So, you've been bitten by the writing bug. Go ahead-- scratch that itch! I promise, it feels good.
Every list you write, email you draft and text message you send proves one thing... YOU can write! Now, all you have to do is harness that ability and write the next New York Times Best Seller. Right? Well, sort of.
I'm going to tell you a secret. The moment you pick up a pencil and paper or laptop you are already well on your way to becoming a writer.
As a "writer" myself, I can tell you-- we all have our reasons. And for most of us, the New York Times Best Seller list isn't our motivation. We are creative people with thoughts and ideas that swirl around in our brains, feeling like they can't be contained any longer. So, why not put them on paper and share them with others.
Sure, there's plenty of folks out there who are happy to put forth their creative energy in visual formats like YouTube, TikTok, Dubsmash, Triller (you get the point). But, for every YouTuber, there's a Blogger. For every TikTok challenge there's a kid with a laptop writing the next poem we'll hear at the Presidential Inauguration.
Words can inspire, create change, give meaning and fill voids.
So, check out my 7 Tips on Becoming a "Writer" for some of the ways I scratch my creative itch and you can too.
Okay, yeah, that makes sense. But, seriously. Every day you have to write something. Anything! Just write! You could write a letter. You could write a song. A poem. A short story. Or the first (or last) chapter of a murder mystery! It doesn't matter, just pick a word count and commit to it for one week. Then another and another. I promise. You'll find your voice and your style if you just keep writing.
Personally, I write anywhere from 2-10k words every day. Sometimes it's cringe worthy hot garbage. And sometimes it's so freaking good it makes me laugh and cry and get goosebumps.
Tell people you're writing
Yes. Do it. Don't be scared! I promise, it's thrilling. Plus, it's very helpful to start learning how to summarize what you are working on. Look at the back cover of your favorite book. A nice and tidy little summary that gives you a quick visual. It hooks you. Learn to do that.
Plus, once you have fans who are vested they will want to know how your story ends! And no one wants to disappoint the fans.
Read a book
This might sound counter productive-- to put down the pencil and pick up a book. But, the more you read and understand what kind of books you are drawn to the easier it will be to determine what kind of writer you want to be.
Do you love reading #YAbooks or #Fantasy or #Romance? Or are you into magazines, journals, non-fiction stories about animals? The best writers love the worlds they live in. So what do you love? Not sure, head to the library for some inspiration.
Plus, who doesn't love the smell of books?
For real though... every. single. day.
Truth-- I keep notebooks all over my house for moments of inspiration. I even have a notebook and pencil in the basket of my bike! You just never know what's going to inspire your next epic tale.
Don't compare yourself to others
Every writer is on a different journey. Yours is special. Unique. Just like your writing! Just because I can write 10k words in one session doesn't mean a damn thing.
You have a story to tell. So tell it!
Learn to block out the noise. Not every debut author is debuting their first book. It might their tenth try that finally landed the big deal.
Just keep writing.
Find your purpose
So you have an idea. A theme. A vision. But, you still aren't really sure where to begin. It can help by developing a high-level view of what you are writing.
For example-- let's say you want to write a fiction story geared towards middle grades readers. Start by writing the back cover. The soundbite. Tell the reader who your main character is, what (mis)adventures he/she/they will go on and a couple of surprises they might find along the way.
From there, you can write the basic outline, you know-- the roadmap of your story and how it ends. (When in doubt use the who, what, where, why and when method).
Ask for help
Most people love to give advice. "Writers" are no different! There are all kinds of online communities with aspiring authors, writers, bloggers, journalists, script writers, etc. Find your people. That place you feel safe to ask whatever!
Then ask away! Ask how to transition scenes. Ask about the character arch. Gather up some Beta Readers and find out if they think your heroes are heroic enough. Are your villain's too scary? Is your work YA or New Adult? Should it be longer, shorter, does chapter five need a punchier twist?
When you ask for help, it makes you a better writer.
And remember... YOU are already a writer.