So You Want to be a Writer
by Megan Lowe
So you want to be a writer.
So you want to be a writer. If you’re anything like me it isn’t a want so much as it’s something you can’t not do. The characters and storylines build and build until it’s too much and you have to get them down on paper. Listen to those voices. They’ll drive you crazy sometimes when they take you on random rides, but for better or worse, they’re your characters. Writing when it’s going well is one of the easiest things in world. It’s also be one of the hardest, but we’ll get to that later. Being a writer is also similarly awesome, when you’re not under deadline pressure that is, but how does one get there? Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert or even that successful, but I do know a little bit. So here goes.
Writing starts with reading. It sounds strange but when you think about it, it’s not. A lot of new, and probably even established, writers make the mistake of not reading. You could argue you don’t want to be influenced by what’s already out there, and you have a point, but let me ask you this. If you don’t know what’s out there, what people like, how do you know if what you write works?
But I want to be original, I hear you say, and I don’t care what they think. That’s a good thing, hold onto that, but a girl’s (or guy) still got to eat. And let’s not kid ourselves, at the end of the day, our aim is still the same, to be published. That’s not going to happen if what you’re selling, no one is buying. I’m not saying that you totally need to sell your soul and abandon your style, I’m saying take a look around, benefit from others hard work and effort. Trust me, your writing will be better for it. If you haven’t seen something, there’s probably a reason for it, other than no one else has thought about it. We’re not reinventing the wheel here, there’s an absolute avalanche of books out there and very few new ideas, all we can do is add our spin to it.
Read high and low, far and wide. Figure out what you like. What you don’t like, and then figure out why that is. Read outside the genre you write in. Read books that push you out of your comfort zone, which challenge you. Broadening your horizons opens up your mind to so many possibilities, presents us with opportunities for growth and can result in amazing and unexpected things.
Writing is fairly simple. You sit down, put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard if you’re that way inclined) and let the words flow. Don’t worry about anything else, it’s all details. They key here is producing a strong manuscript, that’s what people will judge you on and really, it’s all that matters. In order to do that an idea about what works is crucial. You can’t live your life in a vacuum, so don’t write in one. Your manuscript is the foot you put forward to the world, it’s the only thing that will matter so you need to make sure it’s as strong as it possibly can be. Research will help get it to that point. Once you have that, the rest; publishers, a contract, all of that will follow.
Sometimes I think people get carried away with the idea of being a writer and forget about the writing. Being a writer, getting to express oneself through words that other people read, is an incredible thing and I still can’t believe people are willing to read my work. Getting to that point is hard but it’s a little easier if you have a quality product. For the first manuscript I submitted to a publisher, I did just as I explained to you. I read a lot and took what I liked and transformed it into a story. That manuscript is now my debut novel, so the formula works. Sure, it’s not guaranteed to, but at least you’ll have an idea of how the publishing industry and becoming published works.
So what are you waiting for? I promise, you’ll be a better writer for it!
Megan Lowe is a lost journalism graduate who after many painful years searching for a job in that field, decided if she couldn’t write news stories, she would start listening to the characters whispering stories to her and decided to write them down. She writes primarily New Adult/Contemporary Romance stories with Sport and Music themes. She is based on the Gold Coast but her heart belongs to New York City.