So, you want to be a writer…

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So, you want to be writer… You will have to spend endless hours polishing your command of language, patiently put your stories together to make them into a logical tale and bear the frustration of nobody caring about your work. If you endure the strains, though, your stories will make the world a better place and you will get your chance to become a really successful writer. All it takes is hard work and discipline… but in the words of a song from an old, classic movie “Bugsy Malone” – “you may as well quit if you haven’t got it” (the line was about boxing, but it works for writing as well).

Having just started my writing career I don’t want to sound condescending, but I believe there are some points I need to share. I have tried quite a few jobs in my life and writing is by far the most difficult one. It is also by far the most rewarding, although definitely not in the financial sense at first.

If you still want to be a writer, here are some starting tips:

  • don’t quit your job unless you have other means of supporting yourself and your family for at least two years – writing is not a well-paid job, especially at the start of your career. It takes roughly one month to write 20 000 words of text and another one to have it properly corrected, edited and rewritten if necessary. Thus, it will take at least a year to publish your first full-length book.
  • read a lot – somebody once said that the problem with today’s writers is the fact that they start writing after reading a hundred books instead of a thousand. The more you read, the better your writing will be.
  • write regularly, but edit your work after at least a week – however talented you might be, you have to develop a habit of writing and working on your texts and everybody needs some perspective before reviewing his own work, hence the break. And forget about the popular quote misattributed to Ernest Hemingway to write drunk and edit sober. You should always work sober, and if you need a drink, get it as a reward for yourself after finishing each chapter of your book.
  • don’t be shy – show your work to your friends and family and get their feedback. Work with them to better your style, vocabulary and storytelling. Remember that writing is a craft and needs to be practiced and bettered, for writers are not born, they are made.
  • be patient – if your work is good it will be noticed sooner or later and everything you have written stays written and gains value as you become more popular and remember that it is much better to publish a text that is good and finished than to publish it prematurely.
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