Growing up, my chosen career path was clear. I was told when very young that I could be whatever I dreamed of being and that meant that eventually I would be a published writer, someone who spent their days immersed in the depths of their own imagination, hell-bent on sharing those visions with the rest of the world. I was determined and persistent, and after over 20 years, I can finally say that I have, at long last, broken into the world of paid creativity. How, you may ask, did I do it?
Ignore the naysayers. There are negative people in the world. We all know that. Unfortunately, the creative people or dreamers, as some call us, receive the brunt of this. There are people out there that will tell you it can’t be done and that you’re wasting your time. They’ll say that you should find a real job and give up on this delusion. Ignore them. Yes, you may have to use a backup job to pay the bills until you get your writing to a profitable point, but it can be done!
Watch people around you. In no way am I saying steal someone’s work. I’m saying steal their personality traits. I was sitting in my dad’s semi at a truck stop one day listening to him ramble on about nothing and watching out the windshield when I discovered my favorite character. He was walking from a tow truck to the building wearing a greasy jumpsuit and minding his own business. To my creative imagination, though, he was harboring secrets untold and 20 minutes later I had a five-page character profile that was later woven into a murder mystery tale. People are everywhere. They are great and horrible and make AMAZING characters.
Discover your niche. I’m most efficient at writing young adult fiction, mainly geared toward middle and high school fiction, because that’s the part of my life that I most easily identify with. Finding the genre or style that you’re most comfortable with will increase your overall writing productivity. Never force your words; the reader will catch you every time.
Find your Zen. Are you a nature person? Do the best ideas come on bright, sunny days? Are you a shower-thinker? The stress level of my day-to-day life determines what that day’s Zen will be. More often than not, I find myself alone, tucked away down a wooded trail somewhere curled around a notebook. It’s all about finding where and when you’re most creative.
Write! The best way to break into the writing world really is that simple. Sit down and write. It’s not going to happen if you don’t do just that. As for myself, well, I’m about to make myself some hot tea, head out to the patio with my notebook and pen and escape into a world of my own creation, one of which you’ll, hopefully, soon be able to read all about.