This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
It is a brand new year. 2014! A new start, a blank page.
This year, why not make a vow. This is the year your writing is really going to take off. That little niggle at the back of your mind? The itch you cannot scratch in your head? The wants, the desires, those dreams for your writing? Go for it.
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Become proactive, grab your writing by the scruff of its neck and really make a big push.
I vowed that last year. And let me tell you this, it worked! (I sound like I'm selling you a miracle weight-loss aid, sorry about that.) A year later I'm mightily pleased with my efforts, but not done. Oh no. So, I'm going to go into 2014 with enthusiasm, delight and a willingness to put in a lot of hard work and really, really go for it.
Remember this (I often forget), writing is a long game. When you watch films about writers, read books or even blogs, it makes it look a little glam. Like events happen quickly. The fast moving nature of Twitter and Facebook make that appear true too. Every week I hear happy exciting things about fellow writers. It looks quick and easy. Like they've just waved a magic wand and voila, a story has been sold. Or they've signed with an agent, got a publishing deal or won a writing competition.When you read of these happy achievements, it is so easy to forget that writing is about writing. That these writers have put a lot of work in. One word after another. Every single day. Or on a very regular basis at least. You don't just start writing only to land a book deal a few weeks later.
You have to write. And write.
And the beauty of writing is, you don't need any special equipment. A pencil and paper is all you need. However, if you're the sort of person who, like me, likes to surround themselves with inspiration to make you feel like you're a writer, then here are my recommendations.
*They aren't actually all books. In fact, only one of them is.
1. First, every so often, I watch J.K Rowling A Year in the Life by James Runcie. I still have it saved on my TV box from 2007. I find it inspirational, not because it is JK Rowling and I fancy the wealth she has created from Harry Potter, but because she is a woman and a writer of modern times and therefore is someone I can relate to and be inspired by. A writer with a laptop, coffee stains on her notebook and doubts. Because of her success a documentary has been made about her. But I would be just as inspired, I'm sure, by any writer from modern times. She is a great example of writing being a long game. Her success didn't come overnight. It took seventeen years to write the entire Harry Potter series.
2. Buy a notebook and a pen that is comfortable to write with. Open it. Start writing in it.
3. Novelicious. A wealth of inspiring articles. Sarah's Write Your Novel series, Anna's Secret Dreamworld of an Aspiring Author (start from the beginning to see her incredible journey) and Cesca's Beat the Block videos. Trawl the vaults. Be inspired. Pick that notebook up, start writing and join in with the Novelicious Word Race, Tuesdays at 7pm on Twitter.
4. Maybe you've got an entire novel written. Maybe you've been collecting rejection slips. Many of us have been there. The question is, do you wait for the rejection slips to keep coming in? Or do you become proactive and do something about it? Maybe one avenue to explore would be self-publishing. This seems like a new development in the publishing industry, but Beatrix Potter self-published her first book. More recently so did Mel Sherratt and Kirsty Greenwood – both have now gone on to be traditionally published. Don't know where to start? Check out Catherine Ryan Howard's blog and her book, Self Printed.
5. Get professional. The Writers and Artists Yearbook 2014 is a must. If you're looking for an agent or publisher, find out what they're looking for, what their specialities are. Address your letters to a person and not a sir or madam. Do not fall at the first hurdle by failing to do your research.
6. Yes, six! (It's a bonus for the New Year!) Enter competitions, enrol on courses, find a mentor. Get your manuscript professionally edited. Write a blog, get online. Don't wait for the offers to come rolling in. Go out there and find opportunities. Write for other outlets. Network. And remember, sometimes you might have to take a circular route or even a zigzag route to get there. Open your mind. Act professional and be professional. Treat yourself as a professional writer.