LEARN HOW TO BE A STORYTELLER AND A WRITER
I’ve often said there are storytellers and there are writers, but rarely is someone both to begin with. A storyteller is someone who is brimming with stories. They feel as though they’ll burst if they don’t find a way to get their stories out. I’m a natural born storyteller. I have so many characters and stories swirling around inside, I doubt I’ll ever be able to pen them all. A writer is someone who possesses the skill to beautifully articulate anything. A writer can take a drab, boring idea and breathe color, life, and poetry into it nearly effortlessly. Both skills are needed to be a great writer, but most people must dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to developing the skill they lack.
LEARN HOW TO SWALLOW REJECTION AND MOVE ON
Sharing your writing can be an altogether terrifying experience. What you’ve written is a reflection of yourself, and therefore when someone reacts negatively, it’s hard not to feel that they have not only rejected your work but also rejected you. As is the case with all kinds of artists, writers must believe in themselves and never give up. When I was a struggling writer, I used to receive rejection letters so fast they’d nearly hit me in the back of the head on my way home from the post office. I had to learn to receive rejection and move on. Never give up. Sometimes the editor writing the rejection letter would take the time to offer constructive criticism, which I took to heart and it made my writing and story better. Be willing to listen to criticism and learn from it. You want your writing to be the best it can be.
BEFORE YOU BECOME A WRITER, YOU MUST BE A READER
One of the most effective ways to improve your writing is to read. A LOT. A good writer should read books of all different genres and styles. Read things that challenge you, read bestselling authors and authors you’ve never heard of. As you absorb others’ work, your grasp and appreciation of language will evolve and grow, likely without realizing it’s happening.
STICK TO A SCHEDULE
One of the most difficult parts of being a writer is motivating yourself to finish your work on time. I set a strict schedule for myself. I am in my office each morning at the same time and I set a required amount of pages to write each day. Without a schedule to guide you, it can become far too easy to push your writing aside, allow insecurity and writer’s block to rule the day and never get any writing done.
ESTABLISH A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Without my husband Wayne’s sweet words to me more than 30 years ago, “write, Debbie, write…” I would likely not be a published author today. He believed in me and supported me through all the rejection letters, and years of what felt like fruitless effort. As you pursue writing, rally a support system around yourself. Entrust a small group of people with your dreams, ask them to hold you accountable and most of all, to remind you of why you’re pursuing writing when you feel like giving up.