I was watching YouTube videos tonight – going from one vlogger to another, stunned at the insane numbers they had in terms of views and subscribers. I wondered, what makes these glamorous twenty-something girls so popular? Then it occurred to me that it was their knowledge that garnered them such popularity.
I would never have the courage to do a YouTube vlog myself, but I wondered if there was anything in the world I was knowledgeable enough to tell the world about. Then I had the ‘eureka’ moment! Writing! If there is anything in the world this twenty-something girl knows a little something about, it’s got to be writing. So I decided to give it a go. Here’s my tips!
Only write when you’re feeling inspired*:
So many people – myself included – have found themselves feeling pressured to write and guilty when they don’t. There is absolutely no point in writing if you are not ‘in the mood’. What you do write will be lackluster, and readers will pick up in it. Have you ever read a book and known the author just couldn’t be arsed? This usually happens with big-name authors who are under pressure from publishers and editors to get the newest blockbuster on the shelves. Don’t worry about Author X who can write a gazillion books a month. Everyone writes at different paces, and you must work at your own.
*Don’t use ‘uninspired’ as an excuse to be lazy:
On the same train of thought, this does not mean that you can decide not to write just because you’re feeling a little lazy – unless you want to write as a hobby, then be as lazy as you want. Should, however, you wish to write in a professional capacity, you have to treat it like any other job. This can be as simple as researching when you’re feeling uninspired, or searching for ways to promote yourself. Make notes about your characters, settings and ideas – doing this can often re-inspire you!
Write what you want:
People often start writing and then discover that their particular theme/genre isn’t ‘popular’. Don’t let anyone tell you what will or won’t make readers sit up and take notice. ‘Twilight’ author Stephanie Meyer did the research on publishing and discovered YA novels written in first person were a big no-no with publishing houses. Look at where she is now! Same with JK Rowling, who was rejected many times. No one knows what the next big-thing is going to be – if they did, it would be the current big thing – so write what you would want to read!
Kick your ego to the curb:
People are entitled to their opinion – and some will think your writing stinks. Some will be jealous of your success and will try to put you down and some will genuinely want to offer you advice on how to improve your craft. Let’s get one thing straight – you are not perfect. You will make mistakes, and getting defensive because someone points out those mistakes is not only unprofessional but undignified. Even now, I will gladly take all the advice and help I can get, because when you are passionate about something you are writing it’s very hard to be objective. Pay attention to what people are saying – you’ll be surprised how much you learn when your first response isn’t to send a rude reply. As the great Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar said: “No matter what level you reach, getting better never stops.”
Join help groups/forums;
Not only does this help you make contacts with like-minded interests, it will get your name recognized. Starting a blog can also help in doing this. Unless you are picked up by a giant in the publishing world, you will have to do a lot of your own promotions. In the vast universe of cyberspace, you run the risk of becoming just another name in a million of others. To stand out, you need to make your presence known. There are so many websites out there decided to writing – from Figment to Authonomy – post your work everywhere, and as well as having people help you with catching spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, you can also develop a readership.
Keep your writing folders organized:
This is a big one for me. Keeping a document on your laptop/computer that is specifically for your writing is a good idea. Don’t save your stories all over the place. Take the time to save all files with a proper name (not ‘Untitled1, Untitled2, Untitled3) – if you name it, it already has life, and you’ll be less inclined to ditch it.
So… that’s just some of my tips, but perhaps the most important is don’t give up – because as long as you are writing, you are getting somewhere. If you love it, that’s all that matters.