Learning how to bake bread was one of my dreams. It was one of those things I desperately wanted to learn how to do, but I had no idea where to even begin. One day, I realized I wasn’t going to learn how to make bread by just reading about it. I had to put on my apron, get out the ingredients and get my hands full of flour. And sometimes, that’s what we need to do as writers. We need to dig in and commit ourselves to our writing.
If you want to be successful at publishing a novel, there’s a few key facts you need to know before you start writing. You need to have time to commit to the process of writing. You need to be creative in storytelling, and confident in your skills. And you need to know people.
Commitment is important because a novel won’t get written by itself. You have to pour hours and hours into writing, revising, and making that story perfect. If you write 10 words a day, and you’re writing an 80,000 word novel it’s going to take a very long time to finish. It’s possible, but it won’t be a very fun process. If you write at least 1000 words a day, or more, that process will still take a while. But do the math. You’ll be finished in a lot less time, and you may still have your sanity intact.
How creative are you? Do your words flow when you’re telling a story to a friend? Or is it difficult to share anything? There’s times when I’m editing someone’s work when I will be completely and utterly amazed at their storytelling. It’s breathtaking reading those words, seeing how the writer has strung the words together. And then there’s other times when it can be frustrating for me as an editor, reading someone’s work that isn’t ready to be published. Deep down inside you know where you stand. Be confident in your writing, and show it by using the language. Use synonyms for the word “look” and don’t be afraid to remove “like” or “that” from your vocabulary. Be creative!
The last element you need is people. You need to have your own network of readers and supporters. The profession of writing is not something you can do alone. Yes, the concept of your novel may be your own idea. Even the actual writing of the story may be completely on your own. But most successful writers have friends they can bounce ideas off of when they’re questioning themselves, friends to ask their opinion on what they have written, and share with them their hopes and dreams of being a successful writer.
Family support is very important, too. Your family needs to be aware you are serious about writing. Because if they know what you are doing is meaningful to you, they will be more understanding and respectful of when you need to close the door on them for hours at a time. They may even bring you food occasionally. When you’ve completed your novel, and you’re ready to shop it around (after it’s been revised and fully edited of course), those supporters may be the help you need to market your novel to the masses.
Commitment, Creativity, and Compassion. That’s all you need to get started. I believe in you. Do you?