Starting Out As A Writer – 5 Things You Should Know
1. Ask yourself what and why. This is a series of questions and challenges for a writer who is trying to shape his manifesto. Why are you writing? Make sure you know what you want to get out of it, from personal satisfaction, accolades and attention of some kind, a big bank account, or maybe you are just venting… What do you like to write? This may not be the same as what you are good at writing, or what others have told you you’re good at. One of the most important things you need to know as a writer are your goals… Are you writing to make money? Then that passion for short stories may not pay your mortgage. You might be better served sharing your knowledge. We all have a wheelhouse: A place where you know things others simply don’t. We all immediately can pinpoint our biggest interests in life. Articles, books, podcasts, and videos focused on those interests can be a launch pad from which to build an income source… Are you simply in it for the love of writing and creating? Then you are more free than the money-focused writer. That path will require a day job unless you strike a main vein. But you will probably be more content in your art.
2. Treat writing as a hiker treats a mountain. I’ve heard from many people who admire the fact that I have written novels and other books. Usually I hear them confess that they have ideas and desires to do the same. They act as if it is magic or takes superhuman will and determination. They don’t seem to process my words when I tell them that anyone can write a book. It does take will, but not as much as they think. Treat writing like eating a meal. You don’t swallow a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich at once, do you? No. You take a bite, chew and swallow. Then you take another bite. Writing is the same–if you want to write a paragraph, or a sentence, in one day, then do that. When I was a teenager, my grandfather gave me a good analogy about saving money. “A dollar doesn’t look like anything and neither do two dollars, nor five bills stacked up together. But twenty dollar bills does. Fifty bills does… Just worry about the single bills, not about the total.” The problem is that people want to gulp the whole meal all at once.
3. Keep things in perspective. With the exception of a few books and writers, almost no one’s works survives longer than a few generations. Name any writer, even the most popular and long lasting, and there are millions of people who have never heard of him. This world is fleeting and vaporous. Don’t write because you want to make a mark on history, because it’s almost certainly not going to happen–not under your own power, anyway. You write because you have a predisposition; you have a love for it. Not because you think it’s going to earn you fame and fortune. Those things are not normally under our control, and it’s fool’s gold, anyway.
4. Not everyone cares about what you are doing. This builds off of the last point–don’t expect the world to come knocking just because you wrote your book. Promote, sell, shout from the rooftops. Be happy or proud of your creation. All well and good. Just remember that a hundred other books were released today, too, and all of those authors are toasting right along with you. I’ve found out the hard way that even those closest to me, who truly do care about me, never end up reading what I wrote. They may have the best intentions, but with all of modern life’s distractions, family duties, and work, people don’t always make time for your imaginations. Even if you sweated it out for years.
5. Other people don’t make you or break you. Put all of your expectations aside and just write. Who cares if your mother doesn’t read your book? What does it matter if your hometown newspaper ignores you because you are published but not a big name? What if your friends think your writing is not that great? Just write anyway. Take joy in creating or sharing your knowledge, whatever that is. Remember that this is a world of talking heads, and other people are usually not the experts that they think they are. One of my favorite expressions ever is, “Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has a couple, and they usually stink.” Take your craft seriously, not yourself.
When crime scene cleaner Charles ‘Yey’ Reyes helps a detective friend solve a Roanoke homicide, he shuns the praise. He quickly changes his mind when his friend is killed while on duty. But this time, his offer to help is rejected by the police captain. Meanwhile, homegrown celebrity Sydney Estes buys a house near town. As the citizens swoon, Yey notices a link between Sydney and a flurry of homicides. Harangued by the captain, local media, and Sydney’s fans, Yey struggles to connect clues which will prove his theories.
Chris DeBrie is an American publisher, author, and artist. He has written hundreds of news and sports articles for a variety of sources. DeBrie has independently published several novels and comic books. He lives in Roanoke, Virginia.