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How would I go about being a writer?

I’m looking to be a writer. What would I have to do to be a great writer? When is the best time to try and publish something?

Thank you comment icon Hi Shirley! Great to have you on CareerVillage! It's awesome that you're thinking about these big questions in life! I wanted to let you know that I updated your main question because it wasn't career-aligned and swapped it out for one of your other questions about writing. I'll email you with more info. Thanks! yoonji KIM, Admin

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Asia’s Answer

I'm glad you're interested in becoming a writer. Writing is a wonderful way to express yourself, share your ideas, and connect with others. However, writing is also a skill that requires practice, dedication, and feedback. Here are some steps you can take to become a writer and improve your work:

- Read a lot. Reading is one of the best ways to learn from other writers, expand your vocabulary, and discover different styles and genres. Try to read widely and pay attention to how the authors use language, structure, dialogue, and other elements of writing.
- Write every day. The only way to get better at writing is to write regularly and consistently. Set aside some time every day to write something, whether it's a journal entry, a blog post, a short story, or a poem. Don't worry too much about the quality or the outcome; just focus on getting your thoughts on paper or screen whatever works best for you
- Start a blog. A blog is a great platform to showcase your writing, build an audience, and get feedback. You can write about anything that interests you, such as your hobbies, opinions, experiences, or goals. You can also use your blog to meet other writers and readers, and learn from their comments and suggestions.
- Enroll in an online writing course. An online writing course can provide you with structured lessons, assignments, and feedback from instructors and peers. You can choose a course that suits your level, genre, and goals, and learn at your own pace. An online writing course can also help you develop discipline, confidence, and creativity as a writer.
- Find a place to get honest critiques. One of the best ways to improve your writing is to get constructive criticism from others who can point out your strengths and weaknesses, offer suggestions for improvement, and encourage you to keep going. You can join a writing group, an online forum, or a website where you can share your work and receive feedback from other writers or readers.
- Start journaling. Journaling is a personal and therapeutic form of writing that can help you explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Journaling can also help you develop your voice, style, and perspective as a writer. You can journal about anything that matters to you, such as your dreams, goals, or challenges.
Are you meaning the best time to publish a book?

I hope my answer helped you in some way 🙂
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Jack’s Answer

Hi, Shirley! Fellow writer, here! I'll echo just about everyone else on here and say the best place to start is reading, reading, READING! It doesn't matter what you read. It doesn't matter if what you read is good or bad (although I would suggest you try reading more good writing than bad!). Every word you read will teach you something. What to do, what not to do, what you like, what you don't like...soon you'll find yourself gravitating to the type(s) of writing that excite you. That's step one.

Once you have an idea of the direction you'd like your writing to go (Do you want to write books? Fiction or non-fiction? Do you want to be a journalist? What kind? Do you want to write for businesses? etc.), then you can start honing your craft. There are classes available for just about any kind of writing you'd like to do. And if you can't figure out exactly what you want to do with your writing skills, that's okay, too! Try a little bit of everything. Write an article for your school paper. Write a short story or poem on your own time. Just write! For anyone who wants to be a writer, reading and writing (on your own) are the most important exercises you can do.

Once you've written something from start to finish, have someone (or many someones) read it and give you feedback. Maybe it's a friend or family member. Maybe it's a teacher you like. It doesn't have to be someone who is also a writer. You just want to know how your writing is interpreted by others or how it makes them feel. Any feedback is good (and important) feedback!

Writing can be a wonderful career, but it can also be a delightful hobby. There's nothing like filling a blank screen (or piece of paper) with your thoughts. Regardless of where your career takes you, I encourage you to keep on writing!
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Ranelle’s Answer

Hi Shirley

The best time to start is now. Develop a solid understanding of the technical aspects of writing any style you choose. Then write, write and write some more. There are ways to build your credentials that you can do now, no matter your age. Blogs, submit articles for publication on different subjects, poetry, contests and many more. If you come out of high school having already built up your credentials you will be that much further ahead in trying to achieve your goals. Whether its college or another path it will only help to start now. There's some great advice above. I am a screenwriter. I learned that every NO leads me closer to the YES! I also believe if the doors don't open for you, open your own. That lead me to making my own films from my screenplays. That opened doors. Wish you all the success you desire! Ranelle
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Afolabi’s Answer

Don't relent on knowledge and skills acquisition. Becoming a great writer takes practice, dedication, and continuous improvement. Focus on these steps: read widely, write consistently, seek feedback, edit rigorously, and never stop learning. As for publishing, the right time varies. Once your work feels polished and you've revised it thoroughly, consider seeking opportunities to submit or self-publish. Remember, the journey is unique for every writerYou will get better everyday
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Talia’s Answer

Practice makes perfect! There are many online avenues where you can write and post stories for people to read for free. They are a great way to get feedback to see where to improve, and to practice your writing. Taking courses can be beneficial. I recommend you explore both traditional and independent publishing routes to determine what is best for you.
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Kelly’s Answer

Hi Shirley,

So awesome you want to write! Everyone here has already given great advice. I wholeheartedly agree with reading widely, writing regularly, and getting feedback. Something I want to add that can assist you with all of the above is finding some kind of writing community. You can begin to do that simply by signing up for some kind of creative writing class. Maybe your high school or college has one, or there is an after school club at the library or as part of some kind of extracurricular program. It might be an online program. The point is a class or club is a great way to 1) establish deadlines for yourself and hold yourself accountable to bringing some kind of writing to the table every week (can't stress enough how motivating deadlines like this can be 2) get feedback on your writing - it's so crucial to hear how other people are experiencing your writing and see your own blindspots so you can begin to make more critical choices - it's also a great practice to develop your skills in kindly critiquing others' work 3) expose yourself to resources others may have access to - for example, people you meet in writing groups may have little breadcrumbs to share in terms of places their submitting, other clubs they're a part of or other programs they're signing up for 4) make friends that can become a part of your writing community after the class or club is over - don't be afraid to ask someone if they want to exchange emails and continue sharing writing, or to ask if anyone wants to keep meeting up after the club is over - keep that accountability going! 5) validate the writing life! sometimes it can feel like the writing life is something the rest of the world doesn't understand, so knowing other writers is HUGE in terms of validating that this is a totally worthwhile way to be spending your time and that you're not alone in your goals!! Keep walking your path and know that there are others out there walking a similar path and sometimes there is nothing more rewarding than connecting with those special kindreds.

Happy scribbling to you! <3
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Amalya’s Answer

Hi Shirley,

To become a good author, you need to have great creative and writing skills, powerful imagination, and deep thinking abilities. You should read as much as you can, write as much as you can since practice makes perfect.
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Roger’s Answer

Hey Shirley,

Asia has given you a lot of great advise. While you're doing all of this reading and writing, one skill that can be valuable is Observation.

Learn to be an observer of everything and everyone. Another way of saying it - become aware. Watch people: their facial expressions, how they dress, how they talk, what they say and how they say it, and when. This can be fun when you’re around a group of people. At a party, an airport, a restaurant, at school... Knowing what they are saying isn’t important. Imagine what you *think* they are saying by how they are saying it - thier body language, how the other person(s) reacts as they listen.

Where are they looking, what are their hands doing, their body, their face? Are they frowning, do they touch their earring, play with their hair? Then craft a story in your head about them. You don’t need pen and paper, or a computer. This is a mental exercise.

Be an observer of nature and animals. Be aware of the shape and movement of clouds on a breezy day, then describe it. What else does it remind you of? What does the air smell like on a rainy day? Can you describe that in words?

Ever gone outside and thought it’s going to rain? You saw the gray clouds or smelled the rain. What is that smell? Think about it. Describe it. And your description can be as crazy, or descriptive as you like: “the rain smelled like a dirty old sock”, “the rain smelled clean and refreshing, cleansing my soul”.

And what do you think that blue bird thinks about the rain? Observe and be aware. And the girl on the park bench, hugging her legs. She’s watching the bird too. What is she thinking about? Then conjure up a story about her in your head.

Observe with your ears, eyes, touch, and smell. Be aware of everything around you, and how things - people, animals, nature - interact with each other in various situations. And when you read a story, observe how the writer describes those things, or leaves them out.

Talking about reading, one of my favorite stories I first read in school was “Silent Snow, Secret Snow” by Conrad Aiken. How he used snow to emote a feeling, in me anyway, and the boy. Check it out.

So I guess my contribution to you, Shirley, use your senses and be an observer of everything. Make up stories, little ditties, or big ditties about it. If it’s a big ditty write it in your notebook, goof around with it until it becomes a short story, with a throat grabbing beginning, an engaging middle and a thought provoking, or otherwise satisfying ending.

And don’t worry if you think it’s garbage, every writer in the entire world has felt at some time that their work was garbage, once or many times in their life.

Have you ever heard the slogan “Just Do It!”? And have fun doing it. Another tip, which I alluded to earlier: write with pen, or pencil and paper. There’s something magical that goes on in the brain when you do. Oh, and another tip: don’t worry about punctuation and grammar for now. Just get it on the page, which Asia mentioned as well, and move on.

A very great author, Cormac McCarthy (recently deceased) didn’t follow the rules of grammar too often. And he wrote award-winning books. My favorite is “The Road”. Check it out.

Another thing about reading ... study how writers write, how they craft the story, how the words “sound”, yes, read it out loud, listen to the audio book - over and over if it’s a favorite of yours. I didn't that with the book "Dune". I loved the writing style, the descriptions, punctuation. I'd listen to it to and from work, studying it. How it sounded. Then I'd go back to portions in the book I'd just listened to and saw how it was written. I'd read it out load as I looked at the page. The narrator was a british man, which gave it a different feeling. The way the words were pronounced.

Reading is music. Punctuation: commas, periods, colons, exclamations, dashes, ellipsis, and the lack of punctations make up how the sentence, the paragraph, sounds ... how it flows ... how it pauses ... how it abruptly stops you! Did you feel that?

I could go on forever. But we must move on.

If you’ve got something you really like, and want to share it, then do a re-write - a second draft. Polish it up then. I know of a writer who wrote 12 drafts before she shared her story. My second novel turned out to be very long, and now I’ve decided to dive back in for a 9th draft - although several people have read the earlier drafts and liked it. Nevertheless!

Ok Shirley. I’m gonna finally sum up.

Being a professional Observer, and an Awareness Master, are two valuable professions you can achieve without any formal, or informal, education. They will be a huge database of resources you’ll have on hand as you craft your stories.

It's a journey Shirley. A fun and rewarding one, even if you don't become a best-selling author.

Please let me know if you have any other questions about anything. I'm here to help.

Ciao for now.

Roger
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Shirley,

Unleashing Your Inner Writer: A Detailed Guide to Success

The journey to becoming a writer is a blend of honing your writing abilities, gaining practical experience, and consistently undertaking new writing endeavors. Here's a detailed guide to set you on the right path:

1. Be a voracious reader: The path to becoming a proficient writer begins with being a passionate reader. Reading a diverse range of genres and authors can enhance your understanding of various writing styles, enrich your vocabulary, and spark your creativity.

2. Identify your preferred genre: Determine if your interest lies in fiction, non-fiction, journalism, screenwriting, poetry, or any other writing style. This will enable you to customize your learning and practice to align with your specific preferences.

3. Sharpen your skills: Dedicate time to master the basics of writing, including grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction. Consider enrolling in writing courses or workshops, attending literary events, or joining a local writing group for constructive feedback and support.

4. Maintain a regular writing schedule: Cultivate a disciplined writing routine to enhance your skills. Allocate specific time slots each day or week to work on varied projects like short stories, articles, or blog content.

5. Build a portfolio: As you generate writing samples, compile them into a portfolio. This will serve as a showcase of your work when seeking publishing or job opportunities.

6. Gain practical experience: Seek opportunities to contribute to school newspapers, local periodicals, or digital platforms. This will aid in portfolio development and networking within the industry.

7. Seek a mentor: Establish a connection with an experienced writer who can offer guidance and advice throughout your writing journey. They can also assist you in understanding the publishing process and introduce you to industry veterans.

8. Submit your work for publication: Identify publications that resonate with your genre and adhere to their submission guidelines. Be ready for potential rejection and use it as a learning curve to enhance your writing.

9. Network with fellow writers: Participate in writing conferences, workshops, and events to engage with other writers and industry experts. Such relationships can lead to valuable collaborations and learning experiences.

10. Stay updated on industry trends: Keep abreast of the latest trends and developments in the publishing world by following relevant news, blogs, and publications. This will enable you to make informed decisions about your career trajectory and objectives.

11. Cultivate resilience: Given that writing is often a challenging and competitive domain, it's crucial to foster resilience and persistence in dealing with rejection or criticism. Remain focused on your objectives and continue refining your skills to thrive as a writer.

As for the optimal time to publish, there's no universal answer as it depends on factors like the nature of writing, target readership, and the medium of publication. However, here are some general guidelines:

- For periodicals (newspapers or magazines), publishing schedules are often dictated by deadlines. Ensure you submit your work in line with their guidelines and turnaround times.
- For books, publishers usually follow seasonal schedules (like spring/fall). It's crucial to research potential publishers and understand their submission timelines before submitting your manuscript. Self-publishing offers more flexibility in terms of timing but demands extra effort in marketing and distribution planning.

May God bless you!
James Constantine.
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