So, you want to be a writer?

So, you want to be a writer? Brilliant! Full marks.

But are you prepared to do the work?

I know loads of people who want to be writers. They talk about being writers, talk about writing, and some even call themselves writers. But what does it actually take to be a writer? Here are my findings (drawn from my personal experiences to date) so far:

  1. YOU NEED TO WRITE: preferably every day, even if its only a few lines. How can you call yourself a writer if you don’t ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). This one is a no-brainer.
  2. YOU NEED TO READ: every day if you can. You need to read widely, across genres, themes, styles, age groups, etc. AND you need to think about what you have read. What did you like/dislike about the piece? How does it compare to your own writing? What does that best-seller have that your book doesn’t?
  3. YOU NEED TO GET YOUR WRITING OUT THERE: Enter those competitions, submit to those journals, submit pieces to other blogs, set up your own blog. If it’s sitting in the drawer then it may as well be a blank note book.
  4. RECORD IDEAS AS THEY COME TO YOU: Carry a notebook and pen, utilise that app in your phone. Don’t let opportunities pass you by.

And some other “recommended” items:

  • Join your local writing groups/organisations
  • Research writing styles
  • Read reviews
  • Read other writers’s blogs, sign up for newsletters
  • Monitor book sales and best-seller lists
  • Go to libraries and book stores and look at what’s selling
  • Research agent and publisher requirements
  • Research journals that take the genres you prefer to write in
  • Monitor writing competitions and deadlines
  • Look into short-courses (and longer ones) which cover various aspects of writing, marketing and publishing
  • Set up your own social media profile (research it, work out what suits you)
  • Set up a writing space, just for you.

Your next challenges will be finding the time, managing rejection, and getting that all-important frank and honest feedback on your work. After all, the writing is only the start of the journey.

And good luck with it all. Keep the faith, but more importantly do the work.

Sarah Jackson is blogger who has self published five short story science fiction e-books, and a junior grade children’s book “Pete and the Persian Bottle”. She is working to improve her standard of writing, with the aim of bagging a contract with a traditional publisher. And so the journey continues….www.sarahjacksonwriter.com

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