I’ve been working as a writer for some time now. You could say I’ve been in the profession since I was a teenager, but I didn’t seriously start getting into it until my senior year of high school where I pushed for publication of a few short articles in a local newspaper.
I learned a lot from writing. Not only did my grammar and punctuation improve dramatically over time but also my confidence and character.
There are a few things I learned are the most important; things that are helpful to those wanting to be a writer, blogger, journalist, and other areas in the field.
1. Take the little stuff. I stress this most importantly because it’s so true. It seems tedious and boring to write small articles,, but it gets you a jump-start when trying to publish. An unpublished author will have much more difficulty than a previously published one. So take those odd assignments, do the short story competitions, and sign up to write for local businesses. Not only will you thank yourself later, but others will appreciate your effort.
2. Outline. I learned this fast. If you go into a blank page in hopes that the creativity will guide you to a masterpiece, be prepared to rearrange, cut, and completely delete sections later. Though streaming consciousness is a good method to break the ice on a new project, it isn’t recommended for the entire duration of your work. So I strongly recommend creating a vague outline to start and adding in the finer detail later. It’ll be much easier to maintain your goal.
3. Write about what you know. The last thing you want to do is spend three days trying to familiarize yourself with a topic that you know nothing about. It’s best to have a general knowledge on a lot of topics but don’t just go full into writing a novel about “Why horticulture is killing us” when you don’t know the difference between a Orchidaceae and a Dionaea muscipula.
4. Know the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and what you need to know about both. It’s a mess out there in the publishing world. You have blogging sites everywhere, freelance opportunities, literary agents, amazon, brick-and-motor locations, publishing companies, self-publishers that charge you, self-publishers that don’t charge you. If you go in blind, you’ll have to fight your way out to find whats best for you. Novelists are probably going to want traditional publishing but be warned, its a long process and denial letters are a huge part of it.
5. Lastly, don’t stress. Stress won’t help anything and it shows in your work. Keep that in mind. Your emotions will tie into your writing, whether it’s books or short stories. If your angry, your characters might look angry too. If your sad, same deal. Treat it like a business and leave the baggage at the door. If you need to take a break for a while to deal with some personal issues, by all means do so. No one is going to give you a look of dissatisfaction for it.