I think every aspiring author wants to know the answer to this. Georgia asked…
I’ve always loved to just write. I have ideas as to a mixture of things I could one day do. How easy is it to get into? How do you go about starting etc?
This is both an easy question and a hard question to answer.
First, the easy part…
Writing is simple to get into. Write a book. When you write a book, you’re a writer. It’s that simple. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a writer until you’re published, or represented, or have a contract, or win an award, or anything else. When you write, you’re a writer.
Don’t ever forget that.
Being a successful writer is a bit different. Mostly because everyone has different views of success. If you won’t feel like you’ve made it until you have NYTimes Bestselling Author after your name, it might take a while. If you won’t feel like you’ve made it until you have a book commercially available, it’s going to be a bit easier.
Only you know what success means to you.
The hard part…
Getting started can be a bit of a challenge. Yes, you can just sit down and write. You have an idea. You love to read. You can write a book. You should, too. But do yourself a favor and do a little research too.
There are tons of books out there to help you write a good book. There are also tons of classes you can take. Join an organization that will help you as an author. Make friends with authors. Learn, research, learn some more. The better your grasp of goal, motivation, conflict and character arcs and story arcs and character archetypes and tropes the better your story will be.
I didn’t know any of that stuff when I started writing. Some of them I’m still not good at incorporating consciously. But I studied books I loved. I went through my favorite books and laid out how the story flowed, what the story was about, and how everything wove together. I was teaching myself all those technical things about the story that I didn’t know. I’ve read and learned more and don’t have to study other books to make sense of them, but I still read. A lot.
You need to do that too. Read. As much as you can. Study other books. Read the best books in the genre you want to write in. What makes readers love them? What do you love about them? What do you not love about them? I learn more from books I don’t like than books I do like. It shows me what doesn’t work, in my opinion.
My last piece of advice is to always be true to you. If you love books that have alpha heroes, or redheaded heroines, or athletes, or billionaires, or step-brothers, or live in your area, or live in small towns, or big cities, then write those. Trust me, if you write something that goes far off what’s natural for you, it will show! Be true to who you are. Write what you love.
One of my favorite quotes ever is from the last few lines of this letter from Ray Bradbury.
Be your own self. Love what YOU love!!
Don’t ever forget that!
Thanks so much, Georgia, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!