I think I knew before I could even read that I wanted to be a writer. My mom often tells the story of a trip to storytime at the library when I looked up at her and told her that one day I wanted to have my own book sitting on one of those shelves. Even in third grade when everyone else had their hearts set on one day becoming a teacher or a nurse, I simply wanted to be a writer. I think I wrote my first book in sixth grade. Of course, looking back that particular work was nothing to brag on, but I was on my way. I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to become a writer.
In high school, I became a reporter for the school paper, but my need to create fictional characters, places, and story ideas continued to grow.
After I graduated high school this need to become a writer only grew stronger. The library became my writing school. I read every thing I could get my hands on that had anything to do with writing stories, author's lives, and the publishing industry. Even a couple of the library assistants joked that I should have my mail forwarded there since so much of my time was spent there doing research, reading, and jotting down ideas in my notebook.
However, no matter how hard I tried, I could never figure out exactly how to get started on my path to becoming a writer until someone gave me an important piece of advice that I've never forgotten: Writer's Write! Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, not always so.
However, there are some guidelines that may help as you travel down the sometimes bumpy road of becoming a writer. (They have sure saved me time and time again!)
1. Just do it! That is the best piece of advice that I was ever given as a writer. Stop making excuses! Finishing that story must become a primary goal for you.(It must come before the dishes, your favorite weekly sitcom, etc.)
2. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Think of them as merely learning blocks paving your way to completing your goal. (Don't give up!)
3.Write every chance you get. You must be prepared to write wherever you are. (Keep a notebook in your car to write during those early morning traffic jams, keep one in your desk at work, take a notebook along to doctor's office appointments, your son's soccer practice, etc.) Just don't write while driving down the road! The police officer will find it hard to believe that you ran the past two red lights just because you got wrapped up in the moment of finishing that passionate love scene you were writing before it could slip your mind!)
4. Read anything you can get your hands on. Read, Read, Read!
5. Watch and listen to people. Ordinary people make fascinating characters.
6. Close your eyes next time you listen to your favorite soap opera. This will help you learn proper pacing of dialogue.
7. Make realistic goals for yourself and reward yourself for your achievements.
8. And most importantly: YOU MUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!