As some of you know, my second book released yesterday. “The General’s Wife” went up for sale in the wee hours of the morning…I know, I was up at 2 a.m. checking on Amazon. It was there. And the next 36 hours, I had so many texts and e-mails from friends and family members congratulating me and wondering what it must be like for an author on book premier day. Or what it is like to be a writer in general. It’s never too late to find out.
Make the time for it. This is the most crucial thing about writing. You must carve out and protect the time. And you must practice writing. Work on short stories. Share them with your significant other and close loved ones who won’t judge you but who will give you some good feedback. If you don’t have a clue what to write about, google “writing prompt” and get some ideas that way.
Join a Writing Group. Find a critique group that meets regularly. Preferably one that is led by a published author. And gather up enough courage to participate by bringing in scenes or short stories to share with the group and open yourself for helpful critique. That is the only way to improve…by allowing iron to sharpen iron.
Go to a conference…or several. Conferences are like crash courses for writers and then some. You sit in on session about the craft of writing and you have the opportunity (in most cases) to pitch to an agent or editor or mentor. This is a rather unique experience and one I would encourage you to take every advantage of. Even if you don’t feel ready. Make it a Q&A session or a practice session to ease yourself into the idea of pitching.
Take an online class. I made the decision to join a national writing organization. I joined the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and they host a monthly online class that I participate in. It is PERFECT for me. They focus on a different topic each month and there is one to two lessons a week (not overwhelming, but just enough to keep the juices flowing). It helps keep me on my toes and keep me learning.
Look for other opportunities to learn/network/connect. My critique group hosts workshops every few months which I participate in. I also joined a local chapter of the ACFW which meets monthly. Additionally, I do what I can to interact with other authors via social media whether they be other authors that work with my publisher or other authors in the ACFW (they even have a Facebook group for several different genres, so I can connect with ACFW authors in my genre).
I believe that there are people born with certain talents and aptitudes. So, some people have more of a bend toward writing than others, and even some have more passion for it than others (and passion counts for a lot). But no matter your aptitude, natural talent, or passion, there is always room for growth and learning when it comes to the craft of writing.