This post is for the person who has always wanted to write but hasn’t started yet. Or the person who might have started writing something a couple of times, but never actually finished a short story. Or maybe even for the person who casually writes fiction, but hasn’t gotten serious about it yet.
It’s five things you should do right now once you have decided to start taking your writing seriously.
1. Turn off the TV.
I know that sounds harsh, but you have a decision to make. Do you want to see your work in print, or do you want to melt more brain cells on another rerun of The Big Bang Theory. When it comes to writing, time is your most important resource. Do not waste it on things that don’t enhance your writing in one way or another. I’m not saying don’t have fun, just have targeted fun. If you write horror, for example, there’s no shame in watching the occasional horror movie. Just don’t overdo it.
2. Set boundaries.
This one is more important than you might think. You want to write, correct? There’s a whole world of people out there that don’t. And they don’t get it. They have no idea how important your writing is. If you want to succeed at it, you’re going to need to learn to tell friends no, you can’t go out; you need to finish your short story. Your family, friends, roommates, and whoever else will have to learn to understand that you will need time to write. And that’s on you. Because, like I said, they won’t get it.
3. Make new friends.
I’m not saying ditch your old friends, but since most of your normal friends don’t get your writing, who can you talk to about it with? Your new writer friends, of course. This is actually easier than it sounds. Once you’ve writing for a while, you’ll be surprised how many other writers you’ll meet. (And I’ll admit, some might even be those normal friends I just warned you about.) There are so many ways to meet other writers. Go to a writers conference or science fiction convention, join an online critique group, set up a separate twitter account just for writing and interacting with people, check your local libraries and craiglist for writing groups. Those are just a few ways.
4. Invest in an alarm clock.
What separates published writers from non-published writers? The drive to stay up late and get up early. Most likely you’re either working full time or going to school full time, or staying home with your kids full time. You have to squeeze in every extra hour or minute you can to get your writing done. No excuses. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 AM every day for over a year. It sucks, but it has to be done. The bright side it that when you’re consistently sleep deprived you no longer have to worry about having trouble sleeping at night. I usually fall asleep about 2.5 seconds before my head hits the pillow.
5. Set daily writing goals.
It’s imperative to have a clearly defined goal when you sit down to write. For some, that’s a daily word count goal. For me, it’s something different every day. Some days it is a word count goal, other days it’s to reread and resubmit a short story. Other days it’s rewrite a chapter for a novel. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, but make sure you have it planned ahead of time. Because if you sit down at your computer without a plan, you know what happens? You lose an hour to facebook and random web surfing before you even knew what hit you.
So there you have it. Do this stuff and get to writing.
Am I missing anything? Leave a comment and let me know.