Virginia Alice, author of "HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within," also writes about fitness, social media, and values.
Ways Anyone Can Succeed at Writing
It's easy to get caught up in trying to be the best writer. I have done it many times. In the end, I have often become frustrated and given up.
Have you ever done that? Do you know what causes it in your life?
In my life, it has been many things:
- Seeking to be perfect is one, for sure.
- Feeling the pressure to succeed and not having the right tools or guidance, and not knowing how to get them. And,
- Fearing that I'm not writing well enough to be published.
It wasn't until I wrote on and off for years, took a few writing courses, and published writings in various community newsletters and local publications that I learned that a writer is always practicing their writing style. All of these "little" ways of writing was helping me to succeed at writing and getting published in bigger ways.
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
— Louis L'Amour
After years of writing only minimally, and being too timid to have anything published professionally, I made a decision. In June 2019, I started writing a book. And in July 2020, I hit publish and officially self-published my first book. It was a surreal moment.
I changed the way I thought about my writing. Instead of trying to be perfect, fighting the stress of not knowing how to become published, or fearing if my writing was good enough or not, I just wrote. I wrote down all those words and ideas which had been floating around in my mind and heart for many years. And I learned how to get published. And I made a plan.
Plan and Go for It
I decided on a plan, and I followed through with it.
I started out by thinking what I wanted my first book to look like and what exactly I wanted it to convey.
To accomplish this, I asked myself questions:
- What did I want to share with the world?
- What has been on my heart and mind since forever?
- How can I express these thoughts and ideas in an easy way? And,
- Not just for my readers, but also for myself?
Then, I sat down, and I wrote my book.
You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
— Jodi Picoult
Sometimes Life Events Help Us Along
A lot of my success in getting my first book published was thanks to two events. At the time, I was recuperating from mole removal – one on my right left collar bone and, a few months later, one on my outer left leg. So the more I sat and was immobile, the more I wrote.
Within three months, my first draft was ready for editing. I was blessed with several friends who either volunteered to help me out or readily agreed when I approached them about it.
It took several months of coordination, in which I set up and LLC, purchased ISBN numbers, and registered with the Library of Congress. Then, it was incorporating the edits, typing up revisions, and reading through the draft numerous times before I was satisfied that my book flowed, said what I wanted it to say, and was free of grammatical errors.
About two-thirds of my way to publication, the pandemic happened, and I was left with even more hours to focus on final edits and everything else that goes into self-publishing and self-marketing a book.
The Road to Publication Was Full of Challenges
Soon, I was learning how to format the text to the printing companies’ guidelines. It was a lot of reading and a lot of trial and error. There were days when I'd come home from a long day at work to read just a few paragraphs of tiny print, make one minor change, and go to bed from pure exhaustion.
Also, during this time, I worked with my niece, an outstanding – naturally and trained – artist, who created my book cover. This was a learning process for both of us; and had we known what was involved, we may not have stayed the course. So, it’s a good thing we went into it blind. We learned a lot, and plan to do a few things differently for the cover of my second book.
Thankfully, I love challenges. So, in the end, I had fun with the whole process. I took my time, wanting to get everything right (the perfectionist in me coming out), and wanting to reduce too many mistakes.
As it is, I had a few setbacks, of which I don’t fully remember the details. I was just glad to finally get my book available for purchase.
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.
— Richard Bach
The Next Chapter
I’m currently writing my second book. It has taken me longer than I expected as I wasn’t counting on retiring from a job of eighteen plus years and making a major move right in the middle of it.
But I’m done typing it up now and can say I’m happy to be editing it.
I’m at the part where I read each chapter and determine if anything needs to be tweaked – or axed. Yes, the fun part!
Inspiring Other Writers
So, what do I have to offer you as a writer? After doing this once already and am now at it a second time, I'm writing to encourage you not to give up. If you want to write a book or for magazines or for a newspaper, follow your dreams. Don’t let perfectionism, fear, or anything else keep you from writing.
Remember, writing doesn’t have to be perfect. Writing just has to be real. It must speak your truth, spill forth from yourself, and touch those who read your words.
Where to Get Started
Not sure where to begin? How about making a list of all your questions?
By knowing what you are concerned about, you can start to find answers. And by determining what type of writing you want to do – if you don’t know already, you can search out fellow writers of the same genre or find writing groups online or in your local area.
There isn't a writing question that can't be answered. And having a good support system, even if it's your local librarian, is a good place to start. Librarians are a great resource if you like person-to-person. Or Google is great if you like "surfing" the Internet.
Let’s Do This Thing
My key takeaway for you? You can succeed at writing – if this is really what you want to do. Writing doesn’t belong just to a chosen few. Writing belongs to everyone.
It took me a long time to learn this. But I’m here now, a published author, a blogger, and a writer of inspiring words. And I’m here to encourage you...to just write.
Whether you are gifted with a desire to write (no matter the subject), "called" to write in a certain genre, or just want to make money at it, you can become a published writer. Just keep putting your pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard, and you'll get there. You will succeed. So, just write.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Virginia Alice Crawford