I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
They know me here...


Saturday, October 8, 2011

TOPIC: So You Want To Be An Author?

How dedicated are you to your passion? Are you committed to making a career out of writing? Or is it something you do 'to pass the time'?

If you're serious, what changes have you made to your life to achieve the goals you've set yourself? What can you do to help yourself, and make others realise you mean business?

Here's a few tips I've learnt or heard others say they've realised along the way:
  • You're the author, not the muse. Waiting for inspiration to strike won't develop the habits, processes or skills you need to become an author.
  • Take time out to read, read, read - it'll keep you fresh, you'll see what other authors are writing, and it'll give you the chance to get lost and away from your own work.
  • It's your 'voice'. Be careful not to take every critique, comment or contest feedback to heart nor change something in your work every time someone makes a suggestion. You won't please everyone with your story and you'll run the risk of losing your 'voice' or editing it out of your work.
  • Be patient, my eager Apprentice. The publishing industry is all about submitting and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Submit your queries and/or manuscripts (partials or fulls)/or books to your editor, and while you're waiting for a response keep busy and away from compulsively checking your emails.
  • Move on to your next manuscript. Something that ties in well with the previous point. Let me repeat that. Move. On. To. Your. Next. Manuscript. I've seen so many writers go over and over their last manuscript (sometimes for years!) or get 'caught up' entering contests or submitting work, or (gasp) spend months NOT writing. Work on your next story - write down some ideas, jot out a rough outline, plot, do character interviews, make maps, lists of characters and descriptions, start writing a scene or chapter...get cracking on something to do with your next book. It'll make the waiting less tedious and being productive helps time go more quickly!
  • Learn to say 'no'. If you want a career as an author, then writing needs to come first on your list of 'Things To Do'. Saying 'no' can be hard, but it gets easier the more you use the word. Stand firm when you do say no. Waver and you send the message that you don't take writing seriously. If you put your writing first then (eventually) everyone else will realise it's important to you.
  • Never stop learning the craft. Even after you publish keep reading, keep developing, keep pushing yourself to improve. Take course, attend workshops, read professionally.
Is there some advice or gem of wisdom you've discovered in your journey that you'd like to share?


  1. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes we are our own worst critic. :)

  2. Great post!!!

    I'm stuck on point two. I keep reading, reading, reading and need to get my butt into a confident mode so that I can get my fingers typing again.

    Thanks for the inspiration

  3. Eleni, we all too forget that, don't we?

    Jodie, have you tried setting a timer for half an hour, maybe even 15mins, and see what you can write in that time. Sometimes that's a way to trick yourself into getting the words flowing.

  4. Thanks for the idea Kylie - I haven't tried that before.

    I don't seem to have a problem getting the words down though - just the confidence to justify spending time writing when there are other things that need to be done.

  5. Love the post, Kylie! I'd add "other authors' processes are not necessarily thine own". Take some time to work out what works best for you... do you plot or find it kills the story? Do you prefer the Hero's Journey, 3 Act Structure or 6 Stage Plot? Do you write best in absolute silence or in the middle of a noisy coffee shop? Can you write when opportunity strikes (20mins, half hour), or do you need to sit down and carve out a good few hours to get into the story? Once I worked out how I write best - and tried a few! - it really helps getting into the zone.

  6. Paula, a fantastic piece of advice! I find myself drawn to Michael Hague's 6 Stage Plot Structure - I've used it on my last two books. It was a real "a-ha!" moment for me.