How to Get Started as a Writer
Start writing right? I know that is pretty lame. My good friend and editor recently asked me this question because she has thought of writing a book. How do you just start? Where does that first sentence come from?
There are a billion answers to this question because there is an opinion from every writer, English teacher, lit professor, or tech writer
turned fiction, or anyone involved in some way with the craft of penning your thoughts to paper (or keying them on Word). Here are some tips for getting you in the mood:
1. Set the space – Create a writer’s haven for yourself. Scents, candles, music; romance yourself into writing.
2. Organize yourself – Determine how many hours/day or week you will write and how much you will accomplish in this time frame. Good for tech writers turned fiction or A type personalities. It also helps if you need timelines.
3. What genre are you? Do you know what turns you on when you read or watch movies? What are you passionate about? If you typically watch/read romance that is probably what you will be into. Or maybe you are the chic lit type. If you are a high energy person you might be into adventure. Perhaps you are inquisitive – mysteries? Like futuristic things – sci-fi/fantasy?
4. Take the path you have never ventured down – I believe it is important to immerse yourself in culture and stare. People watch sounds a little less intimidating. Ideas for characters are all around you. Museums, art houses, jazz clubs, blues bars, public transportation, strip clubs, seedy bars, NYC. Anywhere that is foreign to you will begin to open your eyes to the most unimaginable things. It is like putting hot sauce on your scrambled eggs.
5. Re-read opening pages of your favorite books – When you read enough of them again, you will begin to see how a manuscript is born. Don’t assume though that your first page will always be your first page though. You can start a novel and later realize that this should be chapter three or even the finale. That’s okay, it’s a work in progress until it is published.
6. Call yourself a writer – You have to affirm your intentions aloud. Until you feel you are a writer internally, you are not one externally. When you begin to own your title and believe in yourself as an artist you begin to open up to your story. Guess what? There are no rules about this. Right now you can say “I am a writer!” There are no art police who will say “Where is your work? Show me.” If your friends do tell them some great story about it and then you have already started your book.
7. Join a Critique Group – Nothing is more stimulating for the craft of writing then to join a group of wannabe’s who are already doing this. The two groups I have joined on both sides of the coast had really amazing people involved of all different backgrounds. I learned so much about storytelling from these groups. They also hold you accountable for your actions. When it is your turn, you have to show up with something. Don’t worry you will read some really amazing manuscripts as well as some that need a lot of work. Either way if you stick to it you will come out with a great story in the end. By the way, learn to take a hint. If the sentence needs a comma, that doesn’t mean a long explanation about your storyline. It means your sentence needs a comma.
8. Join a Writer’s Club – Its pretty hard to find an area that does not have one and if you live in Timbuctoo, AR start your own. I guarantee you there is someone else in your neck of the woods who is raring to go.
9. Sit down and write – This eventually has to happen. Put paper and pen in front of you or sit in front of an empty page on Word. Stare at it for a while until you begin to hear words flowing through your head. Write whatever comes to your mind. Who cares what you just said, it needed to come out. You might get a practice session or you might begin your first novel. You can also practice writing a short story or a poem. Mental exercise or stimulation.
10. Take Writing Workshops – I can’t tell you how many workshops I have been to in my life on writing. Either they have been listening to agents, publishers, writers, police officers and even a coroner. On some level they were related to the art of writing or the topic of interest. When I started I was just beginning to own up to the fact that I was a writer. What happened is that I learned so much about writing that I didn’t realize went into the process. I met some amazing people and developed some great friendships.
These are just tips. We are all different. We have varied moods, personalities, likes/dislikes. The above list is some ideas to get you started. Use it as a nudge to think about and consider. Once you get started, you will create your own ideas on how to write. I tried the romance thing and when the music stopped playing I completely forgot about it. It was useless for me but it was fun to create the “mood.” I’ve thought I was sitting down to write a novel and ended up with a short story. I started writing my historical fiction and realized I didn’t have a clue. That meant I had to do a lot of research and then get back to writing. One book spoke to me all the way through, the other refused to help at all. At the end of the day, if you are further into your path as a writer, you have more integrity with your creative voice within.
When you go to your favorite local bookstore (yeah I know, if there happens to be one) you will find so many wonderful writers. The next book on the shelf could be yours!
- Writing Tips & Secrets (susancondon.wordpress.com)
- Writing Adventure (straightshit.wordpress.com)
- A Writer Blocked (viehebdomadaires.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Grammar Tip: starting a sentence with “and” or “but” (writingwithbothsidesofmybrain.wordpress.com)