So you want to be a writer? Trust me, it’s overrated.
Just kidding! Being a writer can be an amazing job, but it’s not as straightforward as being a doctor, lawyer or accountant. Unlike most jobs, the process isn’t as simple as going to university, doing a summer internship, then landing your first big gig from a job board. The path to success is a little bit different for each writer. That’s why we’ve asked industry-proven authors to share their insights into how to get started, how to get published and, hopefully, how to find success.
Siobhan Vivian has written such books as A Little Friendly Advice, Same Difference and Not That Kind of Girl. She says good writing habits begin on your iPhone. “Take all of your writing seriously: from emails, to texts, to Facebook status updates. Ponder each word and always aim for creativity and eloquence.”
Surprisingly, there is some real wisdom in the old “write about what you know” advice. However, you need to take it a step further. “Write about what excites you and what scares you. Are there questions you can’t let go of? Memories that haunt you? Find a story that draws on those feelings and obsessions. That book will always be the best book you can write,” says Anna Carey, author of Eve.
The biggest key to success might be how you deal with failure. You’re going to face a lot of rejection and negativity along the way. How you deal with it could dictate how far you go. “Learn to distance yourself from the work,” says Heather Davis, who wrote the novel Wherever You Go. “You’ll be able to take criticism in a positive way. It’s all about the book, not you.”
Your greatest opposition may come from people who have never even read your work. People may tell you that you’re going to fail as soon as you tell them you want to be a writer. “Any time you share a dream or a goal you run the risk of people trying to tell you why it will never happen,” says Eileen Cook, author of Unraveling Isobel. “There are people who focus on making their own dreams come true, and people who tear down others’ dreams so they feel better about not going after theirs. You may not reach your dream of being published, but if you don’t at least try, I can guarantee you won’t.”
FAMOUS YOUNG WRITERS:
It’s been said that the best part about being a writer is acting like you’re 17 until you’re 40. Here are some authors that made it big well before 40.
Stephenie Meyer: Just before she turned 30, Stephanie had a dream about a human-vampire romance. The rest is literary and cinematic history.
Stephen King: The master of macabre was 24 when he sold a novel about a teenage girl with psychic powers to a publisher. The girl’s name was Carrie.
Veronica Roth: Some are calling Divergent the next Hunger Games; others call it just plain genius. Veronica wrote this first novel in the planned trilogy, instead of doing homework in university, when she was just 22 years old.
Gloria Tesch: Gloria’s Facebook page calls her “The World’s Youngest Novelist.” She began writing her first book at the age of ten and got Maradonia and the Seven Bridges published on her 13th birthday.