Peter Lyle DeHaan has answers, which he shares in The Successful Author. With over three decades of experience as an author, blogger, freelancer, and publisher, Peter will help you on your writing journey.
On this grand adventure:
Learn why you shouldn’t call yourself an aspiring writer.
Uncover tips to deal with rejection.
Expose writing advice that may not be true.
Discover how to self-edit, get feedback, and find an editor.
Determine if being a writer is worth the effort. (Hint: it is.)
But there’s more. In fourteen chapters, with over one hundred entries, Peter will address:
Finding time to write
The traditional vs indie publishing debate
Whether or not to blog—and what to do if you do blog
Copyrights, registration, and legal issues
Publishing options and insights
Plus there are loads of writing tips, submission pointers, and a publishing checklist.
Don’t delay your writing journey any longer. Take the next step, and get your copy of The Successful Author.
Be inspired. Be informed. Be motivated to become the writer you’ve always dreamed of.
Imbedded within a clever story that held my interest, Randy smartly outlines his ten steps, along with responding to the inevitable critics in his story who try to argue against each of his suggestions.
Billed as an alternative solution that fits between outlining and writing organically, the Snowflake Method is a writing tool most everyone can use. Few people, it seems are 100 percent outliners or 100 percent organic writers. The Snowflake Method of writing a book is not too hard, not too soft, but just right.
Though a quick and enjoyable read, in the end, I was still not convinced the Snowflake Method was right for me. Then Randy turned me into a convert. He said, “If only a few parts work for you, then use those and be happy.
What a relief. I narrowed his list of ten down to five, and I am happy.
Writers serious about their craft should take concrete action to advance their career
In a recent interview, an author was asked, “What’s the best thing you’ve ever done to improve as a writer?” What a great question; I so appreciated the author’s answer. Yet my mind immediately considered how I would respond.
Within seconds I knew my answer. I smiled, thinking back to how that one decision changed me as a writer, propelling me forward.
Just as quickly another idea popped into my mind. It was a good answer, too. Which one was more important? I wasn’t sure. How could I pick just one?
But then a third significant thought surfaced, followed by a fourth, and then a fifth. They were all pivotal. Without any one of them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Each was essential.
So I have not one answer to share, but five. My five tips to becoming a better writer are:
1) Call Yourself a Writer: It sounds corny, and it’s hard to do. But my first tip is to say, “I am a writer.” When I first did this, my lips moved, but no sound came out. After three tries my claim was just a whisper—and that was in private. It took a couple of years before I could comfortably tell someone, “I am a writer.”
I occasionally teach a “Get Started” workshop at a writer’s conference. I often have my class say this. Their first try is cautious, timid. But by their third attempt, they are confident and grinning. We need to call ourselves writers in order for us to believe it.
2) Commit to Writing: Once I called myself a writer I needed to commit to it. I had to set time aside to write, not just when I was motivated or had an idea, but even when I didn’t feel like it. Once a week on Saturdays, it became three times a week in the evenings, which moved to five times a week in the mornings. Now I block out significant time each day to write. It’s my schedule, like going to work—but in a way it is. Writing is my job.
3) Attend Events: Next is the need to connect with other writers. Join a writing or critique group. Attend conferences. Mentor someone else and seek a mentor. Maybe you need to mentor each other. At my first conference, I was the proverbial deer in the headlights. It was terrifying, and my naiveté cost me a bit of embarrassment, but the conference was so worth it. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
4) Learn about Writing: With technology, we have many options to learn about writing: blogs, podcasts, and webinars are usually free. Books and magazines don’t cost too much. I’ve also taken some online classes—not university types, but practical, applicable writing instruction. I started with reading blogs and the rest of these followed.
5) Seek Help: As I began to make some money with my writing—which took years, by the way—I had funds to invest in my work. I began to hire experts to help improve. Aside from an editor, for my first effort, I paid a retired writing professor to help me improve my short story writing (as a prelude to novels). His input was invaluable. Since then I’ve hired developmental editors and a grammar guru. With them, I slash my learning curve and gain valuable information fast.
These are the five steps I took to become a better writer. I can’t say which one was more significant, but I will admit that without taking that first step, I would have never gotten to the next four.
There is no single path to becoming a better writer. Instead, we have a myriad of options before us. Here are some of the opportunities I encountered on my writing journey:
Early on I contributed articles to a small newsletter (back when newsletters were still mailed). Having a deadline to hit each month was great preparation. It also taught me to always look for ideas and to work ahead. I did this for several years.
Get a Writing Job
Later I worked for a company in a seemingly perpetual state of reorganization. During one such reshuffling, I ended up doing tech writing. I wrote for eight hours-a-day, five-days-a-week, every week. Though another restructuring soon moved me elsewhere, during this stint I learned how to write all day long.
Years later I jumped into blogging. What started as an experiment, moved into a hobby, and later acquired a purpose. At one time I had eight active blogs. Now I’m down to three and may whittle that down to two. (But don’t worry; this one will stay). In the past eight years, I’ve published some 1,500 posts, amounting to nearly a half-million words. During this time, I found my writing voice.
Listen to Podcasts
I don’t listen to music on my iPod; I listen to podcasts, mostly about writing. I learn about writing as a craft and as a business. I listen for several hours each week. It’s like going to school—without the tests.
I also participate in critique groups. My friends help me improve. Yes, it’s wonderful when they like my words, but it’s even better when they point out the shortcomings. They encourage me and keep me on track.
I also read magazines and books about the craft. Though I own more writing books than I’ve read, what I have read has helped me greatly.
For too many years I read only nonfiction relating to work or faith. After a while, everything I read bored me. Now I read mostly fiction, from just about any genre. As I read more widely, I can write more broadly.
I spend time with other writers. Only writers understand the isolation of the work, the frustration of when words don’t work as we wish, the agony of rejection, and the joy of publication. We need a writing community to journey with us, be it online or in person.
In pursuing freelance work, I do a lot of content marketing, which for me is much like blogging. Here I write with a purpose, have deadlines, and earn money. I think every writer—whether they admit it or not—wants to make money with their writing. I do.
These are the highlights of my writing journey, haphazard for the first three decades and more intentional in the last one. Your journey will be different.
May we all move steadily down the path of our own writing roads.