So You Wanna Be a Writer

Have you always wanted to start that career as an author but had no idea where to start?

Great News! Now you too, can join the ranks of the world’s most elite authors. All you have to do is follow these ten simple steps and soon YOU could be rubbing elbows with the likes of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and J.K. Rowling.

You lucky cat.

So here you have them. Got your pen and paper? Excellent. You’ll want to start right away!

10 INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT STEPS to Becoming an Author

If you’re going to be an author, first you have to look the part. Spend a few minutes in the mirror each day practice your signature ‘artists’ look. Go pensive, surly, or wistful–whatever you’d like. Except smiley. Suffering artists do.not.smile

You’re going to need it for your adoring fans to fawn all over your work. Remember, exclusivity is key when deciding on your author’s name, and an ideal pen will preferably include one or more initials. Think X. Martin S. Calderwell IV or N.S.I. Quimby.  No room for plain Joes or Julies here!

Simply put, if you do not have some sort of caffeine addiction you cannot be a writer. (Jury is also out on whether or not you’re a real human being–I’m onto you aliens!) So do whatever you need to start ramping up  that caffeine dependency. Repeat after me: The more you crave, the more they’ll rave!

Once you’ve gotten yourself successfully addicted, you’ll need a dealer. I’m not one to discriminate between coffee shops, but I’ll tell you this: if your venue of choice doesn’t automatically make your double espresso nonfat soy latte with two pumps of vanilla and a half shot of virgin’s blood when you walk in the door, you haven’t made it yet.

No successful author has ever been published without first reading the entire work of Webster’s Dictionary. If you’re going to be slinging words for a living you need to know them all. For extra credit, consider working in the Thesaurus. Heck to be safe, you’ll probably want to invest in the Farmer’s Almanac.

Seriously. The Comprehensive List of Writing Guides is a good place to startNO WRITING is allowed until you’ve read them all. You can’t possibly come up with words of value unless you’ve invested thousands of dollars and taken instruction from everyone under the sun. Especially cousin Stu who got a poem published that one time and now has a How-To Guide on Amazon. Solid Gold.

You’re almost ready to write. ALMOST. Don’t start typing just yet. First you need to don on your best character costume and spend a day or two living the life of your character. Talk like your character, walk like your character, BE your character. To up the ante, mess with your barista and order your character’s coffee choice. That’ll keep ’em on their toes! Once you’ve become one with your MC you are ready to write!

So you’ve finally started writing. Don’t get too comfy! Give yourself a few good paragraphs, then go set up your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and heck- bring back Myspace! You’re going to  need something to keep your mind busy when you hit that Writer’s Block, and there is no better distraction than all those notifications. Don’t worry about setting up timelines to stick to or overdoing social media time. You’ll know when to stop. All the real authors do.

Before you can publish your work, you are going to need an official mascot. I recommend a feline companion. They will be your constant companion as you write and will always show their support by wanting to be as close to your work as possible. Laying across the keyboard, jumping in your face, meowing loudly while you try and fill that plot hole? Some people call those distractions, but real writers know it’s teamwork.

Editing Schmediting. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You’ve got a golden first chapter? Send it in! Your book is done? It’s ready to rock. Once you’ve nabbed your publisher, they’ll work out the rest of the kinks. You’ve been signed and are now basically guaranteed success and riches. Welcome to insta-fame! You’ve earned it!

If you couldn’t tell, this list is NOT an all-access pass to the big leagues. (In fact, it might be better titled: How to NOT Become an Author) Sorry. But hopefully it made you giggle a bit!

The truth is, authoring is hard work. You are creating new lives and worlds entirely from what’s inside your mind. There are going to be long days, hard days, and just all around terrible days, but if you stick with it, it will be so worth it because of what you will create.

And that my friends, is magic.

So, while I can’t just hand over a super formula to becoming an author I can tell you what to really do, and that is WRITE. Of all the things you need to do to become an author it is to sit down and write.

Write whatever comes to your mind, just get your words out there! Have fun with it, go crazy! Writing doesn’t have to be serious all the time (as this article may suggest). Make it something you enjoy doing until it’s something you feel like you just can’t live without. Because even the best story can’t be told without the words that build it up.

Your story needs YOU. Your thoughts, your passion, your words. Even if you feel like it’s garbage, push through. Bad days may come and go, but once your words have been published and printed, that’s forever.

JM Sullivan

Teacher by day, award-winning author by night, J.M. Sullivan is a fairy tale fanatic who loves taking classic stories and turning them on their head. She has a passion for the writing community and loves empowering and encouraging other authors on social media with #AuthorConfession. When she’s not buried in her laptop, you can find her watching scary movies with her husband, playing with her kids, or serving homage to her cats. Although known to dabble in adulting, J.M. is a big kid at heart who still believes in true love, magic, and most of all, the power of coffee. If you would like to connect with J.M., you can find her on her website www.jmsullivanbooks.com, on social media at @jmsullivanbooks, or by joining the fun at #AuthorConfession--she’d love to hear from you.

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