Long ago, a career in writing was the province of a select few. These writers, such as Ernest Hemingway for example, had a huge influence over the style of writing, journalism and fiction genre of their time Hemingway was a leader who every aspiring writer followed.
Today, almost anyone can sit at a computer, self-publish an e-book, upload a blog or create a website and call themselves a writer. Unless you're going for a high up position in-house where qualifications will be needed, there's nothing legally wrong with stating that you're a writer if you are in fact not. Many writers begin their careers, and do extremely well, without having a spectacular education record to their name such as author JK Rowling who created the universally famous Harry Potter series. Rowling did take entrance exams into Oxford University, but was not accepted. She moved onto the University of Exeter where a professor describes her as being a quietly competent student who gave the appearance of doing what was necessary. Rowling herself says she remembers doing very little work and instead much preferred to spend time reading Tolkien or Dickens and listening to The Smiths. The Harry Potter series was first created on a manual typewriter = she began with little, look where she is now!
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A writer can be someone who writes to earn money, or writes as a leisure activity. What kind of writer are you? Do you write to live, or live to write? Whichever category you fit into, there are endless ways in which you can become a better writer. Here are a few ideas for you to try to either enjoy your pastime more thoroughly or increase your exposure and your income!
You can't write well when there's distractions all around you. The mind needs quiet and to be relaxed in order for your thoughts to run freely and for your creativity to be allowed time to shine. Find the best time of day for your writing and write! Nothing should be able to interfere; take the phone off the hook, shut the curtains if needed and ignore your emails.
Its much better to write an entire draft without looking back, than to tweak each sentence as you write it. The more tweaking, editing and messing about you do during your writing, the less your mind can focus on the actual piece. Theres an old writers rule which goes like this: Have the courage to write badly and it's something I stick to. A master piece is what you aim for as the finished production, not after each sentence or paragraph. This will mean that you have a substantial body of work before you need to worry about the necessary changes. Build your foundation and then move on to the editing stage.
When someone tells you something is wrong, or doesn't work for them they are almost always right. When they tell you how to fix things, they are almost always wrong. You should be open to peoples opinions but not necessarily their suggestions. This is because writers are unique, they come from many different angles and they have their own style, suddenly writing in a different way is an unnatural thing to do.
Before you submit, upload or publish a piece it's important to have received some impartial feedback. This can come from friends or family, but is more likely to be honest when the source is someone unknown and this is where websites that have forums or are specifically for writers and readers (such as www.wikinut.com can be handy however, never upload too much and you should always plan to rewrite the piece slightly, due to the loss of royalties if you choose to go down this path).
The fame and success of others can be taken as a great encouragement for yourself. This article here about authors who we're rejected but made it big is a great inspirational piece.
Spending hours and hours writing is counter productive. Your brain is a muscle and just like all the others in your body it tires, when this happens it doesn't perform as well. Imagine an athlete beginning their days training, then consider how they'd be if they trained all day and we're still attempting to do so much hours on hard to do because this doesn't happen, they know when to cut off and when their bodies have had enough. A writer should know the same for their trade muscle!
Writers block is known to all in this game, it's the most frustrating thing and it can literally make you want to give up. The thing is that this is totally normal and even the most successful writers admit to experiencing this, routinely. The worst thing you can do is to try to work through it it won't happen. Maybe you will squeeze a few hundred words out, but the quality of them won't be high. Step away from your desk, go for a walk, take a bath, bake a cake, meditate, listen to music or just enjoy some quiet time. This opens up the gap you need for the words to flow, as well as relieving the tensions and stresses that we're contributing to the block.
If you want to write a book, then the way to do this is to actually write a book. A pen can be useful, typings good. Put words on a page and see what you come up with. Some of the best ideas will come when you're not thinking, you could be having a bath, at work, on the toilet and have a thought which will produce the next big thing. Or you could just enjoy your bath, work, or, erm, toilet.
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