I thought you wanted to become a writer. You seem more like a reader to me.
22 lessons from Stephen King on how to be a great writer. Gary Miller/Getty Images Renowned author Stephen King has written over 50 books that have captivated millions of people around the world. In his memoir, "On Writing," King shares valuable insights into how to be a better. I get emails from aspiring writers from time to time. I'm more than happy to give out tips and see how I can help, but there are certain types of.
Maybe you'd like some book recommendations? I can do that.
You don't just want to become a writer. You want to become a good writer. You want to become a great writer. You want to become a professional writer. Not all these things are the same, believe me, but they do overlap from time to time. And, depending on what your goal is, the steps you must take to achieve these things will differ vastly. Let's say you want to write a book—because that's really it, isn't it?
Everyone and their mother wants to write a book, and a lot of people actually do. But compared with the people who want to, the number is tiny. Everyone tells us we shouldn't, and we tell ourselves we can't. We don't have the experience or the time or the talent or the inspiration. The list goes on and on, and it's all excuses. We're full of excuses not to write! But there's one great reason to write: Becoming a writer isn't an impossible task.
We're all storytellers; it's hardwired, programmed. From the time you told your mom that it was your brother who broke the snow globe, you became a storyteller. But you chained it away, fostering your inner critic instead. Adults love to be critics. There's nothing easier than not creating and judging other people's creations, because that's safe.
The following sentence won the satirical Bad Writing Contest second-prize. Or is there even such a thing? Since more people are investing big buck on writing, the basic steps of writing a quality content became very crucial. What would that change for your and me the next time we sit down to do our work? Share in the comments. Reread the things you have enjoyed and study them—figure out what makes them effective, what makes them work.
What's not safe is going out on that limb and letting your fiction freak flag fly. Like free falling, it's not incredibly safe, but it's not terribly difficult. All you have to do is let your storyteller come back out and jump off that ledge.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? All it takes is that one step. You're here because you want to take that step.
How do you muster the courage? Being a writer is about taking everything one step, one sentence, at a time. You want to learn how to become a writer, and I know you have it in you. It's high time to chain up your inner critic and let your inner writer take that step of faith.
It's an important step, but it doesn't have to be big. Here are 12 baby steps to start you off in the right direction. The first step to becoming a writer is becoming a great reader. Read stuff you know you like and stuff you know you don't like. Ask the used bookstore owner for a recommendation, ask a friend what the last great book he or she read was, ask a librarian what's popular lately, and read all three. Browse the aisles of a chain store, and pick up a book on a topic you haven't read about before, perhaps architecture or religion or sports. Read that crumpled-up grocery list on the ceramic tile covered with dirty footprints, read the backs of products on the bathroom counter, read ticket stubs on the bus on your way to class or work.
Read translated poetry and old biographies, Wikipedia articles and YouTube comments, your favorite movie scripts and Ted Talk transcripts. Yes, you can also read Heather's Picks and popular fiction and Pulitzer Prize winners, but you should also read books on syllabi from your old school and rap lyrics and recipes and tweets and graphic novels. Read everything you can get your hands on because what you absorb will subconsciously become a part of your writing.
The more diversely you read, the more distinctive your voice will be when you write. A writer is an amalgamation of everything he or she has read. Only after you've read many different genres and types of writing can you decide what it is you truly like and admire, and then and only then should you seek more of it. The next step is to absorb what you love. Bookmark pages that particularly speak to you. Find the inspirations of your inspirations and read their work, too. Soak up your favorite writers like porous bread to honey.
They are sweeter for now, but like dough rising, you will get to the top. It just takes time. This is going to sound like the most boring step, but it is an important one, so stick with me. You've got to nail down the basics. That means minding your Ps and Qs.
And people are totally split on this one. You either think you know everything there is to know about the English language, or the mere thought of nailing down grammar rules has you in a fit of panic because you think you don't know anything. But either way, you're probably wrong. If you think you know everything, do you know the difference between an em dash, an en dash, and a hyphen? How about the difference between single and double quotation marks? Or the difference between American, British, and Australian English?
Do you know what a dangling modifier is and how to avoid it? Do you know when to spell out numbers in writing? These are all worth considering, and they barely skim the surface of grammar and spelling rules. If you're in the latter camp, I'm sorry for scaring you just then. But whether you're a native English speaker or you're just beginning to learn the language, there's a good chance that you have at least some kind of intuitive sense of how to use English properly as a language.
For instance, you probably know that "the brown small dog" sounds weird compared to "the small brown dog," but you may not know why. Mastering the language is, of course, an important step in becoming a writer because if you don't know how it works, you'll have a hard time constructing sentences that will make your heroes weep with envy.
Luckily, there are always ways to learn how to master the English language. Failing that, you could always just write and worry about revising it later. Whether you choose to nail down the basics first or go for the gusto, it's time to see a little bit of what you're made of. Now you've just gotta try it. You don't have to dive right in headfirst and write an epic poem. Beginners in anything need time to breathe and float. Dip your toes in. It might sound a little obvious, but every story begins with a sentence.
Just write something down. If you have to stare at that blank screen or piece of paper for an hour before you write anything, then do it. Stare at the ocean for as long as it takes. Believe me, there is a vast ocean to draw from. So dip your toes in! You might find that once you've started, you can't stop. Keep backing up each sentence with another one. Prove that the last sentence you wrote is true by supporting it with the next one, and so on. Don't worry; none of it has to make sense.
Congratulations, you've just begun free writing! Do that for a set amount of time 15 minutes or words, whichever comes first. Write about the weather or your day or the man on the bus with the cane or a dragon and its horde. Write anything you want! Can't think of anything? Here are some writing prompts. Did you find the vast expanse of the ocean intimidating or freeing? Did time fly by like a hummingbird or drag on like the hum of an old radiator? Did the words spill out onto the page like milk out of your nose, or was it more forced like a noodle? Fiction operates under different rules but it often has facts in it too, and your credibility rests on their accuracy.
If you want to make up facts, like that Emily Bronte was nine feet tall and had wings but everyone in that Victorian era was too proper to mention it, remember to get the details about her cobbler and the kind of hat in fashion at the time right, and maybe put a little cameo at her throat seven and a half feet above the earth.
I am hanging out with the English language or the Spanish or the Korean. I get to use the word turquoise or melting or supernova right now if I want. Find pleasure and joy. Maybe even make lists of joys for emergencies. Cultivating love for others and maybe receiving some for yourself is another job and an important one.
Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. How to Be a Writer: Article continues after advertisement. Rebecca Solnit San Francisco writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of twenty-something books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism and the author, most recently of Call Them By Their True Names: American Crises and Essays and Drowned River: Maybe you should write about something else. A little pragmatism will give you an opportunity to succeed as a writer.
So, please, discard your rose colored glasses. If any of the sentences below describe you, you have no right to complain about your writing career:. I have a question for you: How in the hell are people supposed to find it? This means finding websites who already have a built-in audience and publishing your work there. This means connecting with influential people online who can help promote your work.
Fear of marketing can also conflate with a sense of entitlement. You just want to write. You think good writing should be enough on its own. What if you knew everything would work out? How much time would you devote to building your writing career if it was guaranteed? Building a writing career takes time.
I read a post by blogging expert Jon Morrow that said you need to dedicate four to six years of your life to building a six-figure blog. One of my favorite writers, James Altucher, says you need five years of experience before you make wealth in your field. You have to put in the work. When you write consistently, your skills will grow exponentially. The key is to make it past the initial phase of sucking at it. If you double it becomes. If you double it again it becomes.
Double it 36 times, however, and all the sudden the number is 1. A party balloon requires a lot of air to fill it initially, but once it reaches a threshold the rest of the balloon fills up easily. Your writing skills are like the small decimal number and the party balloon. Often, however, the people around you might not be receptive to the idea of you becoming a full-time writer. It took a while for my fiancee to take my aspirations seriously. Once I started making some money and gaining momentum, my progress opened her eyes to the possibilities.
I just started writing and kept writing.