Bar none… the most common question I’ve ever been asked during my writing process is – How can I become a writer?
I think that most people, not all, want to write something. It might not be a book, but who doesn’t want to see something that they’ve written, sung, performed in, or videoed – turn into something incredible?
The truth of all things is that if you are interested in writing, you should write. I think this is a pretty basic response. But there is more…much more.
Therefore…my answer is three-fold (not including the answer above).
1.) Know your Craft
Anyone interested in a writing career, publishing a book, or just wanting to become a better writer should learn the craft of writing. Know the rules, know when to keep the rules and when to break the rules.
You should know Point of View (POV), character arcs, writing styles, past and present tenses, book genre, plot, chapter lengths, query letter, synopsis, marketing, querying, editing, and much more. It doesn’t mean that you can’t change, alter, or try something new. It certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t start without being fully knowledgeable in all areas. Write a scene in present and past tense and see what works for you. One book or project might differ from another. You don’t want to write 200,000 words for a romance novel.
This doesn’t mean that you will be perfect in any or all of these categories, but you should be aware of what you are doing. Learn, learn, and learn some more. If you start writing, you will have a blast writing. But when you become serious about taking the next step, you might find that what you’ve written is something that won’t work or that it needs to be rewritten. However, this isn’t always bad either. This isn’t saying don’t have fun, but why slip and fall a dozen times in the pre-writing process when this could have been avoided? Trust me…you’re going to slip and fall enough.
2.) Determination to write consistently
Squirrel. Every writer wants to write. Good writers write consistently not because they want it more than you do…but often…they can avoid distractions better than you can. Distractions are one of the most common pitfalls for anyone trying to discover or accomplish their dreams.
Facebook, Instagram, author websites, marketing, and much more can be essential in writing, publishing, and in the author’s life. But what happens when these things consume your life? The next sentence isn’t written, and the next book isn’t published. Find balance with this and much more. Very few people can write for eight straight hours. Often it isn’t good to do so. You need to change things up. Write for a few hours, then do some marketing, then come back to writing.
Most writers spend time wishing that they had done something. At the end of the day, they wish they had a better Instagram post, more words written, or more time spent reading. Most of these things happen with not more time…but more determination and a better plan.
First – plan how many hours or words you want to write. Then add in how you are going to accomplish this. Mix in social media, Facebook scrolling, and other things. But set yourself a time limit or better yet, use a timer. Give yourself fifteen minutes and get back to writing.
Also…are you a plotter or a pantster or somewhere in between. Regardless, plot as much as you can, inside your head or on paper. Find what decreases your anxiety the most and run with it.
3.) Try to read as much as you write.
The book world changes in an instant. It is hard to keep track of all the new trends, tropes, love stories, thrillers, and other changes. You can try to keep a list or you can read. The mind will learn things in an incredible way while you are reading. You will get a better sense of plot, sentence structure, and other usage of words, phrases, dialogue, conflict, fight scenes, chapter length, and much more. You as a reader will find what you like and don’t like. But remember…just because you may or may not like something, doesn’t mean that other readers won’t have a different opinion. Read more and see what others are doing.
Reading gives you a sense of adventure and motivation, even for your own writing. Reading gets you into a different world and allows your brain to want to bring others into your world. There is no better teacher for writing than reading.
These are but a few of the answers I have come up with. What other responses have you given? Share your comments with us!!