Every author has their own approach to writing. One may include page-long paragraphs, so detailed you feel like you are there. Another may string words together in short sentences and move the plot along quickly. Other authors drop clues here and there to spark curiosity. Usually an author’s writing genre reflects his or her philosophy.
For example, biographers search for unknown and little-known facts and photos about a person. Novelists weave real-life experiences, situations, and news headlines into their fictional plots. Nonfiction writers are grounded in facts, keep checking their facts, and cite their resources in bibliographies. Genre requirements very, yet the basics are the same, and writing is hard work.
I’m a freelance health and wellness writer. When I started 37 years ago I didn’t think about my writing purpose. Instead, I followed my instincts and let them lead me forward on the career path. As the years passed, my life changed and my writing changed too. Today I focus on purpose and it is as clear as glass—produce work that helps others. But if you asked me to describe this approach I would probably be wordy.
Thankfully, President Abraham Lincoln summarized my philosophy years ago. He once said: I do the very best I know how—the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
Lincoln’s phrase, “the very best I know how,” makes me think of the years I spent in the writing trenches, learning, failing, trying again and again. Beginning writers need to understand a tenant of the craft and it’s a simple one: The more you write, the better you get. I once read an online letter from a new writer who said it took her three days to produce a 500-word article. The answer she received: “You need to write more.”
Lincoln’s quote implies persistence. Obstacles and dilemmas and sorrows didn’t keep Lincoln from trying. I think persistence counts as much as talent in life. An author’s persistence includes good work habits, a comfortable schedule, formatting a manuscript properly, adhering to submission guidelines, creating professional letters and emails, rebounding from rejecting, helping other authors, and maturing. While I’m not always
While I’m not always completely satisfied with my writing, the urge to do better keeps me moving forward. Following Lincoln’s example, I continue to write, and plan to do so until the end of my life. I’m grateful for all of the writing opportunities that come my way: writing for several websites, writing articles for regional and national magazines, and writing health and wellness books. I’m also grateful to the community organizations that ask me to speak.
If you’re wondering about your writing philosophy and purpose, Abraham Lincoln’s quote may serve as a starting point. I think the true meaning and power of his quote rests with personal responsibility. We have decided to write. We work to become published authors. We try to keep improving. We write because we must. Thank you, Abraham Lincoln, for stating a writer’s life purpose in such simple words. While I’m not always satisfied with what I’ve produced, I know I tried.
The urge to do better tugs me forward. As Lincoln said, I do my best and plan on doing so until the end of my days. I’m grateful for the opportunities that come to me, including writing for websites, articles for regional and national magazines, and brochures for community groups. I’m also grateful for invitations to speak at conferences. Opportunities like these help authors spread the word about their books.
If you’re unsure about your writing philosophy Lincoln’s quote may serve as a starting point. What points could you add to the quote? Does your statement need more detail? Authors write because we’re compelled to write. We keep honing our craft and trying to improve. We keep challenging ourselves and relish the challenges. Thank you, Abraham Lincoln, for stating our mission in simple, concise, and uplifting words.