Hey, SE Readers. Joan here today with the second part of my post On Becoming a Writer. If you haven’t read the first part, you can do so by clicking here.
If you follow or read this blog, there is a reason. Everyone here, both authors and readers, have a common goal. Either you are, or you want to become a writer. Some of you are just beginning, while others are published authors multiple books. Some even have the privilege of being on a best-selling author list.
I’ve written this post more for those who are in the beginning stages, but I hope everyone can glean something useful from my words.
Becoming a published author is possible. In fact, with today’s self-publishing methods and electronic format options, it’s easier than ever. With any dream, it takes hard work to achieve your goals. And writing is hard work.
In the last post, I shared five ways not to become a writer. Today, I’ve taken those negatives and turned them into positives as I share ideas to help you achieve your goal.
- It goes without saying the first step is to write. Even if you begin with a journal, write something. Choose your schedule. Whether you write every day, is up to you, but you need to practice, practice, practice. IMO, the more often you write, the better, but we all have other responsibilities—family, full-time jobs, taking care of a house, etc. Only you can decide what works best for you.
- Share your writing. We all have fears—fear of rejection, self-doubt, competition. You need to get over them. It’s a given that if you submit your work to a traditional publisher or magazine, you will have rejections. Getting a rejection slip is discouraging, but don’t let it stop you from continuing. If you never submit any writing, you’ll never become a published author. Self-publishing? You still have to “submit” it to an online service such as Amazon, B&N, or Kobo. Regarding those rejection slips? I once heard an author say, “When I receive a rejection slip from one publication, I take it to mean someone else needs my story.” That’s a great attitude to have!
- Keep those terrible first drafts. One of my first writing instructors advised me never to throw away any piece of writing. First drafts are awful, but keep unused ones in a separate file. Weeks, months, even years later, you might find a place for them. While I seriously doubt I would have ever done anything with that first manuscript I wrote at age seventeen, it would be nice to look back and see how far I’ve become. (No doubt, I would have more than a few laughs.) Take that first draft, rewrite it, edit, and edit some more.
- Take advice. Join a critique group or find some trusted critique partners. We are too close to our own work to be objective. Each time I think I’m sending a polished piece of writing to my critique partners, I’m surprised to see what mistakes they catch. They also provide valuable advice on how to make a manuscript better, point out gaps, and tell me when I’ve written something that’s hard to understand. Suggestions received from others isn’t personal. They are to help you grow as an author. You don’t have to accept all recommendations but listen carefully to the advice of editors and experienced writers.
- Get social. As I pointed out in part one, many writers are introverts. However, the days of being able to write in anonymity are over if you want to sell any books. Get connected with others through social media. Choose your platform, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are a few of the many choices we have. Start a blog. Read, follow, and comment on other blogs. Build relationships.
Time for your suggestions. What tips would you share for those who are beginning their writing journey?