Most writers dream of being published.
That’s a given. Sure, there are a few people who just love to write with no intention of getting published. That’s fine. I have written many things which will never reach another reader in my lifetime. An example of this is my private journal. I use this to record events in my life, reflecting on how these events have shaped and influenced me. This journal is just for me but it might be read in the future by my children or even my grandchildren, but I doubt if they will have the stamina.
Getting back to my theory that most writers dream of being published I realise that many aspiring writers will inevitably be disappointed. It is a tough gig and getting tougher to break into the established publishing world. Ironically it is also becoming easier – if you consider blogs and ebooks. That is a topic for another day.
Some unpublished writers love the idea of having written. They dream about someday writing a book. The problem is – they don’t realise the effort it takes to write a book. It takes enormous discipline and single-mindedness to finish a book. My latest children’s novel went through 17 drafts. Significant portions of it were rewritten many times. Large slabs were written – only to be deleted later. Most people don’t have that sort of patience. Mind you – I had some help in the discipline side of things. The novel was for my Masters degree and I had two supervisors gently pushing me along, not to mention an insistent wife.
If you want to be a published writer you have to do two things: read widely and write daily.
Oh, I forgot… those two steps may take you five or ten or twenty years – or even a lifetime before you see your name in print.
But, I hear you cry – I don’t have the time to do that. So the only solution is to make the time. You can’t be a published writer with a string of publishing credits if you spend five hours a day watching television. It won’t happen. In fact, there are many things you will have to sacrifice to be successful as a writer. An article I read recently lists 7 things to give up so you have more time to write. The author makes some great points, but for me I’d add several more:
- Severely control how often you access social media. They will suck the time out of your day.
- Sacrifice some sleeping time. On a cold winter’s morning it may be tempting to sleep in. Don’t.
- Housework. Sure, some housework must be given attention, but would you rather have a reasonably clean home and be published – or a spotless home and nothing written.
I’m sure you can think of time and energy thieves in your life.
I haven’t written about blogging on this blog about writing for some time now. Of necessity my blogging activity has been rather limited over the last 12 months because of my studies. Getting my Master of Arts in Creative Writing has taken precedence over blogging. Despite that, my three blogs continue to tick along quite nicely.
In the previous 2 years I was blogging daily. In fact, I was almost a full time blogger, which kind of hindered my other writing. Writing an average of one article per blog per day over two years has had some interesting flow on effects on my general writing.
- I am now far more disciplined in my writing life, especially in the amount of writing done each day.
- I am far more productive, turning out far more words per day than ever before.
- I can write ‘on demand’ and rarely wait for inspiration. The act of writing generates its own inspiration and I can also write a lot faster with fewer mistakes.
- Searching for ideas for my writing is no longer a problem, because constant blogging generates a momentum of its own, with one article often generating many more.
- My writing skills have vastly improved. One of my lecturers commented many times that she can see that my blog writing has helped my other writing develop too.
- I have gained a great deal of satisfaction from the comments of readers and the interaction between readers.
There is no doubt in my mind that blogging can vastly improve your skills as a writer. I’m not the only one who thinks along these lines. Jenny Cromie has written an excellent article as a guest blogger on ProBlogger. It’s worth reading.