Last week I met a writer who had one book published. Since his book sells well, and he speaks to groups across the country, he thought about writing a second book. But he didn't take action on this idea. "Writing is too much work," he admitted, "so I just revised my existing book."
This writer speaks the truth. Whether it is a novel, mystery, history, self-help, poetry, children's book, sports book, or another genre, writing is hard work. You also have to deal with submission guidelines, editors, deadlines, and marketing. In short, your work isn't done when your book is done.
Writers also have to deal with comments from readers. During my 35+ years as a writer I have received compliments and thoughtless comments. One man was disappointed when one of my books was released. "I was going to write that," he complained. However, I researched the topic, spent weeks on the outline, spent months on writing, and submitted the manuscript to publishers.
I acted upon my book idea and he did not.
Many people have approached me and said they wanted to write a book. When I ask what they are working on at the moment, however, the answer is always the same -- nothing. I have never met a would-be writer who was working on anything. By definition, writers are supposed to write. If you want your book published, you need to create a body of work.
Volunteering may also help you reach your dream of becoming a writer. You may serve as volunteer editor of your church newsletter, for example, or write articles for the public library newsletter. I wrote a brochure for a local community group and you could do something similar. Over time, your volunteer efforts will become a body of work and prove, without a doubt, that you are a writer.
Community education and college courses may also help you to achieve your dream. Taking courses proves, yet again, that you are serious about becoming a writer. Keep a file or files of everything you write to track your progress. If you don't have a resume, now is the time to create one. List courses, volunteer efforts, and completed manuscripts on your resume.
These tips helped me to achieve my dream of becoming a writer and I hope they help you.
Write every day. You may write letters, blog postings, short articles, or work on a book outline.
Find your genre. This may take some time, but keep at it.
Research publishers in your genre. Never submit a manuscript to a publisher that you have not researched.
Work on a one-page query letter. Put it away and take it out in a few weeks. Make any revisions you think are necessary.
Create a resume, including all of your volunteer writing positions.
Update your resume regularly.
Keep a file of submissions and rejects. Hopefully, this file will eventually include acceptances.
Be persistent. If you don't believe in you, others will not either.
Consider self-publishing. In this sagging economy many writers are going directly to self-publishing and the Kindle or Nook. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, investigate the publisher and read reviews on the Internet.
Copyright 2012 by Harriet Hodgson