I came across a post by Jeff Goins, who blogs about writing and creative life, called “7 Tips for More Effective Writing,” and it’s great in itself, but I noticed a particularly insightful nugget of wisdom within it: His final three tips are the entire recipe for a writing career. There’s nothing more to know. They’re not always easy to accomplish, but these are the steps:
- Choose something smaller than a book as your first project. Books are very, very hard to write. I’m currently writing my sixth and seventh books, and I’m still not sure I know how to do it. (This doubt is part of the process; I will muddle my way through again.) If you start by saying you’re going to write a book, there’s a good chance you’ll get frustrated and give up. Instead, start by writing smaller pieces—blog posts, articles, essays, short stories. Then you can work your way up to a book.
- Work on that stuff, and keep working on that stuff. The difference between professional writers and amateurs is that professionals write even when they don’t want to, usually most days of their lives. We’re no more thrilled about it or inspired than others are. We just do it anyway.
- Publish somewhere. Learn to pitch articles and essays. Submit those stories. Start your own blog. It’s important to get your work out there.
Do those steps a bunch of times, and eventually, you’ll feel ready to take it to book level. Then keep doing it all for the rest of your career. Now you’re a writer.