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.