I’ve been thinking lately about what I mean when I call myself a writer. It’s not just about writing stuff when I get a chance. It’s about making an investment in myself, knowing that I'll be improving my writing. What kind of investment do I mean?
1. Making the time. Can you truly call yourself a writer if you don’t spend much time writing? It’s hard, but setting aside that time is about you telling yourself your writing is important. Slug through the hard parts and finish your project. Set aside some time to actually write.
2. Learning about the craft. They say you can improve your writing just by doing it. (Isn’t that cool? But see point #1.) Even more improvement can come by reading the work of other writers to see how they do things. And by finding out your weak points and learning more about them (now you know why I’ve been visiting The Plot Whisperer).
3. Going to Conferences. Okay, they are expensive and not for everyone (I haven’t been to one yet). It’s hard to ignore the benefits though. So much happens there that can’t be captured in a buddy’s blog post... all the great, inspiring stuff. And I keep hearing about people that get great agent and editor contacts, too.
4. Sending out queries. I have to admit I haven’t been so great about doing this. I’ll send out a few, then get some rejections. So I assume something is wrong with my novel and set it aside (because by then I’m already working on another one). Those queries aren’t always just about trying to get published. They are about you saying you are taking steps to reach your goal. No one will ever see your book if you don’t let them know it exists, right?
Investing in your writing is a way to say you believe in yourself.
How do you invest in your writing?