Sunday, September 29, 2013

Do You Dream of Writing a Book Now That Summer's Over?

Win a Copy of Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!

September always seems more like the beginning of a new year to me than does the traditional time of January 1st. Even though I no longer have to wrestle kids back to school, with all the shopping and form filling and preparation that goes with that, September still seems like a brand new page.

And, of course, for a writer a brand new page is irresistible. We simply can't wait top fill that glorious blank with new ideas, new words, new stories.
So, if the end of summer has re-awakened your dream to write, here are a few words of what I hope is wisdom from my writing course and book, Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!:

As writers, we’re dreamers – and I don’t just mean about characters and plot
lines. No, we also fantasize about our careers, about signing books while surrounded by adoring fans,
of watching our titles fly up the NY Times bestseller list, of being invited to chat with Oprah, of writing non-fiction that catapults us onto the speech circuit as An Authority.

And then we daydream about what we’ll do with all those millions we will earn through our writing, or how we’ll parlay our growing knowledge into something that will help change people’s lives…. Yes, there are probably as many dreams as there are writers when it comes to thoughts of the life we’ll lead as Famous Writers Whose Books Are Bestsellers.

 But here’s the hard truth: these dreams have little to do with your success as a writer – unless you act on them.
To be successful you need talent, yes, and a commitment to your work. You need to mix that talent with a fair old dose of hard work to turn those dreams into your reality. The simple truth is that first and foremost, a writer writes. It’s that simple. The complicated bit comes in knowing what you should be writing and in planning for your success. Don’t give up the dreams; just temper them with a little feet-on-the-ground common sense.

Find a way to turn them into goals. Plan your writing career as you would any other endeavor that’s important to you. Dream big, for sure, but keep one eye firmly fixed on your own reality.

 In fact, it seems to me that there are several secrets to being successful as a writer and getting published. Consider these: 

1) Believe in yourself and don’t give up.
Writing can be disheartening at times – you sacrifice time you could be doing other things in order to write. It’s hard, and sometimes it may feel that there are only rejections and it will never get any better.

 2) Write the book of your heart - let your passion for the story shine through. Forget the idea of a
‘formula’ and write the book you want to read, the book that tells the story that you need to tell.

 3) Realize that a good writer is in a constant state of ‘becoming’ rather than ‘being’ – writers should always be honing their craft, learning and growing, to constantly become a better writer rather than merely a good writer

4) Be prepared to put yourself out there - there are many wonderful books that their creators have consigned to a box under the bed for fear of rejection, or fear of what other people might say or think. You have to believe in yourself and in the story you want to tell. What someone else thinks – be it a relative, a friend, your boss, an agent, publisher, editor, or even your creative writing teacher – counts only in so far as you can see a way to use their comments to make the book better in your own eyes.

5) Do the work. This is the biggie - no-one ever became a successful writer by talking about the book they’re ‘going to write someday’. Get the words on paper, learn your craft, learn to edit and polish, send your work out and learn from the critiques you receive from editors and agents. Then, when you’re published, be prepared to promote, promote, promote….no matter how difficult you find this, or how shy you might be.

That's all for now, but I'd love to hear from anyone just starting a new book. Leave a comment about it and I'll send one lucky writer a signed print copy of Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book! You can read the first chapter on my Romance Can Be Murder website or see it here on Amazon.


Jannine Gallant said...

Excellent tips for the beginning writer, Glenys. AND for those of us who get so caught up in promotion, etc. we forget that the actual writing part is the key to success!

Margo Hoornstra said...

First of all, what Jannine said. Great advice. For some of us more 'seasoned' writers, September can signal a time to reflect and recharge. I actually have your book downloaded on my iPad. Just need to find the time to read it.

Diane Burton said...

Great post. Your #5 is so essential. People who tell the story to others often don't ever write it. So sad.

Alicia Dean said...

This is fabulous advice! It's even great advice for experienced writers. Sometimes we forget the simple things, like writing the book of our heart. Love the post...thank you!