The Secret to Becoming a Writer.

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Just Write.

It’s as easy as that. Put your pen to paper and write.

Now, now before you start calling me names, I honestly believe, like myself, you are seeking a slightly different answer. You aren’t necessarily looking for “How to become a writer?” but “How to become a good writer?”

Luckily for you, I’m going to answer that too! Without further ado here are my:

5 Characteristics That Every Writer Should Have

1. Confidence.

No, I don’t mean like the quarterback of your high school football team who refused to throw the game-winning touchdown at Homecoming because he wanted to run the ball. That’s arrogance. I’m talking about the shy girl with the glasses, that stands in the middle of the field and sings the national anthem for the first time before the game.

What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to write because you don’t think you’re good enough. You can always improve your work. That’s what the editing and revising stages are for. Absolutely, no one’s first draft gets published, because they’re going to make mistakes. The key is having the confidence to start.

2. Thick skin.

I get it. Your book baby is made of hard work, dedication and a little bit of pixie dust. But let’s be real, it’s not perfect, and sometimes we are just a little too close to notice. I am in a few writing groups (If you’re not. Do it.) and I see people posting pieces of their work for “Critique, ” but really they just want people to shower them in confetti and throw them a party for their award-winning work when it’s simply not the case. Don’t be that person. You don’t want to be that person anyways because they will NEVER improve their work. I give you permission to go cry in the corner for five minutes but then get back in that chair!

Now, that’s not saying that you have to take every bit of advice that someone gives you and you definitely don’t have to take it from the A-hole that just tells you that you suck. Ignore the asshat and move on. A simple “thank you” will do for those that you don’t agree with.

3. Willingness to learn.

You’re off to a great start; you’re here after all. Keep learning. Always. I read at least one article a day about improving my writing skills. Not to mention the copious amounts of videos I listen to on the way to and from work. It is so important for you to continue growing your skills if you ever want to be taken seriously.

4. Dedication.

You can’t go chasing every new shiny idea into the forest… where the fairies and gnomes are at war… because the gnome king took over Mossy Rock… oops. 

Write down those shiny ideas but don’t allow them to take over. It is important that you stay focused on your main project or you will never finish it, and you will eventually have a million half-started great ideas and no masterpieces. I want to read your masterpiece.

5. Patience.

Wow! You are so excited because you have just started your new story and it’s got griffins and centaurs that are being oppressed by the almighty unicorns. You have to show your fantastic idea to the world, right? No. No, don’t. Please.

When I started Spark over a year ago, it had elements that don’t even exist anymore. The first draft should be for you. Need brainstorming ideas? Absolutely have a critique partner. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about letting your romance-loving mom and sister read your story because now they’ve  given you ideas, and your Griffins are dating Unicorns and are having Grifficorn babies. Your adventure story is completely changed. Get it done. The second draft is for your reader.

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Now, you have completely finished your epic Unicorn/Griffin story, and you have re-wrote it fifteen times. You’re ready to hit publish. It’s going up on Amazon today! Yes!

Wait, have you had an editor look it over?

Well no. I had my Aunt who is a complete grammar Nazi look it over, so it’s fine. I really just want to get it up and sell it.

Bad idea, now your book baby is going to get slammed. Remember how we talked about being close to your work? You’re going to miss things, and you need someone who has an eye in the field to look it over.

ALWAYS take the time to get an editor. It’s not worth negative reviews because your grammar was bad or because you missed a major plot hole.

BONUS TIP!

Practice. Practice. Practice. Do you think that Michael Phelps would have won 23 Olympic gold medals if he never practiced? No, he probably would have needed a lifeguard to come save him. Writing is no different. So, practice, practice, practice.

That’s it. Those are the five key characteristics I believe every writer should have. I hope these tips were helpful and if you can think of any characteristics that I missed I would love to hear them! I want to thank you for stopping in and don’t forget to follow my page on your way out, so you don’t miss out on any of my writing tips I will be posting every Wednesday.

If you have any topics, you’d like me to cover in a future blog you can comment below or tweet me @shauna_philp. I look forward to talking with you!

Happy Writing!

Shauna

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