I am asked all the time about how to become a published author… so here’s some advice for aspiring writers.
Lots of people, it appears, have the desire to write a book one day. My thoughts: just do it.
Spring Break is here and summer is coming up. At some point in all our lives we must step up to do those things we one day had always hoped to accomplish so if there is a book living inside of you waiting to be born, you gotta ask yourself, “If not now, when?”
I say, do it!
And then do it and do it and do it some more. Will it be hard and aggravating and gut-wrenching and rough? Of course. But will it also be fulfilling, exciting, adventurous and rewarding? Most probably so. (I can’t promise, but it is for me.)
In my experience, the people who are most frustrated as writers are either 1) people who swear they are going to write a book but never actually do write a book or 2) people who do ultimately write a book and then come to believe that the world has failed to recognize their literary brilliance when they don’t sell as many copies as John Grisham while at the same time garnering the same critical reviews as Oscar Wilde.
Real writers write because they can’t not write. If that is you, write, continue to write, continue to read and and continue to keep learning and learning about the craft of writing. Your publishing break will eventually come (mine took more than a decade) and when it does, it’s only going to mean that more writing will be expected of you one day.
This is a profession for lifers. The first ten years are school, the next ten years are learning the business behind the business. Write an average of 10 pages a week for 50 weeks a year (that’s 500 pages) for 20 years (that’s 10,000 pages) and then talk to me then about how no one wants to publish you. Cause you know what? You do that and I can almost guarantee, you will be published.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers talks about the 10,000 hour rule. (i.e. it’s takes a ton of time to get really good at something.) Me, I kinda think there is some wisdom in this.
Now sure, you hear stories all the time about first time-authors who just got paid $750,000 for their debut novel… and maybe that will be you. (You’ll never know unless you actually write your book.) However, if you are looking for a quick score, a lottery ticket, I am not sure book writing is the best path.
But if you are looking to write a book for another reason, such as possibly believing that you actually MUST write this book (even if only your mom will ever buy a copy; but don’t worry, my mom bought 16 of my first book thinking she was going to propel it to the bestseller lists all by herself. BTW, nowadays, she waits for me to send her a free one. Sheesh, times have changed.) then do it.
More about the writing process is gonna come next week. But in the meantime, think about tapping at the keyboard. The page is blank for all of us when the sun comes up in the morning. The only question is, are you going to fill it?