You’re not the only one
So many people have the desire to become an author and even though statistics show that UK publishers released 20 plus books per hour throughout the entirety of 2014, very few people actually realise their author dreams. Why? Because it looks too hard, you’re not a “good enough” writer, It won’t make you money, writing is just a “hobby”, It’s just a fantasy, your idea isn’t “strong” enough. There’s a myriad of excuses out there but none of them are really valid enough.
If you want to become an author, all you have to do is keep writing. And if you can do that, you can do the rest. So if you’re one of the 80% of people who want to publish a book, and keep finding yourself drifting back to your story idea or dreaming up new ones – keep reading.
How to become an author
The first and most important step to becoming an author is, of course, to write. Write whenever you can and as much as you can. Remember, the more you write the better you get. So, put on your favourite writing music and try to set aside time every day to write. It doesn’t have to be long, ten minutes a day is better than nothing, and it doesn’t have to be extensive or deep writing. Even just plotting out and planning idea’s get’s you thinking creatively.
Reading in a variety of styles and genres expands your vocabulary and gets your mind into a fictional frame of mind. Just like the more you practice writing the better you get, the more you read the better you write. So, if you want to become an author, start reading! (Check out our to-be-read list if you need some inspiration!)
Try and take notes while you’re reading. Capture sentence fragments that capture you, write down character traits that appeal, or plot tropes that pull you in, take note of themes and morals, write down words you don’t know and learn to define them. Wrap yourself in a story and let it teach you everything it can.
Holding yourself accountable is hard, so tell people that you want to become an author (say it out loud to yourself first if needed). It might be embarrassing at first, especially when your dad tells your aunt that you’re writing a fantasy novel at your second cousin’s baptism lunch… But the more you tell people, the more people you have cheering you on, asking you about it, and keeping you on track. Even more than that, it becomes real and you can feel your determination grow.
I know that this is a point that not everyone will agree with. Some people think it’s best to keep your writing goals as a tiny little secret, kept close to your chest. I disagree. Shout it out there and let the world know. You might get ridiculed and laughed at by some and dismissed by others. But if you can’t believe in yourself enough to let other people know, how can you expect other people to believe in you?
Use social media, create a blog, make a YouTube channel, or a Wattpad account. Get your name out into the abyss and build a database of readers and fans. This will make your book more attractive to publishers as it makes it easier to sell. Even if you go down the self-publishing route – it’s easier for you to get your book out there if you have an established platform.
Let the first draft be terrible
I mean absolutely, horrifically, embarrassingly terrible. It’s the only way to actually get the plot out on the page without being crippled by the fear of it never being good enough. Just let it be really, really, bad. My first draft spends half its time being barely legible and the other half sounding as bland as a university style academic essay. But that’s okay because no-one is going to read the first draft except for me.
While the steps to getting published include an onslaught of editing, cutting back, rewriting, and all sorts of other painful story crafting experiences, being a writer starts and ends with writing. So break that writer’s block, pick up your laptop (or pen) and start. It really is the only way to become an author.