I'm starting a series of blogs on the craft of writing and how to become a writer. Feel free to ask questions or send comments my way!
Above all questions, the one I get the most as someone struggling to get published is, "How do you do it?" Meaning, I assume, how do I go about writing and finishing a novel and submitting it.
Usually, the question is followed by some explanation: "I used to do some writing too, but I don't have time for it anymore." And that's really the key.
The first and most basic lesson for anyone pursuing a writing career is simply this: WRITE.
A popular acronym used among writers (especially in the prolific romance genre) is BICHOK: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. If you can't do this one simple thing and produce a few lines of type every day, that dream to become the next great novelist is going to be a long, long, loooong way off.
Serious writing demands serious time, so you need to set aside at least an hour for yourself to engage in whatever realm you've chosen to explore. Personally, for me, that time comes when I'm on the bus on my way to and from work--an hour plus to work on my manuscripts or whatever new idea has popped up in my head.
On average, it takes about 20 minutes to really get into a piece of writing--to get yourself into that groove that lets your hands fly across the keyboard almost without thought. This is why devoting yourself to one task and one task alone, eschewing solitaire, checking your e-mail and looking at pictures of silly cats, is so vital to the process.
Devote yourself. Write. In fact, do some right now.
1. Write about whatever is on your desk. You can make up the origins of that pencil, or come up with reasons why that paper clip is all bent out of shape. Just write.