This article first appeared in the publication, "Advanced Christian Writer."
Pursuing a Career in Writing: 10 Ways to Keep the Passion in Your
So--you want to be a writer, huh? You and 100,000 others, and that's just this year alone.
Maybe you have one book in print, with a second on its way. Having already lived through several rejections, and understanding the amount of competition, you tell yourself, "I can do this."
The reality of making it in the publishing world soon envelops the glamour of being an author, and you are left with the hard-facts of the actual work ahead which does not end with the completing of a manuscript.
Feeling overwhelmed? Need something to keep you at the computer? One more chapter, one more submission. How can you keep the passion you have as a writer in your work, among the sometimes harsh and mundane realities of the field? Read on!
1. Write a topic that stimulates your interest. I know that sounds elementary, but if I would attempt to write a western or horror story, I would find it a tedious chore and would probably end up making excuses for not completing the manuscript. I love romantic suspense stories and cannot wait to write whenever the opportunity arises. I also enjoy reading the same which inspires me for future projects.
2. Read everything you can in relation to that subject. If I am working on a murder mystery, I find myself researching everything I can about working a crime scene. Who arrives first? What types of clues might be found? If the story takes place in another state, find out everything about that particular area. One word of caution, don't get so wrapped up in doing the research that you don't begin the manuscript. Write the story and you can always do more research as your story progresses.
3. Diversify your writing skills: if you only write novels and short stories, try writing poems, articles, or reviews. Trying new directions can be both scary and exhilarating. Reading other people's reviews and articles finally helped me to take that step forward and try one on my own. Once I started, I was hooked.
4. Network with other people who are active in their publishing careers. I've met some wonderful people since I began a career in writing. Some only over the Internet, others in person. A successful individual once said, 'over the years we will be influenced the most by the books we read and the people we associate with.' Want to go places with your writing? Hang around people who are making things happen. Be a student and continue to learn everything you can.
5. Do something pertaining to your writing everyday. Whether you are the type of person who can stick to one story, or if you are like me, have several projects you are working on; make certain you get in some writing everyday. I have to admit, as much as I enjoy writing reviews and articles, writing a story is what motivates me the most.
6. Be enthusiastic about your writing. When I first started promoting my books, I had to find a comfortable place for me that I didn't feel as if I was being too "pushy" about my books. Self-promotion is a must for any author. I think the answer is promoting the actual book instead of the author behind the book. If we are enthusiastic about the product in our hands, we can feel as though we have a product our readers will enjoy.
7. Share common interests with other fellow authors; find out what they are doing. This goes beyond the idea of networking, even though that too is important. By sharing common interests on a more personal level, it allows us to keep focused on who we are, not only as authors, but as individuals. It also allows us to take our eyes off ourselves, and help another person promote their book. That is why I enjoy writing reviews, sharing links, and doing interviews for my fellow authors.
8. When out in public, observe how people are acting; listen to how they speak. This will help with character development and dialogue. It is amazing to watch people in public. Their mannerisms, speech, behavior, their style of dress, and the way they carry themselves, all give information about who they are. Including these observations can help bring your characters to life.
9. Analyze how successful other forms of entertainment are in keeping the public's interest and incorporate the style in your writing. My first book, "Shadow of Death" was strongly influenced by the popular television show, The Practice. One technique my husband urged me to use in my stories was to immediately throw the reader into the middle of a crisis to catch their interest. A perfect example of this is Lethal Weapon 2. The action starts immediately as the opening credits are ending.
10. Write with a purpose: include Biblical principals and values in your writing. For me, this is the most important way to keep passion in my writing. It wasn't until I included Christian values in my stories that they gained new meaning and an eternal purpose. I find that showing flaws in some of my characters who are believers, helps the reader to relate with them. How can anyone compare himself or herself to a self-righteous person? However, someone could relate with a character who has areas of their life which needs God's forgiveness, such as pride or selfishness.
Authors are passionate beings. We are inspired by someone greater than ourselves. If we work on keeping these ideas in our writing, the passion will shine through our words.