These are tips I’ve shared with beginning writers at workshops I’ve conducted. There are other facets to establishing yourself as a writer, but these are good to start with.
1. Decide what you want to write
I loved reading fiction and thought that was what I sh write. But I don’t have any people talking in my head. That’s how I’ve heard fiction writers describe their lives – characters are up there just screaming to get their dialogue on a page!
I prefer writing non-fiction since while a few fiction writers are well-known and have thousands of fan, non-fiction sells better – always has and always will.
Look at magazine racks – nearly all filled with non-fiction articles—essays, how-to’s, research.
Decide what you like to read and study those publications to help develop your own style of writing.
2. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing.
Read writing books (your public library probably has many!), also The Writer and Writer’s Digest Magazines.
Take online writing courses. Sign up for writing ezines. Join writers groups. Ask about them at your public library, watch for signs posted on bulletin boards around town, check online for Meetups. I host two writing clubs which meet monthly.
Attend conferences—this can be an expense, but by putting yourself out there, you’ll meet people that will encourage you and help you discover the joys of writing, especially for publication.
3. Network with other writers. I touched on this in the previous point but I find this is the most helpful aspect of writing today. Writing can be a lonely occupation. By working with other writers you’ll be more inclined to stick with a tricky project.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you’ll feel more inclined to continue writing when you’re in touch with other writers.
4. Get your name out there!
Look for places that will publish your work. Newspapers will publish editorials and columns on Faith/Religion pages for viewpoints. This can be a good experience and exposure for friends and family to understand your determination and talent.
Women’s magazines are another source. My first sale was two paragraphs to a religious publication I read regularly about our daughter’s wonderful, effective Sunday School teacher. I’ve also sold recipe tips, kids’ sayings, travel tips, holiday tips. The pay would not finance my vacation, but it’s pretty fun to show my family my name in Ladies Home Journal!
5. Develop a thick skin.
You will get rejected- every writer does. It’s not personal. Don’t quit! Keep writing and seek encouragement from other writers. It’s a bold move to write for publication. I tend to dwell on negative comments (though rare) instead of dwelling on the compliments I receive. I’ve posted thank you notes from people I’ve written about around my writing area so I can focus on them when I’m stuck emotionally or mentally.
6. Write regularly.
Make writing a habit. Try to fit it into your daily schedule. The more you write, the more your subconscious will help you! If writing is important to you, you will find time to write! I like to write in the morning when I’m fresh so I’ll often write before going to my school job. I’m writing this now at 6:40a.m.
7. Call yourself a writer.
If you practice all of the above, you are a writer! Be proud!
Are you starting out on this marvelous road of writing? What is your goal as a writer?