There is no secret to becoming a writer. Simply put pen to paper . . . or in this day and age, put fingers to keyboard.
Every morning I roll over in bed and reach for my laptop. My eyes may be blurry, but my mind is clear. I keep my pipeline filled with stories, novel outlines, query letters, blog ideas, newspaper articles––anything to click my writing gene into gear. There is something about tapping out words that creates more words. I go with the flow and spill ideas onto the printed page. It’s how I start.
An accountant doesn’t get up from behind her computer able to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. She must first start with short hikes, develop routines, commit to a training program, build strength, and increase her knowledge about her body, nutrition, and the rigors of the trail. She must plan for a successful long-distance hike.
The same principles apply to writing a successful novel.
- Start short. Try your hand at essays, poetry, short stories, newspaper articles, and blogs. Perfect those, and you’ll be prepared for a long-distance novel.
- Develop a routine. Write everyday. Put aside ‘writing time’ and stick to the schedule whether you are in the mood or not. If you think you have writer’s block, jump start your creativity by reading your own work-in-progress. Get excited again. Or take a break to write a fun blog, a bit of poetry, or revise your query letter. Play with words.
- Train yourself to write by reading voraciously. Study the classics. Read how-to-write books, study the formulas, and then do your own thing.
- Find your strengths and build on them. If you love mysteries, write mysteries. Join a critique group in your chosen genre, listen to constructive criticism, and polish your writing.
- Learn the craft of writing by attending seminars and conferences, view webinars, and surround yourself with other writers. Listen to successful authors, be inspired and write.
Three years ago I was in my writing infancy and fumbled around for advice. Now I’ve grown to toddler stage, and am working on my third novel. In a short time, I’ve found that writing a novel is a long-distance endeavor, not for the faint-hearted, but the possibility of success has never been greater. If I can get this far, so can you. Start small, invest time and effort into your career, and have faith that your preparations will result in a series of published novels. Start now.