This, of course, is the million dollar question. How do I write? How do I write well? How do I write like a real writer? I am going to do my best to explain how to become a real writer over these next few paragraphs, though I am afraid it won’t be exactly as you hope.
If you write, you’re a writer…period. I have been a writer since I was in single digits, since I wrote my first poem with crayon on construction paper. My skill, craft, technique, perspective, etc., has evolved over the years, but the fact that I am a writer is no more or less true. The first task on your path is to admit and accept this. There are no strict qualifications for the title. Writers write. If you’re still reading this post, you are probably a writer.
I write, so what next?
There is no quick answer for the next leg of your journey, no one trick you’re going to come across that can get you where you want to go. If you want to be an author, if you want to go anywhere in the industry, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of blind, if even doubtful, faith, and a willingness to be humble.
People have done it before, right? So there ought to be SOMEONE who can tell me how to be a real writer. I have bad news. What worked for someone else might now work for you. You might have to do part of what “Author A” did, but then do some of what “Author B” and “Author C” did as well. Research is going to be your best friend. Read books, magazine articles, blog posts, twitter threads – take in ANY information you can on how it’s been done. That way, when you sit down to proceed, you know what you’re doing. Asking people is a great way to learn, but never stop researching for yourself.
Okay. Research. What next?
You have to write.
I know, we covered this.
No, you have to write a lot. The only way to improve your craft is with time and practice; if you want to be good, there’s no way around it. Good news for you…you like to write anyway, right? So why not pass the time doing what you enjoy? What if I don’t know how to create a story arc? What if I don’t know how to create well-rounded characters? What if I don’t know how to sprinkle in hints throughout a tale? This will improve over time. You can do things like study grammar and creative writing to help, but as you write, as others read your work and provide feedback, your understanding of it all will improve. Reading a lot will teach you a lot as well.
Okay. Research. Write. Read. Got it. What next?
This is where you have to remain humble. The person who no longer accepts that they can improve is the person who stops improving. Sounds obvious, but remember this over your years. Five years down the road, there’s a good chance you are going to be pretty confident in your abilities. Never stop taking advice and feedback on your work. You may have a vision, but the input of another can take a work from bright to brilliant.
What if I don’t have anyone to read my work? How do I find beta readers and someone to edit?
Get on Twitter. Join the Writing Community (#WritingCommunity). If you haven’t done this already, seriously, what are you even doing? I went from being completely alone in this venture to having thousands of people to check in with every day. They have helped me on my hard days, and, in turn, I have been able to give back, inspiring and lifting others up when I can. I joined a writing group (via Twitter), met a business partner (via Twitter), and have made so. many. friends. You can link up with tons of people in the industry here. Just do it. Trust me.
I think I have digressed.
The nitty gritty: You are a writer, and if you want to be a published writer, you can be that too. Take all the advice you can get, but when it comes down to it, write your story the way you want. Make waves, cause a scene, spread a message…don’t ask for permission – try it and see if it works. It’s your journey, and you have to do what works for you. Besides, if you try to fit in someone else’s box, there’s a chance it’s going to be constrictive and hold you back.
Thank you for reading my ramblings. Have a great weekend.