“I want to be a writer, but I don’t know how. ”
“I’ve wanted to write for the longest time, but I still don’t have the guts. ”
“I’ve some written work stashed somewhere. But I can’t show them to anyone. I’m afraid my work will be chopped into pieces. ”
I’ve heard these lines countless times from people who, upon knowing that I’m a writer, would always say that they too want to become one-except that they can’t do it. A gazillion reasons back up their reluctance: fear of rejection, lack of inspiration, lack of skills, not having the time to write, family problems, etc. But are these “debilitating” reasons stronger than your deepest desire?
If you really want to become a writer, there’s no one in this world who can stop you from trying. Take things one step at a time. Here’s how:
Most writers are voracious readers and have developed their own style out of reading books that interest them. Immerse yourself in your chosen genre. If you want to write romance, read books and articles related to it. Read the stories written by your favorite romance authors and study their characters, plots, etc. It’s okay to be imitative at first. Later on, you will be able to create your own recipe for writing.
Write. Write some more. Keep writing. Write down ideas. Write down snippets. Write as often as you can. If you have a demanding day job, set aside at least 15 minutes a day for writing. Allot some time for practice writing during your days-off. Always carry a small notebook and a pen wherever you go. If you have gadgets around, let them help you take notes. Some writers use their PDAs, pocket PCs and mobile phones to compose poetry or write down ideas. If you don’t have any of these tools with you, you can always borrow a pen and scribble at the back of a bus ticket. J. K. Rowling wrote down scenes from the first Harry Potter book on a table napkin. Do not let the opportunity to write fly away. Once you have it, grab it.
JOIN THE FLOCK
A writers group can provide you with encouragement and inspiration, which can help fuel your passion and desire for writing. By interacting with fellow writers, you will have a sense of belongingness and some confidence in knowing that you are not alone with your woes and blues. A writers group can also keep you abreast with what’s happening in the writing world. Who’s publishing what? Are there any calls for submissions? How do you promote your book? Members of your group may be able to answer these common questions.
SHARPEN THE SAW
Read books that give advice on writing. Learn self-editing and proofreading. Enroll in writing workshops. Writers continually learn new ways to improve their writing-and so should you. Acquire the skills and techniques you need to be a better writer. Remember, if the writing machine inside you is well-oiled and constantly upgraded, productivity and quality won’t be a problem.
SHARE YOUR WRITING
Aim for publication. Submit your work to editors and publishers. You’ll never know if your work is good enough to see print until you see it on print. If an editor rejects your query, send it to another editor.
One doesn’t become a good writer in a flick of a wand. All those writers you admire have gone through the process of honing their skills and learning from their mistakes. All of them were beginning writers once, just like you. And all of them made that first step toward the writing world. Some may have stumbled along the way, but I assure you, they all continued walking toward the fulfillment of their dreams.
Connie Luayon is a freelance writer and editor. She is the resident blogger of Today's Writer (http://todayswriter.blogspot.com ) and an independent contractor for b5media's Online Media Beat (http://www.onlinemediabeat.com ). You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org .