So you want to be an author? Congratulations! Joining the ranks of authorship is a wonderful way to share your stories, your voice, and your vision with the world. But it's not all fun and games - being an author is hard work. It takes dedication, discipline, and a whole lot of coffee.
Luckily, I'm here to help. As a professional author myself, I've learned a thing or two about what it takes to make it in this business. So if you're ready to join the ranks of J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, read on for my top 10 tips for aspiring authors.
1. Don't underestimate the power of a good thesaurus.
The English language is vast and varied, and sometimes you just can't find the right word for what you're trying to say. That's when a thesaurus comes in handy. But use it wisely, my friend, for the English language is also filled with words that mean the opposite of what you think they mean (I'm looking at you, "literally").
2. Read, read, read!
If you want to be a writer, the best thing you can do is read a lot. That way, you'll not only learn about the craft of writing, but you'll also get a feel for what kinds of stories are out there. And trust me, there are A LOT of them. But don't just read anything and everything - be selective. Read the classics, sure, but also seek out new voices and fresh perspectives. Not only will this make you a more well-rounded writer, but it will also help to keep your own writing fresh and interesting.
Reading also helps to improve your own writing skills. The more you read, the better you'll become at spotting errors and making corrections. Reading can also help to increase your vocabulary and broaden your horizon. So go forth and read, my friends.
Reading also helps when it comes to tip number 3...
3. ...knowing when to break the rules.
Writing can sometimes be one of those things that everyone loves to hate. It's like doing your taxes or going to the dentist: it's necessary, but it can also a huge pain. And just like taxes and dental appointments, there are rules when it comes to writing. Grammatical rules, sentence structure rules, plot rules...
But sometimes the best thing you can do is throw all those rules out the window and just go for it. After all, the best writers are often the ones who are willing to break the mold and try something new.
So if you're feeling stifled by all the rules, don't be afraid to experiment. Who knows? You might just end up with something great.
4. Find your voice and stick to it.
Did you know that voice is one of the primary tools you can use to hook your readers?
If you're not sure what your voice is, think about how you talk to your friends. Do you use a lot of slang? Are you always cracking jokes? Or are you more serious and introspective? Once you've found your voice, stick to it. Readers will be drawn to your characters if they feel like they know them, and they'll be turned off if they feel like they're being lectured or preached to.
Whether you're writing in first person or third, your voice is what will make your novel unique and memorable. If you're struggling to find your voice, don't worry - just keep writing and eventually it will come to you. Ask yourselves the questions I mentioned and it will help you to define your tone and style when it comes to writing. And once you've found your voice, stick to it! Your readers will thank you for it.
5. Write what you know...or at least what interests you.
As any writer knows, the blank page can be a daunting prospect. Where to start? What to say? It can be tempting to think that the best way to overcome this hurdle is to write about what you know. After all, it makes sense that the more familiar you are with a topic, the easier it will be to find something to say.
However, this approach doesn't always lead to the most compelling writing. In fact, some of the best writing comes from writers who are passionate about their subject matter, even if they don't have personal experience with it. So, if you're struggling to find something to write about, consider finding a topic that interests you, and see where it takes you. Who knows? You might just surprise yourself.
6. Write every day. Or at least as often as possible.
Some people think that writing is a solitary activity, but I believe that it is essential to try to write every day. After all, how can you be a writer if you don't write? Of course, there are days when the words just don't come, and that's okay. But on those days when the creativity is flowing, it's important to get as much writing done as possible.
It doesn't necessarily have to be great writing - just get the ideas down on paper (or screen). Then, once you have a first draft, you can go back and revise it until it's perfect. So don't wait for inspiration to strike - try to write every day, and you'll be amazed at what you can achieve.
7. Take breaks!
Writing can be draining, both mentally and emotionally. So when you start feeling burnt out, take a break! Go for a walk, watch some TV, take a nap—do whatever relaxes and refreshes you so that when you sit back down at that computer (or notebook), you'll be ready to tackle your work with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
8. Don't get too attached to your work...at least not at first.
As any writer knows, the process of writing can be a labor of love. We pour our heart and soul into our work, crafting each sentence with care and attention. But sometimes, our attachment to our work can get in the way of making it the best it can be. When we're too attached to our words, we're less likely to see their flaws and make the necessary changes. That's why it's important to take a step back from our work from time to time, so we can see it with fresh eyes and make the improvements that will make it truly shine.
Revising and polishing your work is critical to it's overall success, and over-attachment to your writings may limit the revisions you'll be able to make. So next time you're feeling attached to your work, remember: it's okay to let go, at least for a little while. Your writing will be all the better for it.
9. Be patient.
"The first draft of anything is sh*t," said Ernest Hemingway (another person you should definitely listen to). So don't expect perfection from yourself right off the bat—writing is a process, and it takes time to get it right. Allow yourself the space and grace to grow as a writer, and don't be too hard on yourself when things don't turn out the way you want them to.
10. Get feedback from people whose opinion you trust—and be prepared for constructive criticism.
No matter how good you think your writing is, it's always helpful to get feedback from people whose opinion you trust. This is especially true if you're hoping to publish your work. After all, even the best writers need editors!
But before you start asking for feedback, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, be prepared for constructive criticism. Don't take it personally if someone points out a flaw in your work—just use it as an opportunity to improve. Second, try to get feedback from a variety of people. This will help you get a well-rounded perspective on your writing. And finally, don't be afraid to make changes based on the feedback you receive. Sometimes the people who know us best can help us see our own work in a new light.
So there you have it: 10 tips about writing that you need to know in order to write like a pro(or at least sound like one). Will following these tips guarantee literary greatness? Of course not—only talent, hard work, and luck can do that. But they may just help you avoid making some novice mistakes along the way...and maybe someday someone will be offering tips about writing to us and attributing their success to your sage advice.*fingers crossed*