The importance of writing is a topic that comes up time and time again in discussions about career options and progression. It would be easy to brush off the question as overly simplistic; after all, isn’t the point of college to learn how to write well? Fortunately, the issue doesn’t get simpler than it seems. Here are four important things you need to know about writing before you jump into the thick of it.
1. Read A LOT
Whether you’re immersed in fantasy or science fiction (or even the occasional romance novel), the important thing is that you’re devouring books. This is particularly significant if you want to become a bestselling author, as demonstrated by the authors featured on this blog. In addition to reading, make sure you’ve got some unpublished material to polish off. Sending out query letters to potential editors is a good idea, but you need to follow up with a finished manuscript if you want to see those letters paid off. For an aspiring author, the journey so far has been built on a strong foundation of hard work, determination, and, above all, reading. Even if you decide not to pursue writing as a career, nothing stops you from doing so as a creative outlet. However, you’ll have to accept that income probably won’t be what you’re used to, especially if you want to live comfortably.
2. Don’t Listen To Naysayers
Another important point that comes up time and time again in discussions about writing is: you shouldn’t listen to the naysayers. The stigma surrounding writers, as mentioned above, makes some people reluctant to give up their opinions on the matter. In reality, these people are often your biggest critics, as you’ll soon find out if you try and get any input from someone who hasn’t yet published. While it’s normal to have a few negative thoughts about something you’re not familiar with, those who are actively trying to prevent you from writing will often regurgitate those negative opinions (often with a dose of jealousy thrown in for good measure). Ultimately, you’re responsible for your own writing career, and you need to determine for yourself whether or not it’s a viable option. Sometimes, a splash of skepticism is exactly what you need to propel you forward.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice
To truly become a good writer, you need to put in the practice. This means practicing your writing skills on a daily basis. It’s easy for someone who is immersed in the creative process to become complacent, believing that their writing is already good enough to publish. Writing is a craft that can be honed and perfected over time, just like any other skill. In addition to putting in the practice, you also need to make sure that you’re improving your skill set on a regular basis. This often means going back and re-reading what you’ve written previously and tweaking it based on your feedback (hopefully, from some truly excellent editors!). In addition, you might consider taking a class on writing or publishing, or even just joining a writers’ group or online community.
4. Look For Opportunities
The final point worth mentioning is that you should be looking for opportunities to write. Sometimes, authors find fame and fortune quickly, particularly if they’re able to land a bestselling novel quickly. However, the more traditional route usually leads to being published and earning a decent living from writing. Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine what route you want to take, and you need to be sure that you’re making the right decision for you. Being a traditionally published author can still mean that you have to work hard to get your books noticed, as popularity can quickly fade after a while. If this is something that concerns you, then perhaps writing isn’t for you. However, if you enjoy the process of creation and are driven by a desire to share your work with others, then continue searching for ways to bring your talent to the surface.
As you can see, writing is a fairly complex topic. Not only does it require a certain mindset and a certain set of skills, but it also requires you to be willing to put in the work. In some cases, this might mean years of dedicated practice, as exemplified by Stephen King. However, even King, one of the most successful writers of all time, admitted that it wasn’t easy to get where he is today, and it certainly wasn’t easy for him to get started. Ultimately, you need to be sure that you’re making the right decision for you, and it might not be easy to see clearly at first. Hopefully, these four points have helped shine some light on the subject, making it easier for you to see where you need to go in order to write the best novel you can and, ultimately, make your name as a writer famous worldwide!