I’m short on time today, so outside of some small expansion on my points, I’m going to keep this brief and give you a list of the Top 7 things I wish I knew before I became a professional writer. Phew! I’m sure this list could be much longer since I knew absolutely nothing before I went into self-publishing. If it weren’t for a couple of mentors, I might still be blissfully unaware of how self-publishing can be a lucrative way to support oneself. Here are the things I wish I knew before I got started
1) start earlier
I wish someone had told me to just START when I had the first inkling of what I wanted to do. I got started writing 2 years after my mentor tried to put me on to the whole thing and I missed an entire era of much easier money in self-publishing. The best time to start is now is DEFINITELY true of writing.
2) solve “writers block” early
The difference between a professional writer and an amateur can be found in their entire attitude towards writer’s block. Amateurs use “writer’s block” as an excuse. Professionals recognize that whether you have writer’s block or not, you have to find a way to push through it and write. Professionals realize that you can train yourself to be more creative and have more creative ideas. This is not a fixed skill! This is also something you should solve early on so you keep having good ideas.
3) network professionally
Online networking has made a lot of difference for me from keeping tabs on industry changes to getting helpful tips and reliable subcontractors. The sooner you can join a real professional network, the better.
4) you will get over bad reviews
Amateurs think negative reviews are the end of the world. Professionals realize that there will always be someone who has something negative to say about your writing. Even Harry Potter has some horrid reviews, scalping JK Rowling and dragging her name through the mud. It’s impossible to write without criticism whether it’s justified or not. You must get over it! And you will!
5) the naysayers are wrong (but not for the reason you think)
Most people who speak negatively about the money making potential of writing or self-publishing do not make money in writing or self-publishing. While some gatekeepers like to think it’s impossible for anyone new to break in, these folks are rare. Most professional writers who make money self publishing are aware that it is possible for anyone who puts their mind to it.
6) editing counts
I used to hate editing and do everything under the sun to avoid it. I learned that editing is actually just as important a process as writing. Even if you have to pay someone, exchange labor, or get a friend to help you, editing is crucial and counts for so much.
7) writing should be fun, even when it’s work
Usually when you’re writing fiction, if you’re bored that means the reader is bored. This is especially true in commercial fiction, which I write. Writing should be fun. Your stories should be fun. A good measure of whether you have a fun story will be whether or not you are having fun while writing it.
What do you think of these tips? Is there anything else you wonder about writing professionally or self-publishing?