So You Want To Be A Writer?

So, you want to be a writer. Writing reports for school just isn’t enough for you. You’d rather subject to yourself to the life-long, soul-wrenching agony of being a writer. Well, congratulations! Welcome to the dork side!

But, you might be asking, how do I know I really am a writer? What do I have to do to be called a writer? And the simple answer is: write. You don’t have to have a published novel, a rough of a draft novel, or even the plot for a novel to be a writer. You just have to put some words down on paper. Do it now, even. Write a sentence, a snatch of dialogue, a rough character idea. You’ve done it. You’re a writer. Now the harder question; what about a story?

From personal experience, I have discovered that if you start writing without knowing what you’re doing or without a plan, three months later you’re going to end up with fragments of a story that was a good idea in the beginning, but now it makes you cry with shame. I’ve done that at least three times. Now I have to force myself to trudge through the sludge of my ignorance in order to pluck out what is still worthwhile.

The correct first step to being a writer is reading. Read everything. Every genre, every style, every thrift-store find. But, how will I learn to write by just reading? First, you can gain inspiration from your reading. Don’t copy too closely, but ideas are ideas. One of my current projects is built on the premise of magical creatures living on hidden estates for their safety and the safety of humans. Sound familiar? That’s right, Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull. (If you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend doing so)  It gave my plot a home. You should also read as many books on writing as you can handle. My personal favorites are How To Write Science Fiction by Matthew J. Costello, Outlining Your Novel, Plotting Your Way To Success by K. M. Weiland,  Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Cole, and Writing Fiction for Dummies by Peter Economy and Randy Ingermanson.

Your second step should be brainstorming.

Browse the internet for writing prompts, think of your favorite books, write down any and every idea have. Eventually, you’ll strike upon an idea that captivates you. Take this idea and nurture it. Think of all the different ways you could write about this idea. If you have a scene formed in your head, write it down. As soon as you’ve done this, you’ve started writing your story.

You have an idea, and whether its a faint whisper or a thunderous crash, your idea will need to be developed. More importantly, your story will need outlining. But that’s a whole other process.