When it comes to being a famous writer I love the whole Harper Lee/talent show scenario as much as the next person. Unfortunately I always find that everything comes back to the same practicality- you have to bide your time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, you should dream, try for the one shot. I heartily encourage that! Just don’t make that your only focus. The only way to get there for sure is to work from the bottom.
Even then there’s no guarantee you’ll be the next Rowling, but you will earn your place. If that’s not enough, then chances are you’re more in love with fame than writing. There are a thousand better ways to become famous.
So if you’re really interested in pursuing your writing dream, here are some tips that bear re-iteration.
- Learn self-discipline: Writers (and artists) are renown for being walking black holes of entropy, and maybe that’s just a part of what makes us writers. Whatever the case, if you want to become a real writer, you’re most likely going to need to give yourself a good kick in the ass (metaphorically). These things don’t just happen, they take a lot of planning and hard work. If this idea scares you, let me give you some encouragement. Anyone can learn self-discipline. The first step is always to believe you can. Then start small. Define your goals, figure out what’s standing in the way. For example things like Twitter and Facebook are common time wasters, even though they’re valuable platforms. Put your writing first. It’s ok to leave time for Twitter and Facebook if those are part of your platform, but remember- If you don’t write something you can sell, then what’s the point of having a platform? This leads me to my second point:
- Start your platform now: There’s only one way to earn your readers trust, and that’s to be around. The more you see a person, the more you tend to like/trust them. Use this to your advantage. This doesn’t mean you have to spend endless hours on your platform. You may have to spend a significant amount of time setting up, but after that it’s ok to show up when you can (esp. on websites like Twitter and Facebook). If you have a blog try to be consistent, readers dig that. Set your goals here fairly low though, so they don’t sap your writing time too much. You’ll notice I personally always post a poem every week. This is something I know I can be consistent with, and when I have time and inspiration I do more!
- Make your writing on par: You should always be looking for ways to improve your writing. Find a good writing group, devote some time there. Find betas, write short stories, read how to articles, put short stories out and look for feedback. It doesn’t matter if you plan on traditional or self-publishing, if you don’t improve your writing and become better than you were yesterday you probably won’t get very far.
- Plan on writing more than one book: What??? I have to write more than one book!! Is your soul curling up in despair right now? I hope not, because as a writer you’re going to have to write. : D This is one of the reasons it’s good to finish shorter works first. Not only do they plump your sales ‘library’, but they also give you practical experience and allow you to call yourself a ‘published author’, which sets you apart from the thousands of writers that are still working on it.
- Learn what goes into making a book: Learning everything you can is always in your best interest. You may plan on becoming traditionally published, but that doesn’t mean it won’t do you good service to learn how to put a book together. This all looks good on your record. The best way to learn is to do. Of course I’ll mark this as optional, but the most successful people don’t wait around for things to happen, they go and do them. They hit the ground running.
I hope these tips have been helpful and inspiring! If you have tips of your own please feel free to share below in the comments.