How to become a writer is the question....
Firstly, you need to understand something here my dear one. YOU ARE A WRITER IF YOU WRITE! Sorry for the CAPS... Many people want to become writers and they wonder how to proceed with it.
In fact, it's extremely easy. Start writing! Find time every day or every other day for 5-30 minutes and jot down ideas, paragraphs, titles, whatever comes through your mind.
This is how you start being a writer.
STEP 1. WRITE DOWN IDEAS
Buy a journal or have a smartphone with you all the time, or a laptop, tablet, etc., and write on it. Practice your writing everywhere and every time you can do so. Searching on "how to become a writer" means that you already have something in mind. So, what are you waiting for? Write those ideas down. You have only a character in mind? The main character? The villain? Whatever? Write them down. Here I would recommend you to keep separate journals, if you know you have more than one story idea. But if you just have random ideas, keep one at the beginning.
STEP 2. START WRITING THE STORY
Go through your ideas, notes and see what you have after a while. If you consider you have enough information that would give you a good start, it's high time to start writing the book.
Some say to prepare an outline for your story with main points, what you have in each chapter etc., others to sit in front of your computer and write it on the flow. There are advantages and disadvantages for each of them. Nonetheless, I am not going to go into explanations on this aspect. I write with the flow. My type of writing is having my mind film of the story and writing on its flow. It's like the story dictates me what to write. However, I am not imposing on you my style. You see what works best for you: an outline of the story and then proceed on writing the story, or write on the flow? You may want to test them both in the case you are not sure about it. Some of my friends said that without an outline, they would miss on important plot keys, twists, mystery etc. Or, they might just stare in front of the computer's screen, not knowing what to write further. That's why, you need to see in which state you find yourself and choose what you feel is best for you.
Whatever the method you choose to start with your story, the important thing is to START it.
The essential thing as a writer is to start the story, be consistent on writing it. Have your first draft finished in a determined period of time. Some of us work best with imposed deadlines. If you know you are the type that gets motivated with having a deadline, then set one.
When I do find time for writing, I just sit in front of the computer and start writing. Last time I did that, I wrote about 3400 words in 2-3 hours. I had my "muse" guide me to the computer like a robot and started writing the mind film I was having at that moment.
WRITE, WRITE, WRITE! This is the conclusion of Step 2.
STEP 3. READ, LEARN AND EVOLVE
This step is kind of mixed with Step 2 as it is connected. Read books from the genre you are currently writing. Look for synonyms for the words you want to use. Oh! Use action verbs to show more than tell. Always try to develop your vocabulary, expressions, language specific to the story's time frame and so on. We are writers and our weapons are words. Words are used to attract and satisfy our customer. Our customer is none other than the reader. So, you have a target. That target is to impress and satisfy your reader. You want to show him a good story. Yes! Show him! Because you will SHOW him, through words, the mind film of the story. Anyhow, always strive to improve your writing and by each story, show evolution.
STEP 4. EDIT YOUR STORY
You should have your first draft ready by this step. If you have it, than congrats! You have reached a very important milestone! You have your first complete story written! You are awesome! Not many wanna be writers reach this level! You, my friend, are among those that become real writers!
Now, if you want, you can wait for a few days or a short period of time and go back through your story to edit it. Find mistakes and correct them, such as grammar, misspelling and so on. Maybe there are plot points where you want to rewrite. Maybe you are not as satisfied with a character's appearance, actions etc, as you thought and maybe you will consider adding things or taking out. Or, even rewriting it. However, if you want to make corrections to plot and characters, be sure it does not affect the overall story. It is great to add things or rewrite for a better read, but don't fall in the trap of creating loops. So, be careful on that aspect.
After you have finished the editing, you are the owner of a second draft. Another congrats for another milestone reached!
Next part of the editing is finding an editor or a Native English Speaker to edit your story and give you feedback on it. Here is a bit of a hard time for a writer. An editor is a very expensive deal for many writers. Moreover, there are the trust issues. Therefore, it may be a setback for you. But, only if you want to let it be. You can always find a good friend who has the education to correct your work and give you feedback on it. In friends we always have the necessary trust for such things. Still, you need to have a relatively long and solid friendship. Why? Because there are people who would take your work and publish it under a pen name or even their own. I am not saying that you have such friends, but taking cautious measures is appropriate as a writer. It's your intellectual property, your hard work, your ideas and you want to protect them at all times.
If you have the means to contract a professional editor, take your time in choosing one. He/she needs to have proper credentials and recommendations. I would advise you to consider taking one that is near your home area or city. You don't want to pay such services to an editor from another state and lose money and your work. In such situations, follow your instinct. If your instinct tells you not to choose a certain editor, just don't do it. Find another one. Don't rush into it. Take the time to feel positive of your decision and then act upon it.
STEP 5. ASK FOR FEEDBACK
At this step you already have your story/book ready for beta readers. What are beta readers? I remember when I heard for the first time about this. I was like: "Beta readers? Are they a wolf pack something?" 😂🤣😊 Well, beta readers are those people that are providing services of reading your stuff before launching your book. They give you feedback on your work. They tell you if they liked it, what's missing perhaps, what they didn't understand, any grammar and misspelling issues that escaped the editing etc. You can even make a list of questions for these beta readers to answer about things you want to know from a reader of your book. Why are beta readers important you may ask. They are going to give you feedback on your story/book. If your story is good or not. It's your first statistic of your work. How is this story going to be perceived by objective readers. Because family and friends are always supportive and subjective. They know how hard you worked and how enthusiastic you are and they might fall into too much support. Maybe your story is not feasible in terms of commercial request in the market. That's why it is important to find objective people to go through your story and provide you with honest and valuable feedback. You need to know how you are for real. How is your story for real.
Asking for feedback has it's advantages and disadvantages. The main advantages I have listed them above. For disadvantages, well, it's kind of harsh sometimes. Let me explain. Different readers give you different feedback. Some will like it, some will not, or at least not so much. Some of them may use harsh words when it comes to your work. The majority of these readers have expectations. When you don't reach those expectations, because of disappointment or boredom, they may give you a hard to digest feedback. You may feel like a failure of a writer, not good, bla bla bla. Don't do that! Take the feedback you receive as it is. Thank that person who took time reading your book. Go through the bad review/feedback and see what problems they pointed out. Maybe you missed something while writing the story. You can always add or improve it. Never take to heart a bad review, no matter how offensive it may be. We always have to respect the opinion of other people. You don't have to be liked by everyone. It's a difference in taste and expectations. If you have more positive reviews than negative ones, then you are on the right track. As I said, scan through negative reviews and find ways to improve your work.
Us writers are very sensible people. We may get offended fast if someone says something bad about our work. But, we need to understand that we can work on negative reviews. They are helpful for us in the way that will make as improve and evolve. For example, I never mind if someone says something about my work. I analyse what they say and find ways to correct my mistakes. Being a writer is an ongoing improving path. We will never be perfect, but we can always work to reach perfection. We have to always upgrade and find ways that will satisfy both us and our readers. And another thing, you first and foremost write for yourself, for your ideas, for your stories, and secondly you write for your fans. If you have haters, that's fine. You have to be thankful for having haters. It means you are doing something right, but they want perfection from you. They are the ones that make you strike for evolution. Fans help you to keep going, haters help you to improve. I always tell my friends whom I ask for a feedback to leave aside pampering and sugar coat. I ask them to be brutally honest with me. I will never mind. Why am I doing so? Because I don't want to dream of being a good writer, I want to become one. To work on my skills and become a good writer whom will be more appreciated by its fans.
Always be positive about yourself, about your work. Never give up on it! No work or job is easy. It will become easier in time with experience, practice and a huge set of failures. But, you know what? Failures pave the road to success! So, don't let negative thought processes put you down. Never!
Take each feedback as it is, and work on your skills. You will reach to where you want to be as a writer with the necessary patience and positive energy. When you feel the negative tension is too much to handle (there will be moments), just take a break. Taking a break doesn't mean you give up on it, it means you want to relax and detach for a while and then come back with fresh "juice".
STEP 6. TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING OR SELF PUBLISHING?
That's quite a question, right? It is.
Traditional publishing seemingly is a pain in the arse, pardon my language. Many writers become even depressed after so many rejections from traditional publishing houses. They say that is such a tense environment when applying their manuscript and waiting for an answer. The answer almost always comes with a rejection. Others said that some traditional publishing companies asked them for thousands of dollars upfront to publish their book. Crazy things! Well, I would personally go for self-publishing with platforms such as Amazon if I were to be asked for such huge amounts of money.
Self-publishing is the best choice nowadays, many say. I say too. You are a click away to become a published author. And it's free of charge. What can become expenses is the marketing strategy that you might choose. Still, there are so many ways to promote your book for free. I would never jump on paid promotion as I will never be sure how many sales that would generate and with what profit I would remain. So, you do it the way you feel, I am only suggesting here. There's no right or wrong way, it is a matter of luck and right moment. Just do your math before choosing and decide on the safest path for you. Remember, those are the money you worked hard for and you will not be sure what profit margins you will have, if none, when the promotion campaign is over.
Anyway, apply to traditional publishing and see what happens. But if you find yourself under many rejections, self-publishing is always a great option.
STEP 7. TIPS FOR WRITERS
- Always write and improve your craft.
- Never forget to write your thoughts or ideas for a story, even if it's a three words idea.
- Join Facebook groups designated for writers, especially for those that fall under your genre.
- Read as many books as you can in the genre you write and in the language you want to write your book.
- Negative reviews/feedback is useful. Haters are good, they help you to evolve.
- Thank people who give you feedback, help you with information, correct your mistakes etc. Their time is valuable too.
- Make use of all social media platforms. They are free to use and can become a great help for you in many ways. Consider having accounts on as many social media platforms as you can. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr are the most important ones that can help you create your author platform. It helps you be seen by people and interact with them. They can become your future paying readers. Always post excerpts of your work in progress story, post something relevant as a writer, as a person. You want to be recognized. Make your brand online. Online presence is your most powerful tool as a writer.
- Consider creating a free WordPress website, or if you can afford, a paid website. Start with the cheapest option. You can always upgrade later. But starting free and test the waters is always great and the safest way. You choose.
- Engage with other writers, more experienced, make friends with them and help each other. Beautiful friendships came for me with people I met on writer Facebook groups. They are some of my best friends now. It's like I have known them forever. And we help each other with what we can when we have time.
- Be strong and have patience. Nothing is accomplished in life easy and fast. Amazing things to happen take time and hard work. Nonetheless, it will be rewarding.
- Learn how to make your own covers.
- Use free stock images that give you commercial rights to use them.
- Scan the internet for articles on how to improve your craft. Many websites offer free advice with examples. You don't have to pay for valuable information. If you hear of a good course that helped many others and can afford enrolling in it, do so. However, at first you have a huge online library with information that can get you started.
- When you don't have time to write, only 100 words for that day is doable. At least 100 words a day should be present in your daily routine. It adds up after a few days and you won't feel like you haven't written anything.
- Always carry with you a notebook, pen, pencil or smartphone and jot down what comes in mind to not forget later on. There are so many apps for your smartphone that you can install and help you with that for free.
- Constantly work to achieve your dream of becoming a writer and a published one.
OK, my dear ones. Hope this article is helpful for you! I am sharing with you experiences I had and information I got from other writers. Don't forget to subscribe to my website, follow me on social media! Leave a comment here with your experiences as a writer, fears, questions etc. I will answer ASAP! Also, tell me what other articles you would find useful to read on my website. Thank you!
Your true friend as always,