How to Start Your Career as a Writer
They say before anyone can say they are anything, a writer, or otherwise; they must spend around 10,000 hours doing it. In that case, you can’t call yourself a writer unless you’ve spent an hour a day for 30 years, or three hours a day for 10 years writing - you do the maths. However, don’t let such things put you off, writing is a skill best learned through writing.
Those who wish to write should merely do just that, and write. From poetry, to prose, to news pieces, writing is largely about practice. The other large part of learning to write is reading.
Writers need to read everything and anything, from airport novels to classics, from magazines to ingredients - read everything. By engaging in a variety of sources consciously a writer picks up the range of styles on show and also learns how to differentiate between the good, bad and the ugly.
Recognizing good writing and understanding why it is good is one of the main ways you can improve your own writing. Never imitate good writing, but do try and understand why it is good to read, why it flows and why it is better than the other things you’ve read. If you understand this, then you can take it on board and apply it to your own work.
Learn the Rules
There aren’t as many grammatical rules as you would imagine, though they can be confusing. Purchase a book on grammar; there are numerous books of this sort out there. These books will give you the lowdown on where to use certain forms of punctuation, grammar and can even help with style. As with your general reading, you should read widely from a range of sources. This is because not all grammar is absolute, and a certain amount is down to style. People interchange commas and semi colons, exclamation marks and full stops - explore and find out what suits you and your writing.
Evaluate your Writing
When you write something, look back at it in time. By evaluating your work you can see where you need improvement and in the case of writing retrospective examination can be central. Look back at what you’ve written and take the good and the bad from it.
Mentoring and Feedback
Many people find a mentor, or someone experienced in the field helps. These people can offer you hints and tips and aid your development. You should also encourage constructive criticism and feedback from a number of sources as this will help you and flags any issues with your writing.
Don’t Lose Heart
Almost every writer on the planet has been slated at one stage or another, take it on the shoulder and improve. Though many people put their heart and soul into their creations, editors and publishers have no problems in eating them up and spitting them out. Take it as an exercise in constructive criticism and try and improve.
Though, there is a certain belief writers are temperamental creatures, you should try and avoid such a stigma until you’ve a dozen best sellers. Always remain professional, be polite and respectful as this will aid you as much as good writing.
Remember you’re creating something that’s never been created before, so if you don’t enjoy it, do something else - life’s too short.
Guest post by Jon Quinton