Fiction writing is a craft that can only be perfected with time, dedication, and most of all, great stories! It can be a wonderful addition to your CV, as well as a great way to explore new ideas and to have some fun with your work. If you’re looking for ways to occupy your free time while still wanting to be creative, then why not try your hand at fiction writing? It’s something different, and it can open up new worlds for you! Let’s look at 7 steps to help you get started on your journey to become a successful writer!
1. Create a space
Whether you plan to write in a café, on a train, or in the local library, you need to have somewhere quiet and dedicated to your work. You don’t want to be distracted by the chitchat around you, or have your creative flow interrupted by the sound of devices ringing or people talking. It’s important to have somewhere quiet and relaxing where you can put your thoughts and turn over those beautiful stories in your head. You can buy a notebook and some pens, and create a small office/writing room in your home. This is a great way to get started, as it will only take you a small amount of space, and it gives you the freedom to write whenever you want.
2. Join a writing group
There are lots of online communities that can help you get started, such as the British Library’s Writers’ Circle. This is a great place to network with other writers, and get some helpful feedback and tips on your work. It’s also a great way to get motivated, as you’ll be joining a community of people who are all trying to make their debut, and you’ll be able to give each other advice and support. You can also get involved in local authors’ evenings and events, where you can read your work aloud and get some constructive criticism.
3. Read widely
The old adage “readers become writers” can really ring true when you’re starting out. You don’t need to be a literary genius to write fiction; all you need is inspiration. Reading widely is one of the best tips any author can get, since it will open up a whole new world of ideas and possibilities for you. If you’re a fan of thrillers, then you could try some of Stephen King’s books. His work can get incredibly cinematic, and it’s a great way to get inspired. You could also pick up a copy of William Golding’s “The Lord of the Flies”, or John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”—each of these authors will give you ideas for your own stories. You could look for books on social issues, or books about creative writing itself—something that will encourage and challenge you.
4. Start a blog
Blogs are a fantastic way to get your work out there and to develop a following. It’s a fantastic way to get exposure, as well as establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Established blogs in creative writing will often have guest posts from established authors, which can help get your work out there and establish yourself as an author to be reckoned with! You can also use your blog to promote your upcoming novels, and in return, you’ll get free promotion, as well as the satisfaction of reaching new readers.
5. Use Scrivener
Scrivener is a tool used by writers to brainstorm and organize their ideas, as well as put their thoughts into written form. It’s a fantastic piece of software, which can be used efficiently, and it can also be shared with other writers and editors, if you’re working on a team. If you’re looking for an easy way to put your thoughts into writing, with a professional appearance, then Scrivener is the tool for you. All you need to do is “type” your story (this will create a first version, which you can later expand upon), and then “share” your work with others (this will make your work accessible to others).
6. Join SCBWI
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a professional organization for both writers and illustrators, who work with children’s content. They publish a quarterly magazine, as well as organize author visits, festivals, and workshops, where they can teach you all there is to know about writing for children. If you’re looking to get your work read by an audience of toddlers, then this is the place to do it. Their members often get the chance to read to children, which can help get your work into the hands of younger audiences, as well as establish you as an author worth listening to.
7. Keep trying
Finally, you need to remember that you’re only going to get better with time. As authors, our job is never done—we will always have more books to write, and more stories to tell. Don’t be discouraged by the initial setbacks or the occasional bad review. Instead, look at these as learning experiences, and as an opportunity to try something new. Keep writing, keep reading, and most importantly, keep getting feedback, both good and bad, as these will all help you improve your craft. You’ll never become a great writer if you don’t share your work with at least one other person, so be sure to share your stories with a trusted friend, or with someone you think is objective enough to give you helpful criticism but still has the same creative spirit as yourself.