So You Want to Be a Writer

Since you are already reading this blog, you obviously want to be a writer. There’s no doubt about it and I applaud you. Seriously, it took me years to realize there was a huge writing community online. Though to be fair, for a millennial I’m technology illiterate. There are so many writing blogs out there. I swear by Susan Dennard’s Blog.

90s waynes world praise bowing were not worthy

But after all the hours you’ve spent researching how to write, you still don’t have anything to prove you’re a writer. Don’t get me wrong, reading blogs and anything else you can get your hands on is one of the most important things. I really wish I’d realized this years ago. Still, to be a writer, you need to write!

saved by the bell duh obviously mario lopez i know

(apparently I’m going old school for this blog…)

At the NESCBWI 16 conference ( read Intentional (RE)Invention: #NESCBWI16 for more,) Jane Yolen told all of us “Butt in Chair.” It’s as simple as that. Put your butt in a chair and start writing!

Okay, the phrase “easier said than done” comes to mind. Life isn’t simple. If you want to be a writer, you either have a day job, you’re a student, or you’re a full time mom or dad (which is probably harder than anything.) Right now I’m working 60 hours a week just to survive. So putting my butt in a chair is really hard. I get home, curse the world, and fall asleep.

Still, I can’t survive without writing. No, seriously, I go crazy.

crazy zoolander owen wilson loco hansel

There are a few ways that I keep myself motivated:

1. Participate in events such as National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo happens online in November. There are also a few other months (in the summer, I believe) when they have a camp. During the one month, you have a goal of 50,000 words. Yes, that seems like a lot. It is a lot. It evens out to about 1667 words a day. My NaNoWriMo post explains how I survived. I managed to get through most of my most recent manuscript during that time. Now I’m in the process of querying and it’s going well (knock on wood). Of course these events don’t happen every month, so there are other things you can do to keep yourself motivated.

2. Make a pact with critique partners.

One of my critique partners is in the same position as I am, trying to find time to write. So for the next month, we decided to have our own mini NaNoWriMo. Every day we send each other our word count (no cheating!). If one of us doesn’t write at all then that partner has to buy the other partner one book of their choice. It keep us writing.

3. Designate a time of day.

Think of your writing as a job. You have to go to work each day and perform tasks. So, each day you should set aside a section of time where you write. It may be early in the morning, late at night, even a lunch break! I met an author who wrote her book in 45 minute stints every morning. It can work! Just keep chugging along and don’t go back. Editing is for when you’re finished.

4. Write even when you can’t find the words.

britney spears huh wut wat excuse me

There are days when the words just won’t come to you. I understand. Either you have a scene totally playing out in your head and you’ve got no clue how to write it or you’re trying to figure out what to write next. What I do during those days is bring out my book of 500 prompts. My grandmother gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I find myself using it every now and then. The questions get me to write and as soon as the words flow, my mind starts working again.

5. Remember: It’s easier to edit words that are already on the page than create new ones.

Don’t worry about how messy your first draft ends up being. There’s no way that’s the draft you submit to editors or agents. You can go through it after, but you need to finish it first!

How do you keep writing? Share in the comments!

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