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BlackFlag
07-30-2011, 07:45 PM
As Han Solo would say, "Never tell me the odds."

Same goes with this thread. Looking for some encouraging comments people.

Anyways. . .ahem. . .So I want to be a professional writer.

I've wanted this ever since I was 7 or 8 when I wrote my first story and showed it to my parents.

Now, I feel as if the only way I can accomplish this goal is by writing a novel, because that is most likely what is going to sell.

I'm not interested in money really though. I just want people to read and enjoy my work.

Is it hard? Yes. Impossible? Maybe, but I'm going to try until I die, because it's my life long dream and that's what I want.

Thank you for reading, if your still here. Please encourage me! Thank you. Also, advise me, if you can.

Cybernaught
07-30-2011, 07:55 PM
It's not impossible. The first step in becoming a professional is having a professional attitude: take your craft seriously, refine your work to the best of your ability, take critique humbly, accept rejection as inevitable, and maintain cordial correspondence with editors.

I'm not a professional writer yet, but I still try to behave professionally.

You have encouragement from me.

DeleyanLee
07-30-2011, 07:56 PM
How are you defining professional?

There are so many options today for getting your work into other people's hands, that it's not that hard to become published by some definition. Many of the ways even pays you, which is an added bonus. You might not be able to quit the day job, but if all you want is for people to have the opportunity to read your work--it's there for you.

Just decide what your personal best definition of published is and shoot for it.

scarletpeaches
07-30-2011, 07:59 PM
Treat it like a job or it'll never be your career.

BlackFlag
07-30-2011, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the replies everyone.

ScarletPeaches, what do you mean by treat it like a job?

Cause I write everyday but I don't see it as being like a "job" in the sense that I go to work and be bored, you know?

DeleyanLee, I'm not sure about any of the things you mentioned. The only way I envision a professional career as a writer is to somehow publish a novel. Maybe there are other ways I'm not aware of? I don't think I'm suitable for journalism as I have very little college.

Cybernaught, that's very good advice thank you :)

Bracken
07-30-2011, 08:09 PM
It's not that hard to be a published writer; most of us here have managed it. I've read at least one piece of your work, and expressed the opinion that it is publishable, that you have enough talent to be published.

If, however, by "professional" you mean like being a writer would be your job and you wouldn't have to have any other job... well, that's kind of like saying you hope to become a professional rock star. Ie, not a terribly realistic goal, when you haven't even taken the very first step in that direction yet.

I would focus on writing and finding homes for your work, at this point, and not worry overmuch about making money at it, and not- as the old saying goes- quit your day job.

Even if you never become a "professional" writer in the sense that writing is your sole means of support, writing can enrich your life immeasurably. I am a writer, a mother, and a teacher. Teaching is how I support myself, but all three of these things are intrinsic parts of my identity.

DeleyanLee
07-30-2011, 08:21 PM
DeleyanLee, I'm not sure about any of the things you mentioned. The only way I envision a professional career as a writer is to somehow publish a novel. Maybe there are other ways I'm not aware of? I don't think I'm suitable for journalism as I have very little college.

Who said anything about journalism?

You can get published by NY publishers or a whole host of small presses and e-publishers. For self-publishing, you can go through Amazon's Kindle and the like, through lulu.com or Trafford or any host of that kind and get a good product. All reasonable options without having to delve into the depths of vanity and scam publishers like PublishAmerica.

Back when I first submitted, all there was was NY. Now, there's all kinds of options.

If you don't know about these options, you need to get out a lot more, read more of this board, and learn the business you say you want to become a professional in.

scarletpeaches
07-30-2011, 08:24 PM
By 'treat it like a job' I mean self-discipline. Do it even when you don't want to. (Hello, my name is Scarlett and I am a hypocrite.)

That might be set hours, a set word count, writing in particular locations. Always giving it the best of what you have.

Treat it like a job before it is your job or it's unlikely it ever will be.

BlackFlag
07-30-2011, 08:27 PM
If you don't know about these options, you need to get out a lot more, read more of this board, and learn the business you say you want to become a professional in.

I do know about these options, but thought you were referring to something else.


By 'treat it like a job' I mean self-discipline. Do it even when you don't want to. (Hello, my name is Scarlett and I am a hypocrite.)

That might be set hours, a set word count, writing in particular locations. Always giving it the best of what you have.

Treat it like a job before it is your job or it's unlikely it ever will be.

That's what I thought you meant.

And yeah, I'm guilty of not doing that.

Undercover
07-30-2011, 08:44 PM
By 'treat it like a job' I mean self-discipline. Do it even when you don't want to. (Hello, my name is Scarlett and I am a hypocrite.)

That might be set hours, a set word count, writing in particular locations. Always giving it the best of what you have.

Treat it like a job before it is your job or it's unlikely it ever will be.


Here, here! Read, learn, grow...and write whatever your heart's desire. Publish? Well, you'll have to ponder on that move more. Research the markets and see were you want your work to go.

self-discipline is what I need to work on too, getting there, I think?

Phaeal
08-01-2011, 04:46 PM
Han, the odds suck, but hey. You're either going to dive into that asteroid field or you're going to submit to capture by Imperial forces, right?

MsJudy
08-01-2011, 08:30 PM
The vast majority of published writers do not make their living by writing. So figure out what "success" is going to mean for you. Then work on it until you get there.

But...along the way, try not to think so much about "success." Writing is an art and a craft. They satisfy a very basic human need for creativity and self-expression. If you can pour your energy into the creation and forget about the goal, you will be much, much happier.

Trust me..."success" may take longer than you think. If you're not enjoying the process of getting there, you might end up bitter or frustrated or depressed. But if you can let go and have fun with the process, your work will be much better and the chances of success will increase.

kaitie
08-01-2011, 09:06 PM
I'm someone who firmly believes that with enough determination and effort put into improving your craft, you will make it. I can't say you'll have tons of success and be rich or sell a hundred thousand copies, but I believe you can definitely find a publisher as long as you don't give up and keep working.

I've been at this for years and after several books finally have an agent. I'm still a long way from actually being published, but if this book doesn't make it, the next one hopefully will. Keep at it, don't give up, and more than anything, enjoy it. :D

areteus
08-02-2011, 02:19 AM
I've always considered the definition of 'professional' to mean 'having been given some money to do it' and as Bart says in the Simpsons after playing music to get Lisa's lunch 'Hey, I'm a professional musician' :)

Of course, there is in some cases not much of a difference between 'giving it away for free' and 'professional' in this day and age. You can post your stories on your blog for free or post them on Amazon/Smashwords for 99c and you may consider the latter to be professional. But it won't necessarily get you the coverage you want. With hard work I am sure you will find the level of publication and 'professionalism' that suits you.

I second all the above about treating it like a job and making regular hours and so on. I also add the same level of hypocrisy because I wrote less than 100 words today which can be considered 'writing' (the other several thousand were all on job application personal statements :) ). I'd also suggest looking around at various parts of this site and one various writers' personal blogs for comments and tips on things you can do to be more professional when writing.

MsJudy
08-02-2011, 07:37 PM
These kinds of threads make me think we should have a sticky thread somewhere, where published writers (large or small press, but not self-published) answer a couple of questions:

1) How many years did you write before you sold your first title?

2) How many books did you query/submit before you sold the first one?

3) Did you make enough money off the first book to quit your day job?

We could title it "Reality Check."

BlackFlag
08-02-2011, 07:44 PM
Like I said in my first post, my concern is not money, but reaching a wider audience. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "professional".

areteus
08-02-2011, 08:31 PM
I second the reality check thread idea... I say do it...

mysterymantis
08-06-2011, 05:58 AM
I only read the original post here, so if I am biting on anyone's words, sorry...

I don't know what you mean by professional writer, but I guess it means you want to get paid for being a writer. I get that. Just be realistic about your expectations. Well, ok, if you're going to dream you can dream in color, I'm just saying keep it this side of the rainbow.

In any case, what kind of background do you have? Did you go to school for anything related to writing? Any college? Are you still in school?

Write that novel, yo. Just write it. Don't let people say things like, "What's the point of doing it if you aint gonna make money off it?" Or, "Do people still read?" Or even, "So, did you ever finish that novel? Is it published yet?"

I finished my first full length, I think, in 2006. I don't think it will ever be published, since it's not very good. And it's about zombies. And "higher echelon" does not describe my editing skills. But I did finish it. It felt amazing to do that. I want that feeling for you too, even though I don't really know you. (Man that sounds a bit abrasive, but I promise I don't mean it like that. Maybe a smiley to diffuse the situation? :) )

There are going to be times when you aren't sure what to write next. If that happens, feel free to write a scene further into the book, and then work on connecting it to the rest. I did that in my first book, and after a month of writer's block on my latest project, I did it today too. It works well, since sometimes you know where the story is going, but you aren't sure what is happening in the mean time.

Give your characters a background history. It doesn't have to be long, just a series of events that defines who they are. Then, for the major characters, write out a series of events that places them in the story, before they are in it. You don't need to include this in the story (maybe reference it for added effect), but it makes for much deeper characters, which will help you write them.

Well, I guess you didn't ask for advice, but rather encouragement. But hey, that's just how I roll.

Good Luck, Yo

MM

Ann_Mayburn
08-06-2011, 06:19 AM
You've gotten tons of great advice, but I'll leave a little nugget'o wisdom that got me through.

An author is a writer who didn't give up.

:D