We hear the phrase that ‘books are man’s best friend’ quite often in our lives but most people pay no heed to it. If one introspects, one would realize that it is not just a phrase, it is a tautology and could even be considered postulate of life. From the moment we start school, our educators begin teaching us the fundamentals of reading and there begins our lifelong partnership with books. From helping us prepare for tests to accompanying us in leisure time, books play a variety of roles in the life of an individual.
Populated with the varied emotions that exist within humans, books can transport its reader to a different dimension. For a moment, readers feel like they exist within the dimension of the protagonists. The magical world of books is driven by imagination. Without the constraints of visuals entities, the universe seems to be tailored to the liking of each reader.
Given that books can leave an everlasting impact on people, the reality that most writers are deprived of basic amenities won’t come as a shock to most people. Hundreds of thousands of people are attempting to create a space for themselves in this already cramped and highly competitive field. Most of them end up being paid in ‘exposure’ and quitting their dream.
In such a scenario, one must understand that we have traveled a long way from the days of hardcover. Writing is no longer just about creating a physical entity. Although that might be the eventual goal for most people, it shouldn’t be considered as a milestone rather than a destination.
Being a writer in the twenty-first century demands perseverance, confidence, and widening one’s horizons. One can make a complete roadmap, but at the end of the day to become a writer, one has to write. The World Wide Web is every writer’s dream, as well as a nightmare. The communicative abundance provided by the internet is a great beginning point for anyone trying to build an audience, but there exists a catch. One should not be fearful of criticism. Writing, much like every other art form, is subjective. Everyone won’t appreciate your work, and that is okay. A great writer can keep his sentiments aside and appreciate the criticism. One should be able to distinguish between the criticism- ones to work on, and the ones to ignore. Although, keeping one’s flair alive is essential for a writer, ignoring audience response could be detrimental. “Remember that writing is rewriting”
Take the advice from Charlie Brooker, the creator of Netflix’s hit web-series, Black Mirror. Writing is like every other business. One must cater to the needs of the employer. The only phases when a writer can write as they feel are the starting out phase and the well-rewound phase. The time in between is all about struggle, writing, rewriting, and preparing drafts for one’s passion project. Black Mirror was his passion project, but one must understand that he had to toil hard to be able to receive the approval for it. Mentioned below is the writing process followed by Charlie Brooker which I feel is a great template to start with:
1. Read it all.
The first step to becoming a writer is becoming a great reader. So read what you like, read what you hate. Find the consensus of the audience. You may have the best book in your genre but if it does not align with the consensus of the readers, it will forever be untouched, kept neatly in a bookshelf.
2. Work On your grammar
This is going to sound like the most boring step, but it is an important one. No one wants to be humiliated in front of their publisher.
3. Begin with a Question
What if we could show everyone our memories whenever we want to? Will I be a boon or a bane? Will privacy exist in such a world? (The motivation behind Black Mirror’s Episode 3 Season 1)
4. Complete your first draft
It need not be perfect, and it won’t be, but completing a story is necessary or the idea will forever remain in your head. Writing down all your ideas and completing the draft for them will help you recognize the ones worth your time
4. Plot it out.
Once done with the draft, get to the drawing board. Plot out the story, add depth to your characters. Think of alternative endings.
5. Be passionate
If you are not excited about your story, why are you even plotting it out? If you yourself are not amped up about the book how do you expect your audience to be hyped about it?
7. Marry it.
Being a writer is about continuous and consistent effort. Get words on the paper, even when it’s difficult. Make a schedule for yourself. Try to stick to it. Sure, you can give yourself some leeway at times but make sure that it doesn’t translate into a habit. When the writing gets tough, the tough get writing.
8. Writing is rewriting
Done with the story. Feeling great about yourself? Great! It is time to celebrate your enormous feat. Only a few people make this far in the journey. The journey has not ended though. So buckle up to start traversing for the rest of the topsy turvy journey. It is time to rewrite. Just like acting is reacting, writing is rewriting. If one is not methodological in his/her approach, one might leave loose ends or promise unfulfilled.
9. Find your first reader
Once done with the novel, it is time for a writer to live their nightmare, receive an opinion in their book. The opinion needs to be professional. We are not seeking encouragement, we are seeking opinions and ideas. Consider seeking a mentor. Consult a publishing community online. Look for critique groups in libraries.
10. Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite
11. Stop Rewriting
12. Put out your work in the world
The most frightening yet anticipated step is to share one’s polished work with the world. The twenty-first century provides us with a wide array of mediums for doing so. One can either self-publish or seek out for a publisher. The latter option seems unreasonable for an author’s first book but it is worth giving a shot. This dream could quickly turn into a nightmare though. Considering that art is subjective, all people won’t find the story to their liking. On is bound to have their fair share of negative critiques. The pivotal point is to not let the critiques dictate your way forward.
Here lies the destination for the journey of one’s passion project, but how to get paid for it? The idea is simple: just repeat the process. It is fair to assume that no one is ready to invest in a newbie. So, one has to make its name in the field. Writing is an extremely diverse occupational field with multi-faceted career paths. We have screenwriters, translators, bloggers, content writers, and a wide array of unexplored avenues. Find your niche, wait for people to find you, and be ready to captivate them. .There isn’t a single route to becoming a writer, which is one of the major benefits of the profession. The traditional route includes earning a high school degree, selecting a professional path, getting a writer education, completing an internship, and landing a job. Once again, ‘the traditional route’. If one has an audience behind them completing all of them might not be necessary. Although a job or an internship might create an impression, most people prefer to freelance. With nothing but samples of work to prove their talent, two-thirds of writers are self-employed freelancers.
In conclusion, writing, like most professions, requires a lot of hard work and requires one to stay contained until they receive the right opportunity but if one has the yearning and the zing, one’s professional background won’t restrict them from reaching their full potential. At the end of the day, it is all about perseverance, consistency, confidence, and the ability to handle criticism.
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