Advice to ‘wanna-be’ authors

It took me a long time to realize that I was a writer, not a ‘wanna-be’ writer. I had been working in communications/public relations for over ten years and I said to a designer I’d been working with that I wanted to a writer some day.

She laughed at me. Then she pointed out all I’d written. Articles, newsletters, press materials, websites. She said “you are already a writer.” That was an eye opening moment. She was right. I was a writer. I wanted to be an AUTHOR.

That day started me on a journey, because part of my ‘fears’ evaporated that day. I was already a writer, how do I make the leap to becoming an author. Now with book number six about to be released today, I want to share some of what I’ve learned along the way… I have no doubt you have heard this before. But I had written a lot before understanding that I was a writer, so I think some things need great repetition before it sinks in.

  1. Watch people. Not your phone. Not your TV. It’s the people where you will learn about mannerisms, and habits and quirks that bring your characters to life.
  2. Write something. And you don’t have to necessarily start with fiction – not even a short story. Volunteer at a community non-profit or church and write their newsletter. This is where you practice your craft. Or as some may say – this is where you learn the rules before you break them.
  3. Read. A lot. Find out what authors you like. What about their story telling appeals to you? Are they very descriptive? Are they the rockstars of dialogue? Use their works – what you like, what you hate – as your mentors. And to find out what genre interests you.
  4. Sit down and write. Or stand up if you are one of those people who prefer a stand up desk. (I can’t stand and write – I can stand and dictate though). Put the words on the page and leave them there. Even if it’s rough. Especially if it’s rough. It’s your blueprint to getting better. You can’t edit something if there is nothing there.
  5. Finish it. Whether it’s a poem, or a short story or an epic novel. Get the first draft done. You are now an AUTHOR.
  6. Enjoy the moment. Go pour yourself a glass of wine, or take yourself out to dinner, because now is where the real work begins.

You may never publish your work. Or you may go on to be a bestseller. The point is once the draft is done, you’ve already made it further than most people. You may have always been a writer, or in your heart knew you could be. But now you’re there, and the next steps are up to you.

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