By Kimberley Woodhouse
The best way to become a real writer is… you guessed it: to write. You might have one thousand amazing ideas but you’ve flitted from one to another and never finished one of them. My suggestion is to keep a journal of all of those fabulous ideas and then sit down and focus on one. Write. Write. Write. There’s no substitution for it. Nobody can do it for you. It won’t come by osmosis. You have to sit down, be disciplined, and write.
Tear it apart, have your critique group tear it apart, then write some more. And then finish that story.
Guess what? After that? Write another one.
Study the Craft.
This isn’t something you do only as a newbie. This is continuous. Why? Because our craft is constantly changing-growing-moving. It’s a beautiful thing. And we get stuck in the mud when we don’t study the craft. So keep learning. Always. Never stop.
Take that class. Go to that conference. Read that new craft book. Highlight, underline, dog-ear, take notes. Whatever you have to do to gather knowledge. There are so many wonderful books on different formulas and structures that will help you figure out what kind of writer you are. No matter if you are a pantser, a plotter, or something in between, study the craft. Find what works for you. ACFW is a wealth of information for this step. Then go back to step one.
The Publishing business is not a fast one. If you thought it was or you want it to be… you might want to consider a different field. There are no guarantees on timelines of when things will happen for you. And that’s okay. If you rush it? You’re missing out. Because there’s so much that we learn during this step. Even after you are contracted, you have to be patient. With so many different areas. Waiting for the cover reveal. Waiting for the edits. Waiting for reviews. Waiting for the release. Waiting, waiting, waiting. So… be patient. And of course, the song from The Music Machine just sprang into my mind, “Have patience, have patience, don’t be in such a hurry…”
What do you do during this step? Go back to steps one and two. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This is the most important step. And oft-times the most neglected. Don’t wait another minute for this step. Then go back, and you guessed it, do steps one through three.
Now of course, there’s no actual magic formula for becoming a “real writer.” But I want to encourage you to think about the four simple steps above. Do them. Over and over and over. Stop doubting yourself and before you know it? You’ll realize you are a real writer.
After twenty-something published books, there are still days I doubt myself. Then my husband will point to the shelf holding all my published books, then he’ll walk me over to my awards shelf, and then point to all the certificates hanging on the wall, or remind me of all the reader letters I’ve received over the years. He’ll then give me a hug and say, “Go write.”
Yep. The steps work.How to be a REAL writer in Four Easy Steps @kimwoodhouse #ACFWBlogs #writetips #amwriting #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Carol-Award winning Kimberley Woodhouse is a CBA and ECPA best-selling and multi-award-winning author of more than twenty books which have earned her many accolades including Christian Retailing’s Top Pick and Publisher’s Weekly starred reviews. A lover of history and research, she often gets sucked into the past and then her husband has to lure her out with chocolate. Connect with Kimberley: https://kimberleywoodhouse.com