Writing is not easy. It takes years to learn the craft, and even longer to learn the complex process of editing, revision and the difficulties of entering the world where one gets to call themselves a ‘published’ author.
This process begins with the most simplistic rule that writing has to offer: In order to be a writer…one must write! As fundamental as this sounds, it can also be one of the most difficult writing tasks to perform. To be a dedicated writer, a person must write consistently, every day with regularity. This does not mean that you must write for a long period of time, or reach a certain word-count. There are days where a writer may find themselves writing nothing more “I don’t know what to write” over and over again. What you write, especially at the beginning of the writing process, is not nearly as important as the fact that you, as a writer, sit down every day for a set period of time, whether it be ten minutes or ten hours, and force yourself to write.
The second most important part of writing is to finish what you begin. This is a feat which 90% of people who begin a writing project, will never achieve. At this stage, the quality of the first draft does not matter. It is what some writers actually refer to as a zero draft, one that no other than yourself (and in my case, my cat) will ever see. It does not matter if there draft is full of errors or gaps within the plot, as long as you have a beginning, middle and end, then you have achieved what the majority never will.
Next is the editing process. For this, many find either a first reader or a small group of fellow writers to assist in the editing process. The person or people entrusted with this should be above all, honest. I can assure you from experience that if there are problems with your story, it is far better to hear it at this point, from your trusted readers, than to learn of them later from an agent or audience. Self-editing is not enough, as you are the person who is least likely to see the issues with your work. This is because, among other reasons, that you know the answer to the gaps in the plot of your story, where a different reader will not.
Only after all of this can you call what you have a “first draft,” and you then have the privilege of repeating the revision process several more times, before you reach a final draft. Then comes the process of attempting to transition into the publishing process.
Traditional publishing is a tough, competitive world. In this day and age, even those with true skill, talent, or even connections can have difficulty breaking into this world. The majority of major publishing houses will not consider manuscripts without an agent. The number of manuscripts sent to agents are far more than can ever be accepted, and sometimes even the best of works can be rejected based on an agent’s time, client load, and personal taste. This is where the advice comes in, ““Pick a wall in your house. Cover it with rejection letters. When the wall is completely full, then, and only then, will you get published.”
The other option, which has risen in popularity over the past few years, is self-publishing. This option has gained more ground in the new day and age. On this topic, I am going to add a link to an article posted today featuring an interview of three writers who decides to take the “self-publishing” route.