I Want to Be a Writer!

posting boxI belong to several writing groups on Facebook, Google+, and Goodreads. The groups have a mixture of beginners and experienced writers with many questions and conversations regarding new writers’ concerns. I thought I’d tackle some of the postings that I’ve come across, and see if I can clarify a few things for the newbies who want to become writers. This is only my advice… which is Gold. 😀  Before I start discussing these concerns, I’d like to mention a few things.

First, don’t have too many expectations. Writing is a lonely journey. Most people in your lives won’t take much interest in your writing or publications. I’m not saying this happens to every writer, but most writers find out the hard way that their family and friends aren’t as enthused as they had hoped. But don’t get discouraged. There are plenty of writers feeling the same defeat as you, so reach out and connect with them. That’s the beauty of the internet.

Second, write for the right reason. It’s wonderful to have big dreams, but if you’re planning to become a one-hit wonder—a bestselling author making loads of money on your first book then I suggest you rethink this through. There are some inspiring success stories of writers making it big traditionally and through self-publication, but it’s rare. If you want to write, write for your love of the craft, not for fame and fortune. You’ll only find yourself muttering obscenities to an empty bottle of your choosing.

Third, don’t be selfish. New writers and even some experienced ones have a tendency to reach out and ask for feedback, sharing of social media, and reviews. It’s all good just don’t forget to reciprocate. There’s nothing worse than asking for things, yet not being willing to do it for others.

I Want to be a Writer

“I want to be a writer but how do I get ideas for stories.”

The first thing that comes to my mind is, “If you want to be a writer, I would assume you already HAVE ideas.” How can you WANT to be something when you lack influences? When someone wants to be a doctor, painter, lawyer, it’s usually because they experienced some form of it whether it be curriculum and/or a long time passion. If this love of writing comes from reading, then more power to you.

follow your heart

So if you really want to be a writer, but have no ideas, get out there and live. Get away from all electronic devices. Venture out with a pad of paper and pen to people watch. Read the writings on public washroom stalls. Listen in on people’s conversations. Jot down things you see, hear, smell, and touch. Words, small phrases, or sentences you write might turn into something bigger. There are also sites that provide daily prompts, such as Creativity Portal. Write a paragraph or more from one of the prompts. It might conjure up an idea for a novella or novel.

I Got an Idea

“Hey, I have an idea for a book. Let me know what you think.”

Why? What does it matter if strangers like or dislike your idea. If you think it’s a great idea for a story, don’t share it with others because someone might beat you to it. Keep it to yourself or share with a close confidante. Bounce ideas off someone you know and trust.

F*** the Rules

“Why does writing have so many rules? Can’t I just write without having to worry about word count, adverbs, show vs. tell?”

I don’t consider people who don’t want to educate themselves, writers. These are lazy people. People who came up with a story idea, wrote a draft, ignored editing, and published it. That’s not what writing is about. Technology has offered a way for anyone to publish, and that’s great. The only problem is when you’re expecting someone to pay for your works, you should at least have the decency to put forth effort.

The rules of writing are guides. New writers should learn them. Read books to see what does and doesn’t work. Writing is a craft, which deserves studying. Once you understand the rules, then you can break them—create your own style.

Offensive

“I have a story idea, but I think it might offend some people. Should I go ahead and write the story anyways?”

Whatever you write will offend someone, so go ahead and write. Don’t worry about offending people. Of course, if your story is taboo in subject matter, it’s a given many people won’t care for it. Aside from that, get your butt in a chair and write.

Writing Full-Time

“Can I make money writing full-time?”

I’ve seen this question asked by so many people who haven’t written a word. Or they wrote a few things and decided they want to write full-time. They’re getting a little ahead of themselves. It’s very difficult to make a living from writing. If you’re willing to work hard, start writing, A LOT, and submit your works to magazines, journals, etc. You’ll never know until you try.

What do you think? Anyone want to add?

New Writers and Concerns,
Baer Necessities

P.S. If you get a chance, enter my Goodreads Giveaway. The link is on the right sidebar. Best of luck to you!

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10 thoughts on “I Want to Be a Writer!

  1. This is a great practical post that tells it like it is 🙂 I’m all about that going and living part in order to get ideas. John Updike said that most authors draw on material for inspiration of what happened in their lives before they were twenty years old. That probably is true for a lot of people, and I know those years stick with me. And yet, so much more inspiration is possible if a person just keeps on living, and living hard.

    1. Jeri, I’d have to disagree with John Updike regarding inspirational material before twenty years old. There’s a lot I did then, but there is a heck of a lot more that I’ve done afterwards that were inspirational seeds. The key is to get out there and enjoy life. Technology seems to siphon actual experiences.

  2. Awesome post! All of this IS gold, and 100% truth. “Once you understand the rules, then you can break them.” – Great quote. I don’t think people understand the difference between ‘I want to try this new style and mess with the rules because it sounds unique and fun’ and ‘I don’t care about the rules so I’ll write however I want’.

    Also, as we like to tell people about the whole money thing, we make about $1-2 per book. Very standard, unless you’re one of those jackasses who charges $14.99 for an ebook. We get taxed, too. Now imagine in one year you sell 10,000 books. That’s badass, right? Selling 10,000 books in a year is guaranteed to put you on some Amazon top seller lists. You’d probably even be called a successful writer at that point.

    But look at how much money you’ve made in one year. Roughly $10,000. Maybe less. Do you know anyone who can survive on $10k a year? I sure don’t.

    Just because you’re technically a successful writer, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be using that writing to pay your bills and live in the lap of luxury. I’d be willing to bet that less than 1% of writers ever reach a point that they can just write full time.

    1. ABFTS, Thanks much, and I appreciate you expanding on the issue of money. $10,000 sounds great in sales, but not to live off. That’s a very good point. Sometimes we don’t see the big picture, just the juice sales.

  3. Well said! Anyone can write, but not everyone can be a writer. There is far more to it than just putting words on paper; it takes commitment, persistence, and a thick skin. It is truly rewarding, but not necessarily financially.

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and wisdom. I enjoyed reading this piece and think it is GOLD especially for new and idealistic writers who are just stepping out the door. I might ask to share some of your posts with permission and credits. Thank you.

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