How I Became an Author (And How You Can Become One Too)

A little background about me and some of my best tips :)

5/3/20245 min read

Well, it has been a wild first half of the year.

I went from being a mere aspiring author to having four self-published books under my name.

I have been dreaming of being an author since childhood and now my dreams have been realized thanks in no small part to all of you.

How did I get here, you asked? Well, it all started when I was in the fourth grade. We had a guest student teacher come in to teach a unit on creative writing. She wore big glasses and dressed in the trendiest hipster fashion of the era. I thought she was the coolest being I had ever crossed paths with.

I worked tirelessly throughout the unit to impress her, coming up with fantastic story idea after fantastic story idea. I was just beginning to blossom into my lifeline passion for horror and all things spooky. I spend my summer vacations sneaking out of my room at night to watch the horror movie channel and reading Stephen King novels. My stories revolved around things like zombies, ghosts, and demonic possessions. My teachers were horrified. My stories more often than not earned me a trip to the school psych.

Despite my best efforts, I never earned much attention from that cool student teacher. She seemed indifferent and impatient with all the students. She seemed especially annoyed by me, constantly trying and failing to win her attention. I was never able to get the praise I craved so desperately from her.

I didn't come out of that unit empty-handed, however. I gained something much more valuable than praise from a cool college student. I gained a new passion for writing, or to get more specific, a passion for writing horror.

I continued writing throughout middle school. My summer vacations were spent at writing day camps and author-held conferences for young writers. I was convinced I would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Stephen King.

Then when I was fourteen, I was struck with a severe mental illness. Before I knew it, I was spending all of my time in a wide variety of hospitals and treatment programs. My mind was now a warzone. There was no longer any part of me left to focus on writing, I lost the motivation to do pretty much anything I had once enjoyed. All I could do was focus on healing and becoming stable again.

Fast forward five years. I was scrolling through my social media when I came across an article about the therapeutic benefits of writing fiction. This intrigued me deeply. At that point in my life, I was lacking a purpose. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I started with a few pieces of flash fiction.

After a few failed attempts and discarded story ideas, I was finally able to find my footing with my writing once again. It was final. I now knew what I was going to do with my life. I was going to be an author.

When I was first picking up writing again after nearly ten years, I had some difficulty keeping a consistent writing practice. The problem with that is, to get anywhere as an author you need a consistent and stable writing practice. There is just no way around that.

I'm not going to lie, it took me years of trial and error to establish a daily writing practice but at this point, I feel like I have sort of cracked the code, or at least gotten to the point where I have some solid advice to offer.

So, without further ado, Here are my three best tips for keeping a consistent writing practice.

Write at the Same Time Every Day

The first, and I believe one of the most important steps in establishing a consistent writing practice is writing at the same time every day.

Take notice of what time of day you not only have enough free time to talk to writing but also have the most energy and motivation to harness towards your writing.

This can be very different for different people. Some people are hardcore night owls, some people feel their best and most productive early in the morning. It all depends on you and your disposition.

Once you've identified what time of day works best for you, make sure you stick with it. Make sure you write at the same time every single day. Don't slack off, Don't allow yourself to get distracted. You must develop the discipline to keep your writing practice every single day.

Soon enough, your writing practice will become a habit. When it becomes a habit, it will become easier, and effortless even. You just have to work through the first few weeks with as much discipline as you can.

Set Realistic Word Goals.

I'll be honest here, this is a trap I've fallen into too many times.

Most people are impatient. That is a fact of life. I'll admit, that I myself am guilty of wanting everything to come to me fast and easy.

But that is not how writing works.

We can't all write a whole two thousand words every single day. Most of us have jobs, responsibilities, families, friends, relationships, and various other nonwriting-related things we have to take care of. We just spend all our waking hours typing out our novels.

That's why it is crucial to pick a daily word count goal that works for you and your lifestyle. It can be as low as a couple hundred words if that's all you can make time for. You do not need to crank out an entire novel in a month. There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking things slow. Write at your own pace.

Setting a word count goal that is too high you can't meet it consistently will do nothing but hurt your motivation and morale. It's best to keep your goals manageable

Working Through Writer's Block.

No matter how good of a writer you are, there will inevitably come a time when you sit down to write and your mind goes blank. It happens to the best of us.

There are a couple of ways to combat this.

The first thing you can do is plan your novel thoroughly before you begin writing it.

This is not for everyone. Many writers, including myself, are pantsers through and through. We make things up as we go along and couldn't stick to a detailed outline if you paid us. But if you are someone who likes to plot and plan, that can all but eliminate the onset of writer's block.

Another thing I've found helps with writer's block is taking a brief walk or even just sitting outside for a few moments.

It may sound silly, but I've found that fresh air really does make me think more clearly. I've been struck by all my best ideas while sitting on my porch swing outside.

If you come to a point when you are completely stuck with your novel, it could be worth a try to go out for some fresh air.

The last way I have to combat writer's block is Morning Pages.

What are Morning Pages, you ask?

As featured in Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way, Morning Pages is the practice of doing a stream-of-consciousness writing exercise every morning when you first wake up.

These pages don't need to be good. They don't even have to make sense. It's just to get out any ideas that may be brewing in your head.

After you are done with your Morning Pages, fold them up and put them aside to look at in a week.

By doing this you are putting yourself in a creative head space and allowing your ideas to flow more freely.

So there's a little bit about my writing journey and some of my best tips for aspiring authors.

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Happy writing