You Want to be a Writer? Learn Your Craft!
Well, at least learn about your craft and what you can look forward to as you begin this adventure. And it will be an adventure, certainly. You will have smooth journeys, crooked paths, mountains to climb and deserts to traverse. You will stay in luxurious hotels and in flop houses (in your mind, of course); and you will enjoy every minute of it, or you aren’t really a writer!
What follows are 10 important tips for new writers, but there are many more that may come from both successful authors and other novices like yourself. If you read through these, however, reflect on them a bit, and still you want to write, then you are probably ready!
- Hours and Hours: Yes, you must be willing to spend hours of time engaged in your craft. If you have another job, it means you will be sacrificing some other things – some social time, some television, and, when you are “on a roll,” laundry, cooking and cleaning! Be certain that you want to do this badly enough, or you will become resentful. And it won’t just be the initial writing, because that is the exciting part. It will be the re-writing, and re-writing, and re-writing that will leave you wondering, at times, if it is worth it.
- Your writing must be personal in some way. It is often said that all writing is autobiographical in some manner, because that’s what motivates good writers. The conflicts, the setting, even the plot may be fiction, but, deep within those elements there is something personal.
- Rejection: Get used to it, and deal with it! It is not something to fear, and it does not mean you are a failure. It often takes several years to find an agent/publisher. Do not, under any circumstances, pay a fee to a company for self-publishing. You may see your work in print but no one else will, unless you have the money and strategies for a huge marketing campaign! (or you give away free copies).
- Talk to others about your writing. Prepare a short oral summary of your book, so you are prepared to speak to it. And, when someone asks you what you “do,” always respond that you are a writer. You may have another job that pays the bills, but that is no longer your real job!
- A lot of novice writers think that they have to set up a quiet place to work within their home. If that is what allows you to be most productive, absolutely do it. However, many writers tend to like the freedom of movement, and it is a wonderful thing that technology now accommodate that! What a wonderful century we live in!
- Develop patience, especially with yourself. If you can’t seem to get the “word flow,” give it a rest. Like a dirty house, it will always be there when you return.
- If you are writing fiction, your characters should come from people or combinations of people you know. Otherwise, they won’t be credible. You have to have an intimate relationship with your characters!
- Once you finish a book, start on the next one, even if you do not have an agent or publisher yet. This keeps you in a positive mindset, and is a good selling point when you do get “nibbles.” A series is always attractive!
- Decide what kind of a writer you are. There are two general types:
- One type must plan, organize, develop an outline, and have a skeleton sketch of his/her characters before the writing begins. If this is you, great!
- The other type just starts with an idea and begins to write, because the pieces begin to fall into place only after the writing has begun. If this sounds like you, great!
- Remember that writing is both an “art” and a “science.” The “art” is generating the ideas for plot, setting, conflict, characters, and themes. The “science” is putting all of those together in a coherent and fluent way. Yu have to have a bit of both!
Author’s bio: Armed with a Master’s in Journalism and strong wanderlust, Julie Ellis set out to explore exotic places, financed by her freelance writing. She is now a regular blogger for Premier Essay and sells feature articles to English-speaking publications around the world.