You’ve finished your book, editing and proofing are completed, cover is finished and it’s on its way to the publisher. Now the big question—Will anyone read my work? Chilean author, Isabel Allende, once said that writing a book is like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean. You never know if it will reach any shores.
Writing is time consuming and tiring. For many, writing is a full-time job in addition to their “real” job. Some call writing a hobby, but putting up to four or five hours a day doing something is actually more like a job than a hobby. We put so much time and effort in creating our stories that the art of writing can be physically taxing. Writing involves a myriad of components that all shape the successful writer. Many well-known authors such as Stephen King insist that to become a good writer, one must be a good reader. You must read not only the genre in which you write, but read everything—poetry, prose, non-fiction—to be exposed to the art of writing. How do others reach out to readers, how does their writing style compare to your own, and is there one thing in their technique you can incorporate into your own writing style?
I’m sometimes asked by aspiring writers how to get started. I don’t know of any template that exists for the beginning writer, but I do know the first step is simply, to write. Begin to put your ideas on paper. Make daily writing a habit. Don’t write in a vacuum, have others read your work, ideally someone not related to you because you want an objective opinion of your work. Family will most often always tell you your work is great. Sometimes they’re right, it is great, but more often than not it needs tweaking. Take criticism well, don’t argue with feedback. Remember, you asked for someone’s opinion so be gracious in accepting their suggestions. Keep your expectations low. Don’t expect everything you write to be a best-seller or award-winning. Be proud of your work and promote it.
Most of all, think of yourself as a writer and make it part of your persona. Be confident in your abilities and soon others will begin to see you as a writer as well.
“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” — Margaret Atwood