How to become a writer… it’s actually not as difficult as you may think! Granted, not everyone can write, but if you can, and you want to, I can help! I’ve been a professional writer for many more years than I care to admit, and I have lots of helpful tips to share. Here are 10 tips on how to become a writer.
To be a better writer, you first have to read, and read a LOT! Read everything you can get your hands on so you can figure out what you like, what you don’t like, and if you like, take notes. Don’t like a literary device? Love another? Enjoy a particular writer’s style? Then read everything else they’ve ever written.
2. Read “the Elements of Style”
Add this to the very top of your reading list. It’s called “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White (E.B. White, the same guy who wrote “Charlotte’s Web). You can find a used copy for a few cents, and it will be worth every single penny. It’s marvelous, a perfect primer for anyone who wants to write anything, from a one-paragraph biopic to an epic novel.
3. Read “on Writing”
Next on your reading list should be Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Whether you’re a fan of his novels or not, his book is insightful and compelling and rich with details on how to write, when to write, and what to write.
Now that you’ve read, it’s time to write! Grab a notebook, or a laptop, or a rickety old typewriter. Write! Even if it’s only ten minutes a day, write. Write in small bursts when your Muse whispers and beckons. Write even when you don’t feel like it. Keep a notebook in the bathroom and by your bed, so you can write down those brilliant ideas that come to you while you’re shampooing your hair or dozing off.
5. But Don’t Edit
I did just tell you to write, but I have to be clear on this counter-point: do NOT edit while you write! Save that for later. For now, just write your little heart out!
6. Be Aware of Plagiarism
Remember when I told you to make note to literary devices you enjoyed in other people’s writing? That’s quite different than using someone else’s work or inspiration and calling it your own. That’s plagiarism, and it’s naughty. Don’t do it.
7. Have a Mentor
I have a writing mentor named Richard who, without fail, will always point me in the right direction when I get a little lost. If you can, find a mentor to help you along. And once you’re a successful, established writer in your own right, you can mentor someone else. Pay it forward!
8. Be Open to Criticism
Sure what you write sounds good to you but other people may not always have positive things to say about it. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback and be open to constructive criticism. It will really help improve your writing and give you a better idea about what people want.
9. Write about What You Know
This bit of advice is about your style of writing. It’s important! Don’t write about what you don’t know. Otherwise, not only will the details be wrong, the writing will also be awkward. If you write about what you know, the writing will be plainer, clearer, and it will flow better.
10. Look into Self-publishing
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, if you’re worried about shopping it out to publishers, you can relax a little. It’s now easier, and more profitable than ever, to self-publish. I highly recommend Amazon’s self-publishing tool set called CreateSpace. Look into it! You’ll be just as impressed as I am.
Now that you’ve read my ideas, grab a pen and notebook (or your laptop) and get to writing! Remember, the key is to actually WRITE… so get to it! Which of these tips do you think you’ll find most helpful, and why? Or, if you’re a fellow writer, what advice can you share?
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