So you want to become a writer.
Perhaps you write because it makes you feel alive. Perhaps you once read a book that made you think, “It must feel amazing to write something like this. Maybe I could be a writer.” Perhaps you feel like you can't not write.
So then, how do you do it? How do you become a writer?
You Never Stop Becoming a Writer
Several years ago I became a writer. I'm not talking about the moment when I quit my job to write full-time. That happened much later. No, I became a writer when I started writing.
I still remember making the decision to write and publish one article per day on my blog. It wasn't much, but this small habit was the beginning of my life as a writer.
Since then, I've written four books and more than a thousand articles. I've been published in national magazines and became a bestselling author. But that one decision changed my life.
No one is born a writer. You must become a writer. In fact, you never cease becoming, because you never stop learning how to write. Even now, I am becoming a writer. And so are you.
Why do you want to become a writer? Share in the comments section.
3 Steps to Becoming a Writer
Below are the three best pieces of wisdom I've learned about how to become a writer. To read more about becoming a writer, get full guide below.
Really? Step number one is to publish? Isn't that backward?
It’s strange to begin a list of writing tips with a tip to publish. In fact, as I read books and articles about how to become a writer, most of them don’t even mention publishing. They usually say, “Just Write!”
However, writers write things other people read, and so the act of publishing is essential to being a writer.
If you want to become a writer, you need to get used to writing for others. You need to practice taking feedback and dealing with rejection. You also need to start earning some fans.
You do this by publishing, publishing small and regularly. What is stopping you from printing out one of your writing pieces and giving it to a friend? Or publishing it online as a blog post or even a Facebook note?
Think of it as practice for when you publish with that big New York publisher. (It could be a while, so you may have a lot of time to practice!)
2. Set deadlines, or better, get someone else to set them for you (and then keep them)
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
—Douglas Adams, author
Deadlines are meant to induce stress. I know none of us really wants more stress in our lives (do you?), but most writers I know struggle with two things: discipline and focus. A good deadline helps with both.
A little bit of stress focuses you. A good deadline can keep your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keys much better than “inspiration,” that fickle muse, ever could.
How, then, do you set good deadlines so they don’t whoosh by as they did for Mr. Adams?
The best deadlines are set by others, by editors or freelance writing clients or even your fans.
The most effective deadline I ever set was to write one article on my blog every day. I did this while maintaining a full-time job. What made this deadline especially effective was the people holding me accountable were my readers, a small group at the beginning but eventually a large, clamoring audience.
When you know people are waiting for your writing, you become a much more disciplined writer.
HINT: People are waiting for your writing. When are you going to give it to them?
3. Become acquainted with boredom, comfortable with writing-induced misery.
At some point, I've wanted to quit every major writing project I've ever worked on, and most writers I know have similar experiences.
When I was finishing my first book, I became so frustrated and hopeless with my writing that I knelt on the floor, put my face in my hands, and cried (a very macho, manly cry, of course).
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” I thought. “I don’t want to write this book. I don’t want to be a writer at all anymore. I never want to feel this stupid again.”
But after a little while, I got up, and I wrote a few more words. The next day, I wrote a few more. A month later, the book was finished and sent off to the editor.
That moment on the floor was the turning point, the beginning of the end of writing my first book, and now I remember that moment every time writing is at its most frustrating and hopeless, and I know I’m nearly finished.
Write through the mess. Write through poor grammar and awkward tense changes and switches in POV. Keep writing even when you know as you’ve known nothing else before that what you’re writing is worthless. When you’re in the middle, good and bad are meaningless. Just keep writing.
Are You Ready to Become a Writer?
Some people will tell you it's easy to become a writer. They'll say, “Just write!”
But if you're like me, “just writing” isn't enough for you. You want to write something important, something that touches people at their very core, something that changes the world.
That's not too much to ask, right?
Writing like this is hard. But of course, if it's so important, it should be hard.
Let's do it together.
Download the full eBook, 10 Steps to Becoming a Writer.