I have always had a passion for writing. As a child I loved telling stories to my friends and writing scripts for plays that my friends would act out at recess. It was not until my early thirties that I felt that my dreams could become a reality. I didn’t know any professional writers and none of my friends or family shared my passion. Without any role models, I felt that becoming a writer was just a dream and would never become a reality. I didn’t know what to do other than scribble away in my notebooks and share my writing very few people. My lack of knowledge about the publishing world and becoming a published writer did not stop me from writing, but I longed to see my words in the hands of other people. I wanted to share with the world what makes me so happy.
In 2008, I answered an ad by a local publication for freelance writers. That became my first published article. It didn’t pay very much, but it was a start. This gave me so much confidence. It is surprising how something that seemed so small had a tremendous effect on my writing career. The few articles I wrote for this local publication did not catapult me to international stardom, but it proved to me that someone actually wants to read what I have to say. What had been holding me back was my lack of confidence. I had to put my writing in the hands of other people.
After writing those articles, I had a renewed outlook on my writing. I began writing consistently every day. I joined a writers’ group with other published authors. This writers’ group exposed me to a lot of things that I needed to know about the publishing industry. I was the only person in the group that had not written a book. The group was very helpful as they had been through the process and gave me very good advice.
Here are some things that I hope will helpful to those who are seeking a writing career:
- Write. To be a writer all you have to do is write. I called myself a writer long before I published anything. Get to know the feeling of it and own it. Write consistently. Get something on paper everyday. Practice writing short stories. Use the endless supply of writing prompts if you are feeling stuck.
- Share your work. This was the most helpful thing to me. We all need criticism and guidance. It would be useful to start or join a writers’ group or take a workshop or class.
- Connect with other writers. This is very important. Not being exposed to other writers was the one thing that had falsely convinced me that I could not be a writer. We exist. We may not all be international bestsellers (yet), but meeting other writers will inspire you to be diligent.
- Subscribe to some writing magazines or journals. Two of my favorites are Poets and Writers and Writer’s Digest. They both have great articles and resources. You can find information on MFA programs, contests, and tons of other useful information.
I would encourage all new writers or those who are seeking a career in writing to find out all you can about writing and the publishing industry. In addition to the tips, it would be in any writer’s best interest to read voraciously. In reading you can learn much about writing and it will also inspire you to craft your own ideas.