A new writer asked, “Where do I start if I want to be a writer?”
My response? By writing.
Here are a few tips to help clarify my meaning of “by writing”.
- Write something every day. It could be a journal entry, a paragraph, a few lines for a story idea, a blog article…anything. Just write.
- Write what you know. If you are beginning a novel start with ideas, situations, people, places that you are familiar with. This increases your confidence as you begin to experiment with all the other aspects of the craft.
- Research your craft. Find good books about writing. If you’re a Fiction writer, I recommend the Write Great Fiction Series. Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott is also a good book for beginning writers.
- Don’t start by asking the question, “How much money can I make?” Write because it makes you happy. Study your craft to become the best writer you can be. The money will take care of itself.
- Study basic grammar and sentence structure. Know where to put commas and quotation marks at a bare minimum. Knowing basic story structure will help you so much in the long run. The Little Brown Handbook is an excellent reference.
- Approach critique groups with caution. If these are run correctly they can be a great support to a budding writer, if not, it can discourage you forever. Find a writing mentor you can trust who will encourage you, not tear you down.
- Stay away from social media groups for a while. You can become totally overwhelmed by all the information thrown at you. Again, find a writing mentor you can trust.
Speaking of becoming overwhelmed! That’s probably enough to chew on for now. I’ll leave the floor open to comments and thoughts from others.