1. How do I become a writer?
Some people write every day without fail. If you can do that, great. If not, do the best you can. Try your hand at various types of writing to see what interests you most.
Read what others write. Study their use of language, of technique, of style. Read for fun but also train yourself to read analytically.
I become a writer by connecting with other writers
One of the best ways to connect, as a newbie writer, is to find a writing group near you. Ask questions about their purpose, their schedule, their skill levels. Most groups are open to new people and willing to share and help one another.
I become a writer by continuing to learn
Besides a local writing group, there are usually workshops and conferences you can attend where you can meet other writers and learn with and from them. Online courses are everywhere on the web, so check into those as well.
I become a writer by setting writing goals and establishing priorities
How badly do you want to write? Ask yourself the difficult questions and decide how much time and effort you are willing and able to set aside for this. Be committed.
I become a writer by listening to the Spirit of God within me
Perhaps you feel a call or at least a draw into the writing world. Listen to God’s Spirit within you and obey. God will lead you if you are willing to step out and follow.
2. Begin with a Plan
I worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from this excellent resource. It’s a stretching experience that can help draw us out of our respective shells. If you’re looking for a strictly Christian workbook of similar purpose, try The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer.
3. What and how do I write?
What do you like to read? Research that particular genre and try it out.
Here’s a fun exercise: Write the Cinderella story in your genre of choice (romance, news story, mystery, fashion column, etc.)
4. Organize your work
Some people need outlines, charts, timelines, maps and other methods to organize their writing. I do. Others keep a lot of things in their heads then forge ahead to see what happens. Experiment to see which category you fit into, or how you can combine the ideas to work best for you.
5. Use Available Resources
There are countless writing books that can help a newbie writer. Browse through the Writer’s Digest Books for a sample. Some of my favorites are:
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
Plot by Ansen Dibell
Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress
Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble
Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell
This point was not in my original workshop! I didn’t know anything about social media then, and I don’t know very much about it now, but I am learning. If I can do it, so can you. There’s no getting around the fact that social media is necessary for writers today. When you consider it, social media sites help you to write, to read, to connect, to learn, to set goals and priorities, and even to be encouraged spiritually. We can hide or we can use this resource for the glory of God through our writing.
* Special tip: I’ve been learning how wonderful social media is for an introvert. I can meet new people and not have to go out, dress up or speak off the cuff. I can also promote and support other writers, which brings me immediate response and recognition. It’s a win-win situation.
7. Keep a Balanced Perspective
We all start somewhere. There will always be those who write better than we do, and there will always be those who are not as advanced as we are. As long as we allow our Creator to teach us about creativity, we will remember that it is not of ourselves, it is a gift.