Everyone is on the hunt for the fastest way to lose weight, become an Instagram influencer, and gain millions of readers and followers of their writing.
I get it. It can get frustrating to feel like you’re writing into the void and losing the battle. In this day and age, we expect instant gratification with minimal work involved in getting there.
Sadly, the world doesn’t work like that. It fights back and makes things difficult, because if we didn’t have the struggle, everyone would do it. The world filters out the ones who aren’t willing to work hard for what they want.
Though “making it” in the writing world looks different for everyone (for me it’s literally just writing daily and self-publishing my work while for others it means you have a traditional publisher and you have millions of fans), there are small steps you can take to make an impact on your writing. No, they aren’t always obvious when you first start, but these are small steps you can take to build your writing over the years.
It’s as simple and as difficult as that. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. It can be absolutely anything you want — write about kittens making friends with dragons or fanfiction or blogging your diary — just write. Keep track of your content in all its forms. Writing often won’t make you a better writer, but it will make you a prolific one. Still, when you practice the skill daily, you’re bound to pick up a few skills along the way.
Literally everyone has a published piece of writing. It comes in the form of texts, tweets, posts, blogs, novels, and more. Anything you put out into the world is a form of publishing. When it comes to building your writing platform, it’s critical to practice publishing your work. Publish the good, the bad, and the ugly. Test out your stories with others and build theories by learning out loud. Just keep putting your work out there. You never know if something will take off if you never give it the chance.
Unless you’re extreme, everyone has at least some form of social media they interact with. Writers seem to like Twitter, but there’s a lot of us over on Instagram and I’m sure there are Facebook groups.
It’s tempting to use your social platform for only sharing your work — I’ve done it, and often I don’t realize how much I’ve done it — but there’s a reason it’s called a “social network”. Use the platform to engage with other writers and individuals you want to connect with. Reach out to your target audience and interact with their posts. Find authors in your genre and support their work. Every time you engage with others, you spread your reach. The more you can do it, the more they’ll return the favor when the time comes. The writing community is amazing, and you should be part of it too.
It’s hilarious that everyone thinks a writer never leaves the house, always has a steaming cup of tea, and sits in their office-converted library to write all day next to a wide open window as the birds chirp away. Humans are hardwired for social connection outside of our laptops and brains (because as writers I know we all talk to ourselves). If you want to build your writing, connect with the real world.
Add on to that a connection with other writers in human form and you’ve got yourself the magic button! Join a writing group. Find like-minded people who are just as passionate about writing as you are. Talk, share pointers, learn from others, and grow together. They’ll be there to share in your successes, struggles, and cheer you on when you need it.
The best way to grow in a subject is having to teach it. I’m not saying you have to quit what you’re doing and go become a college professor, but you can find different ways to teach writing. Hell, most of us writers do it anyway. I’m teaching you about writing right now, or at least I hope I am. When you have to share your expertise on a subject, you become, well, an expert on it. Thus, by teaching you learn, and you learn how others do it too. Sharing the knowledge is just as important as developing your skills as practicing it.
When it comes to writing, the long game is where it’s at. Those who are willing to stay in it for the long haul, the truly passionate writers, are the ones who are more likely to find success. Writing is never an overnight success game, and as much as we want quick answers, we aren’t going to find them. If you put in the work, and you truly dedicate yourself to writing, you’ll set yourself up for success.