TIPS TO BECOMING A WRITER
Becoming a writer – be it of short stories, novels, poetry, or screenplays – is serious business – that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Writing may seem easy, but it is everything but.
Don’t write a story just because you think it might be a bestseller or that it would make your great aunt Shirley proud. Write the story you’d most want to read. Think about the books you love, the ones you really lose yourself in. If those are mysteries, then don’t try to write an historical romance or a quiet literary novel. It might not be anything genre-specific that you love, but a certain voice, or type of story, or kinds of characters. Write what you love.
Do me a favor, make a list of all your crazy obsessions, the things that get your heart pumping, that wake you up in the middle of the night. Put it above your desk and use it as a guide to jumpstart your writing each and every day.
If you are serious about writing you have to write every day and make sure your writing is effective. Set a daily goal for your writing. Depending on your other time commitments and what it is you’re writing, you can either plan to write for two hours a day or decide to not put your laptop down until you’ve typed out 20+ pages.
You should take writing as a seriously as you take or once took your dream job. Stay focused. Distraction is the enemy of all great works of art. If you are like me you will often wonder if you are any good at writing. It’s normal. But if you are committed to writing, stop worrying about being a good writer; just write.
KEEP an open mind.
COMMIT to your writing and your career and continue refining your craft. If the first thing you query doesn’t land, take a look at the feedback you’ve received and apply it to something new.
DO stay positive.
DON’T pay an agent or publisher any kind of up-front fee.
DON’T sign a contract without an agent and without making sure you’re getting industry standard terms, at the very least. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re signing.
When I get an idea for a new book, I think of the general direction I want to go with that topic, and then I just write. After I’ve gotten a few chapters going, I go back and read through what I have and start making changes. You’ll learn that making changes can be just as confusing as writing the actual book.
Rewriting and editing helps to tighten up your work. But it can be difficult – what to chop and when to stop may not be clear. And you may change your mind more than once during the process.
Throughout the entire process, you will constantly ask yourself a ton of questions. Whether you need to take out unnecessary information and explanations; do you need to perhaps add or expand on dialogue of what the characters actually say, rather than summaries; should you may need to move descriptive passages to add tension and suspense to incidents.
Over the course of my career, I have self-published two books and one e-book, in addition to, have had more than 80 articles published, and I cannot tell you how many final edits I’ve actual done. And each time I either found an error, or added/removed words, sentences, or even whole chapters.
In your final edit(s) be sure to always:
Check for grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes.
Ensure you have no continuity errors.
Pay particular attention to the first and last lines of any section or scene.
Smooth out any awkward words and phrases.
Clarify anything that isn’t clear. If you don’t understand it, chances are your readers won’t either.
Writing is a beautiful thing for lots of reasons to different people, but if you are focused on a goal then it’s the most enjoyment you can ever have working.