Where do I start?
Well first grab a pen and some paper – or set your fingers on the keyboard (turn the computer on) – and just write. I struggled so long on how to be a writer, without even realizing I as one all along. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, y’all. But guess what – you’re a writer. Own it. Say it to yourself. Aloud. Repeat. You are a writer.
I find using my circumstances or emotions to my creative advantage suits me. I have an overactive mind and suffer from very vivid dreams and night terrors. Night Terrors have plagued me since I was a child, and as I got older I decided to use them to my advantage to help them seem less terrifying (after the fact) and not go through bouts of insomnia because I would be so afraid to go sleep. I started making short stories or conceptual photos out of them, and it allowed me to feel like I had some sort of control to the ailment.
Quarterly, my critique group finds an image and sends it out and requires everyone to write a short story about that image. It keeps our creative juices flowing, and even inspires new WIPS. A lot of our images our found on Pinterest and some have been writing prompts we found online that sounded interesting. Try doing this to keep you inspired and who knows – it may be a novel you decide to write and submit to agents/publishers!
Find people who help you grow – and listen to them.
I was lucky enough to find a few folks like me in my small home town that had aspirations and formed a writers critique group. We learned from each other. Looking for like-minded people? The writing community on Twitter is amazing. While social media can be daunting, I really recommend joining an following the hashtags #amreading, #amwriting, and #betareaders. You will learn so much from others and make valuable connections. Plus you can follow agents and publishers who post their wish lists and publishing trends that will help you understand the market.
Find a Routine that works best for you – we are all different in our approach to our art.
Writing, just like any other art form, is hard work. You can scout through tons of blogs posts and books by people saying things like you should write every day, you have to brainstorm your story first, don’t ever set a project aside, you should be able to write a book in a month! And while some people can and do these things, they aren’t for everyone. I work a full time desk job (7am-3:30pm, plus a commute home), try to run a part time photography business, spend time with my husband, actually have some me time, and also focus on my writing (not to mention time for cuddling with my three adorable cats).
The only way I can make it work for me is to set up a calendar schedule for each month. Just like on Wednesdays we wear pink, on Wednesdays, I focus on writing at least 1500 words. Doesn’t sound like a lot and some days I go over, some days I struggle. But my setting a calendar schedule it helps me stay sane – while staying on top of my goals. Here is an example of my week:
Monday: Read (because reading is very important for a writer)
Tuesday: Edit photos, plan conceptual shoot, brainstorm/craft conceptual photo ideas
Wednesday: Write 1500+ words
Thursday: Write 1500+ words
Friday: Read, Me time
Saturday: Edit photos, send client emails/follow ups, schedule blog posts/book reviews
Sunday: Writers Critique Group (every other week), read/edit writing from this week and submit for writers group the following week
So in summary (because I like to summarize my points), find like-minded people who can help you grow, don’t be afraid to create a schedule that works for you, be inspired by your life, others, and any thing that comes your way, and (say it with me) I am a writer.