Just starting on your journey to be a writer can be a pretty intimidating thing. After all, it's not easy imagining whole new worlds, people, and settings to have these stories play out in. It takes someone who is really dedicated to their reveries to become a professional writer. Now, I don't want anyone to think that you have to be a professional to be a writer. Writing is more a way of looking at the world.
Taking every experience and weaving that into the fiber of who you are. Understanding as many angles to a situation, person, or event can be the difference between a writer that is going to engage their audience, and a writer who's going to have a hard time gaining an audience. Today I'd like to run down a few things I've learned in my journey of learning what it means to be a writer.
5: Finishing a story takes time and commitment
Yeah, this one seems pretty obvious on paper, but you won't realize exactly what this means until you publish something. It doesn't have to be a big publishing deal, mind you. It could be something as small as a self-published piece. My first story is a novella published on Amazon independently. 15,000 words doesn't seem like a terribly daunting number. Until you realize that it went through 3 re-writes, and took a lot of heavy editing also in terms of formatting for the Kindle service.
It took a solid 3 hours of editing spacing alone to make sure that it flowed well on the kindle. Ensuring every page was in it's place so there weren't any skips or big breaks in sentences plays a bigger role in the reader's captivity in the story than one might think. More than once I've had to put a book down because a spacing error yanked me out of the story.
Getting the whole story out on paper, especially as a discovery writer like myself, can feel incredibly grueling. Sometimes life throws a lot at you and it seems like there isn't time for writing. I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Stick to that commitment! It may not seem like much progress is being made, but any progress is better than none.
"Never discourage someone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
4: Don't let lack of an audience stop you
I know everyone struggles with this. If no one is reading, why write? If it really wasn't worth it, no stories would ever exist. No one would have put forth the effort to make some of your favorite things happen. This is absolutely no reason to not write! There will be days where that story will creep into your mind. It injects itself into your day dreams. When this happens, run with the day dream.
Enjoy the story for yourself, if nothing else. Pretend your own imagination is putting on a show just for you. Appreciate it for what it is. If you start to really enjoy the show, you'll soon want to get it down on paper. How could something you enjoy that much not appeal to someone somewhere? Trust me, there are plenty of other people out there on the same wave-length that would enjoy that story being told just as much as you do!
3: You will need to sell yourself at some point
Now, don't take this the wrong way. I don't mean sell your soul and give up what you stand for. No, I mean you actually will need to sell yourself as the writer just as much as you're selling the story. People are far more likely to give an opportunity for a story from someone they know and like, than they are from someone they don't click with.
You don't have to be a social butterfly and spend all of your time hanging out with people. You will have to become more social and open with people however. Unless you think your writing is so good you can get a publisher that can network for you. You're more than likely wrong however. Which brings me to my next point:
2: You will only improve from criticism
Learn to take criticism well. Purely from the standpoint of if you want your writing to get better, don't pretend it's the best. Your writing can be good, phenomenal even, and still need work in some areas. There is always room for improvement! Don't be afraid of people criticizing your work. It will always help you improve. Even if you just learn that your writing style isn't for everyone.
That teaches you that your current style appeals to a limited audience. Any writer should want everyone to be able to enjoy their story. Putting aside the idea of bigger profits, we just should strive to have these stories told to as many people as possible. The soul and love we put into our craft should be what drives us to really reach out to people who may be able to learn something from those stories.
1: Always seek knowledge in life
Writers are smart people. We have an uncanny ability to think outside of our own box more often than not. So take that skill and put it to good use. Learn everything you possibly can from your real life experiences. Learn psychology, and understand how people think. Learn science, and understand how the world works. The more we understand about the world around us, the better we can bend the rules to our will.
Multi-verse theory states that there are a potentially infinite number of other universes right alongside ours in the Cosmos. If that were true, then it's possible there is a universe out there with the exact same stories happening in your head, but in reality. The stories in your head could very well be real things happening to those characters. Invoke that idea, and build your worlds knowing they are all at your whim.
You'll be able to play more with ideas, when you have more ideas to play with. It's really that simple. Epistemophilia is defined as the love of knowledge; specifically: excessive striving for or preoccupation with knowledge. That is a concept I think a lot of writers can get behind.
Writing is a wonderful thing. It brings not only entertainment, but knowledge, to our readers. We direct them towards lessons they may not have been able to learn in their own life. Things that aren't obvious to some, are obvious to others. It's all about the spread of ideas. Take that knowledge and move forward with your writing career, no matter what that may be. If you're someone who just likes to write on the side, or someone who wants to sell millions of novels.
You'll get there if you really want to. Just remember to always keep improving!