If I had one dollar for every person who spoke to me after an event, or wrote me a note on Facebook, or sent me a short tweet telling me they wanted to write, I could pay for a beach house in Hawaii or a flat in Paris.
Many want to share stories and impact others with their words, but don’t know how to start, so here’s the run down in 10 easy steps:
1. Figure out what you want to say. Do you want to entertain people, motivate them to change, help them with a hard problem?
2. Know why you want to say it. Has God given you a message He wants you to share? Do you want the fame and fortune (which is not very realistic)? Is it because other people tell you that you have a story to tell?
3. Decide what you’re willing to sacrifice in order to write. Is it TV? Is it shopping? Is it the quiet during your child’s nap times or Saturday mornings with your family?
4. Make a choice if it’s worth it. Either jump in with both feet or don’t even dip your toe in. Dipping your toe in will only frustrate you. To succeed as a writer you need to be fully committed.
5. Know how successful people do it. Check out books at the library on writing processes, become a student of putting the words on the page. Think of learning to write like learning to bake a cake from scratch. You can get a recipe that tells you the steps or you can play around in the kitchen with the ingredients. If you do the latter you’ll most likely end up with a cake, but you’ll face a lot of trial and error and much time and effort. Their are many “recipes” for writing. Check them out and find the perfect recipe for you.
6. Write. After you do steps 1-5 then you have to put words on paper. DO NOT worry about your marketing plan, your writing income, traveling for book signings, or if you should use a pen name. Don’t even think about those things until you have something publishable. I get questions about all these things (and much more) and people haven’t put five sentences together on the page. Before you worry about your whole writing career and it’s impact, just write.
7. Know your markets. Unless you’re planning to self-publish you have to figure out who’s going to buy your words. Every magazine and book publisher has writer’s guidelines. They tell you exactly what they’re looking for and what they need from you to consider your book. You can find these guidelines through Writer’s Market or Christian Writer’s Market.
8. Get a supporting cast. Find people you trust to keep you accountable, to be critique partners, to pray with you. The business of writing isn’t done alone.
9. Keep trying. Rejection is just part of the game. Successful writers aren’t those who got accepted their first time out there. They are the ones who kept trying.
10. Trust God’s timing. He has prepared the market, the audience and the season for you. His timing is perfect even if the wait is longer than you think. He sees the finished book on the shelf!