You want to be a writer do you? You want to enjoy knowing that people are reading your words, imagining the world in their head that you have crafted? You want to know that people love them? You have tons of story ideas floating around in your head that you could write? Good. Very good.
But. And yes, there is a but. You need to stop coming up with stories. Stop. There’s is no point in coming up with 1 story, 10 stories, or hundreds. No point if you don’t actually sit down and start writing them. In fact, not good enough if you don’t sit down and finish writing them. Key word there – finish.
What lies ahead once you have finished writing the first draft can only be described as a bed of needles you have to walk over to reach the other side. I’m being blunt. Why? Well, it’s one thing to dream of being a writer, it’s another to actually attempt it. It’s a difficult journey marred with many disappointments, struggles, doubts, anger and frustration. You will want to give up many times along the way. You will continue to doubt your work. Is it good enough?
Unfortunately, someone else needs to tell us this.
How do you make sure your writing is of industry standard? How do you know it can hook a reader and keep them till the very ‘end’? Before you decide to even attempt to knock on publishers doors, make sure you do this: read the story from start to finish yourself. I don’t mean this as in you edit as you go. Just read it, as if it’s another book and you are an audience. If you can hold your own interest then be sure you may hold other people’s interest too. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are a God-gifted writer and someone should offer you a deal already. We all make mistakes. Even the polished writers who have been published multiple times. Here is what you need to do.
Get your story assessed by a professional. Find out if the plot is weak, if your characters are convincing, if there are any logical problems in your MS, if you need to go back and write an entire section, or cut out a whole chunk. You need to FIX these before you can think about polishing/editing your work. Grammar, punctuation and spacing are not your first priority. Your priority first of all is to make sure your story translates as best it can on paper. It’s events, it’s interweaving plots, it’s characters and emotions etc. After that, go over your work a few time yourself. You’d be surprised at the number of mistakes you can correct yourself as a writer. Then, I strongly recommend getting an editor onboard. They will help you iron out your MS and make it look presentable.
And this is just the one quarter of your job!
What’s left are some of the most daunting tasks: query agents/publishers, submit your work, wait biting your nails, then if you find representation or a book deal, it’s a whole other part you have to work with others on – planning, layout, cover page, edits, and marketing.
I don’t mean to discourage anyone who wants to write from actually doing it. I just wanted to tell you, stop talking about writing and write. It’s a whole lot of fun whether you intend to get published or just get your family and friends to read them.
I leave you with these words…