Years ago when I announced to my friends and family that I was going to write a novel, they all looked at me like I was crazy. It was something I had always wanted to try and I did it. I took a novel writing class and wrote my first novel and then my second. I didn’t sell them, but I had a huge feeling of accomplishment and I learned a great deal. My family probably assumed that my writing was a passing phase, but if anything; my desire to write has only grown larger with each passing year.
It was very difficult at first to take myself seriously as a writer. I was working very hard, but I wasn’t making any money. It was more of a hobby, than a job. I squeezed writing around my children, soccer practice and carpooling. In order for my family and friends to take my writing seriously, I had to first learn to take myself seriously. So, how do you go about taking your writing seriously?
Well, first you must remember that a writer is someone who writes. That is it. A writer “writes”. I have put together a list of five ways to show your family, friends, and yourself that you consider yourself a writer. Here they are:
- TAKE A CLASS
Find a class at a local community college in an area of writing that interests you. These classes are not very expensive. Usually they run about $75-$100 for an eight week course. You will meet other people interested in writing and you will learn a lot. It’s a great place to start. There are also online courses offered. These might be more flexible for people with tight schedules and family commitments.
- SET UP AN OFFICE IN YOUR HOME FOR YOUR WRITING
You must have a space of your own for your writing. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy. Steven King started out by writing in a corner of his laundry room. All you need is a table or desk, a lamp and a computer. Some people can work surrounded by noise and chaos, but I prefer the quiet and solitude found behind a closed door. If possible, a spare bedroom with a door would make an ideal home office. Fifteen minutes of quiet writing time will be productive than an hour with constant interruptions.
- SET A SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT
You must make time for your writing. If your children are small, try to find an hour or two each day when they are napping or when they go to preschool. If you have the luxury of writing full-time, keep a schedule. It is very easy to get distracted by unfinished household chores, errands, and outings with friends. Listen to your own natural body clock. If you are an early riser and wake up refreshed, start your writing day early in the morning. On the other hand, if you drag yourself out of bed in the mornings, you might want to focus on other writing related tasks such as record keeping and filing until you have a chance to wake up. Tell your family and friends when you will be writing and that you prefer to not be disturbed during this time. They will respect your writing time if you are firm with them.
- CONNECT WITH OTHER WRITERS
If you worked in an office, you would have co-workers and a boss. When you write from home, you are the boss and the co-worker. You may begin to feel isolated after a while. I suggest you join a writer’s critique group, if only for a social outlet. Writing is a lonely business. Check with your local library or bookstore to see if they already have a writer’s group you can join.
- SEND OUT YOUR WRITING
You can’t make your first sale until you send your writing to an editor or an agent. As soon as your article or story is polished and perfected, send it out with a cover letter. But, don’t sit around waiting for a response. Once you send out one piece of writing, it’s time to start working on the next one. If the first piece gets rejected, send it out again. It helps if you have a list of possible markets for each piece and send it out the day after it gets rejected.
If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will look and feel more like a serious writer. Your family and friends may treat you differently too.