interested in your branding concepts and I would like to thank you for making all of these tools more affordable than of the usual avenues of learning and growing.

    Sincerely, Pam Phillips
    RMCSCBWI
    PB author/illustrator

    • #87 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 11, 2016 - 9:55 am

      You need a blog/platform/brand the moment you decide to go pro. I am so happy I could help you and my book can help you get that platform started. But seriously, start NOW. You do NOT want to be trying to sell books and pull a brand out of the ether.

  1. From Newbie to Master—Understanding the Writer’s Journey | ugiridharaprasad
  2. Top Picks Thursday 03-12-2015 | The Author Chronicles
  3. Mind Sieve 3/16/15 | Gloria Oliver
  4. Boredom, Recession & Imposters |
  5. Monthly Mention: March 2015 | Coolerbs Reviews
  6. A Newbie Gets Ready for SCBWI LA 2015 | L. M. Quraishi, Children's Book Writer
  7. What is a Fairytale? No… Seriously. | Maxi Bransdale

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: