A long time ago, I started writing. But I had no idea I could write for a living.
I wasn’t the one who went to college with the thought of creating an epic novel. Nope, that wasn’t even on my radar.
Instead, I fell into writing quite by accident.
In truth, aren’t we all writers? My first career was in auditing. Writing up audit reports was a part of the job. I’d do my research, write up my findings, and present them to my boss. Who would then rip them all apart, and tell me how bad I was at writing,
But I learned.
I learned that we all write in our own unique way. It’s called voice. That’s what you love most about the writers you resonate with. You don’t even have to see the cover – a chapter or two will let you know who authored it.
I may have been frustrated with my first boss, but he did lead me down the path to developing my writing skills. He helped me hone in on how I like to write, the message I create, and how I put my words together.
This isn’t something that occurs overnight. You don’t develop this in school. Instead, you develop it slowly by … writing.
I remember when I had my first inkling of writing a book. I was approached by a publisher to write a book on marketing a photography business. I’d never done it before, but he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. And my first book came to life.
That led to another. And another.
Nonfiction is different from fiction. It’s a jump to move from one to the other.
I struggled through it, but there are a few things I wish I’d known back then. A few tips would have helped push me to engage, take action, and just get the book out.
Everyone talks about writing a book, but so few actually do
There are so many reasons for this. But I think at the heart of it, it comes down to this.
People simply don’t know where to start.
Pick up a book, any book. It looks easy. Sounds easy. “I’m going to write a book.”
Now try it yourself. Where do you start?
Do you outline it? Do you wing it? How do you build a story when all you have is a simple idea?
Those thoughts can be overwhelming in the beginning.
I’m a big fan of micro-tasking. Do one thing. Then build on it with another.
Do what feels right for you. For me, I’m a planner. I have to have the concept in my mind. I need characters, subject matter, the purpose of the story, and what I want the book to say. Then it all comes down to butt-in-chair and start writing.
Every writer has self-doubt
Is my writing good enough? Will people like it? Will I get awful reviews?
The answer to all three is: Yes.
Your writing is good enough. Some people will absolutely love what you have to say. And some people will hate it – you’ll get someone that tears into you telling you how bad you really are.
If you want to write, you have to write. Your writing will resonate with someone. They will love you. You’ll help them through a difficult time.
And that’s all that matters.
A daily word count matters
Writing every day helps you hone your craft. You can journal. You can write a blog post. You can create a story. You can write for you, or you can publish it online for the world to see.
It doesn’t matter.
But you do have to write.
Set your target goal. When I’m writing a book, I write at least 1600 words per day. Every day.
I also write blog posts, articles, and many other writing projects that keep my mind fresh, and help me define my voice.
Find your inspiration all the time
Writers always have a way to record their thoughts.
I love my phone. I use my notes app all the time. I also email or text myself regularly.
I have sticky notes everywhere in my home to jot down ideas.
I’ve also been known to write on napkins when I’m out of the house.
Look at the sky. Watch a bird. Read a book. Dance. Notice what everyone else misses.
The more you do it, the more you fall in love with your life.
Build your writing routine
Every writer needs one.
I’m up before five. I meditate, journal, stretch. Then I write. Three solid hours of writing before I move.
Then I walk. I breathe fresh air. I get inspired. And only when I’m ready do I return to my computer, sit down, and do it all over again.
My routine doesn’t have to be your routine. But you do need one if you’re going to write.
You thought writing was hard?
Wait until you edit.
There are always parts of the job you hate. I’m not an editor. I love creating characters. I love building an idea. I love the creative process.
But the mundane task of editing? Of making my words better? I find it tedious.
That’s why I have an editor do it for me. Someone who LOVES that process.
As a writer, I know what I do best. I leave everything else alone, and hire people to help me.
It makes it easier to do what I do.
But don’t forget it all needs to be done. Editing. Marketing. Selling. You need to learn. And then go back to do what you’re meant to do.
Not everyone is going to love your writing
In fact, some people will hate it. Loathe it. They are the ones who will let you know.
Oh, are you going to get trolled when you release your writing to the world.
The first one hurts.
The second, not as much.
The one-hundredth? You might start to laugh.
True story, I once had someone write to me and tell me she liked my words, but I was too ugly to buy from. What?! I read it several times, then had my husband read it to make sure I was reading it correctly.
And I cracked up. Laughed myself silly.
As a writer, you’re meant to touch certain people. Some will “get” you.
And others won’t.
I thrive on that today.
One book is only the beginning
I attended a writers forum once and met a lot of people living out their retirement trying to write the epic novel. Some had been at it for years, working painfully slow on each chapter. Editing, rewriting, scrapping it all, and starting over.
As a writer, you have to write.
But you have to release it to the world if you really want to be a writer.
Your words have to be out there gaining attention.
They have to be out there feeding someone else’s mind.
That’s what writers do.