Completing a novel takes time, dedication, and a measure of bravery. Are you ready to take the plunge and do everything it takes to be a writer?
If you want to achieve real success as a writer, you have to take the steps to carve out a genuine opportunity for yourself. This includes taking some risks, making some sacrifices, and making changes to your daily life. Are you ready to do what it takes to write, publish, and promote the novel that will transform you into a successful writer? Here are steps you can take to make it happen.
Treat writing as a job, not something to do if you have time
This is part practical advice, and part psychological advice. First, if you want to be a successful writer, you have to commit to spending time writing every day. Skipping this should be no more of an option than skipping work. In order to make this happen, you will probably have to sacrifice some things that are currently part of your routine, but changing your attitude toward writing – from being a simple indulgence to a job – is the starting point of thinking of yourself as a writer.
You might want to begin by making a daily writing commitment of one to two hours, or you could set a weekly goal of 15 hours of writing. Just be sure you stick to that commitment, don’t set the bar too low, and spend the time allotted writing, not surfing the Internet or balancing your checkbook.
Be open with others about your writing goals
Once friends and family know you are working on a novel, they will likely ask you about your progress from time to time. This creates a bit of accountability. After all, nobody wants to admit to others that they haven’t made any progress. Just be selective about the people you share your goals with. Writing is a tough process that takes a lot of mental energy, and bravery as well. You don’t need negative feedback from people who will dismiss your writing goals as impractical or impossible.
There are many organizations and writing groups you can join to help keep you on track. You may have heard of NaNoWriMo, an organization and writer’s movement that encourages every writer to use the month of November to write a novel (they also host writing camps in April and July). What you may not know is that this group is active all year round, all over the world, with local chapters that meet online and in person. By participating in NaNoWriMo or joining a writing group, you can share your writing goals with supportive people and get the accountability you need to stay on track.
Use your own funds and invest in your book
When you put your own money on the line, your willingness to stay committed to finishing your book will increase and you’ll feel much more invested in following through on tasks related to publishing and promotion. Then, there is the undeniable fact that investing in your book will increase the likelihood that it becomes a success. Two important investments you can make are hiring a professional to design your book cover and using the services of a professional editor.
Even if your book isn’t at the stage where editing or graphic design is in the near future, consider opening an account specifically earmarked for book publishing, promotion, and related expenses.
Create a website and get busy on social media
One thing you can do to create buzz about your upcoming book is to create a website or a blog dedicated to it. You can use the website for promotion, to interact with potential readers, and to generate interest by posting excerpts and short character bios. Once you have the website in place, you can create a social media presence for yourself as an author, and for your book as well. This will give a place to promote your upcoming book, and to post about updates and additions to your website.
Even if you are not technically savvy, it is fairly easy to set up a website for your novel using a platform such as WordPress. In fact, there are walk-through tutorials that can help you get going in an evening or two. In regard to social media, there are strategies you can employ to start building your online presence to establish yourself as an expert or simply to start interacting with a base that might ultimately be the audience for your work.
Take a leave of absence
This is fairly radical (not as radical as quitting your job!) and may not be a viable option, but if you can take time away from work, it provides a lot of dedicated time to spend writing your book, and should provide motivation to make the proper use of the time. If you take the leave after you have finished your novel, it frees you up to tackle editing, publishing, and promotion full time. Doing this also solidifies your commitment to becoming a successful writer, and it highlights your dedication to your craft.
If taking a leave of absence is not feasible, you might consider using your vacation time for a writing retreat, or take a week or two without pay to dedicate to writing. You might be amazed at what you can accomplish during these short blocks of uninterrupted writing time.
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