At nearly all my book signings, readings and other events a few folks tell me they are thinking of writing a book. After a brief conversation about what kind of book they’re contemplating, the aspiring writer usually asks for a few tips before getting started. Here are my top five:
1. Read as much as you can. I’d recommend starting with some of our greatest literary teachers – Morrison, Bronte, Hurston, Faulkner, etc. It will help you get a feel for the techniques and styles of great writers, and ultimately assist you in developing your own writing style.
2. Write! Ideally you want to write every day, but this isn’t always possible given the demand of daily life. Regardless of how much time you have to devote to your craft, establish a weekly writing schedule and stick to it. Allow no one and nothing to impede on your writing time.
3. Revise and edit. You must carefully review your manuscript for grammar, spelling, point of view, character development and plot development. Once you’ve edited the entire document, edit it again. Repeat this process over and over until your manuscript is error free. If you are not able to objectively and thoroughly critique your own work, consider hiring a professional.
4. Find your own unique voice. In other words, learn from the great writers but do not duplicate.
5. Believe in yourself. If you look for or expect encouragement from others, you may be disappointed. Confidence in your ability must come from within.