I’m so pleased to share this guest post, “What to Expect as a Writer,” by author Emerald Barnes. Her published novella, PIERCING THROUGH THE DARKNESS, is available through Amazon and Smashwords, and Emerald blogs at Dreaming Awake.
I’m especially thrilled to feature Emerald as my first guest post author, because she’s such an important part of my online writing community. Her insights about the writing process are engaging and thought-provoking, and she’s always willing to step into a lively discussion to share her own views. For more information on her novella, check out her Seven Questions interview.
What to expect as a writer
By Emerald Barnes
What do you expect by being a writer? That’s a loaded question, and up until recently I didn’t know what I really expected and wanted from being one.
I’m going to start at the beginning, the place most stories start. I remember always carrying around a pencil and notebook as a small child, doodling my name all over the paper. Even when I didn’t have something to write, I wanted so desperately to write something, even if it was only my name written many different ways. I was also the master of the squiggly line, and every female character I wrote about was named Rachael.
I loved the feel of the pencil in my hand and the blue lines of the notebook paper. I was even lucky enough to get to use my grandma and grandpa’s old typewriter! I felt special, like a REAL WRITER.
But, I didn’t know what being a writer meant back then.
High school was when I started writing but not seriously. It was terrible writing but writing nonetheless. I wrote mostly about high school girls falling in love. My writing has since improved, but I am still a YA writer, and I still write about high school girls falling in love but they’re mostly set in suspense/thriller type situations. The first novel I began writing was about a girl who fell in love with someone she couldn’t have. They dated secretly. I NEVER finished it, and I’m not sure I even know where it is any longer. Probably on a floppy disk I tossed. My second novel, I started when I almost broke my ankle in school and was laid up on the couch for three days because I couldn’t walk. It was a paranormal novel. The premise isn’t actually that bad, and with some work, I believe I could make it work out if only I want to. I never finished that novel either. So, I started another one. This one even had a title. My Love Flew Away. I love my characters from that one, so they have plans to appear in a later novel that has a much better premise.
I stopped writing for a while after that, up until I took my first writing course in college. I then took up writing as a serious hobby, and when I transferred to university, I took it up as a possible career path. I received a BA in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing. But, I still didn’t really know what to expect as a writer.
Sure, my courses had taught me invaluable information about writing, but what they didn’t teach me was how much of that information really didn’t hold a candle to what being a writer was all about.
I’m not saying I have all the answers to what it takes to be a writer, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned along the way.
First, you need to have a social presence. Be sociable. Start a blog. Tweet. Interact with other writers and readers and book reviewers. THEY’RE the ones who help you become the writer you are. Other authors will help you with your writing journey. Readers and reviewers are the ones who help you SELL and PROMOTE your books (if you’re published). You also feel like part of a community you’re missing out on.
Like with Laura who has so graciously asked me to do a guest post. Her tagline says it all. Community. She makes EVERYONE she comes in contact with feel like they’re part of her community. It’s so very important as a writer to have that feel of community. Who else are you going to complain to about writing? Surely not your readers.
Join a few places where you can discuss things about writing. I have met some amazing people through The WoMen’s Literary Café and The Women’s Nest, and they have helped me with my social presence tremendously.
Secondly, know who you’re writing for. This is important because you will interact with readers who like your genre. If you write YA, you’ll more than likely talk to teens who read your book, but since the YA genre is popular with more adults now, you’ll talk to them as well; however, you need that common ground, and if your readers can connect with your writing, it’ll be so much easier on the both of you when it comes to communicating.
Thirdly, call yourself a writer. How can you convince others if you don’t believe it yourself?
Lastly but most certainly not the least, WRITE. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write. Being a writer doesn’t mean you have to be published. It means you write for others or yourself, but you’re still putting that story on paper.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what to expect from being a writer. Heck, I still don’t know what to expect most of the time. I’m just getting out there, meeting new people, and relishing in the bonds that I have created by being a writer.
What do you expect as a writer?
Thanks so much for visiting, Emerald! You can find out more about her and her work at Dreaming Awake. And if you’re interested in being a guest blogger here, please pop me a note at laurastanfill at hotmail dot com.