Gone are the days where talent alone gets you a book deal. You can send your manuscript to 40 different publishers and unless it’s a one in a million type of first couple pages then you’ll get tossed in a file cabinet. If you want to make it you have to bring a readership to the table. That means not only writing but investing in your talent and in yourself.
Don’t worry about people stealing your words when you put them online. One of the fears I hear from a lot of aspiring writers is, “If I start a blog or share my writing with Facebook, Instagram or wherever someone might steal it.” There’s a good possibility someone will steal your words or content. I’ve written things on a Monday and saw variations of that content on a Tuesday. You can’t control this, you just have to have confidence that what they write will never be better than the original. The only way we get better as writers is to share our work and grow from criticism. You can’t mature as a writer if you’re not sharing.
Don’t do it for the likes, they mean very little. Social media is fool’s gold, yes, it will help you build a following but those likes are usually coming from the same people. You have to write with three things in mind. Who are you writing to? What is the message you want to send? What do you want to gain from it? Don’t ever be the person that convinces yourself, “I don’t care if anyone likes my writing as long as I like it.” That person never makes it because they can’t accept criticism. Figure out who you want to read your writing and mold it. Give it your spin but mold it to them. That’s not selling out, that’s just good sense.
Know who you want to be and become that person. Once you create an image on social media you have to live with that image. You can’t write about respecting women and then post statuses dogging women. You can’t be a music blogger and then tweet about how there’s no good music. Why? Because you have to be above the pettiness. I often write about dating, it’s because I go on dates. Why would anyone read about dating from a person that admits they don’t go out? Don’t be a hypocrite and sabotage yourself before you even get started. Pick who you want to be and be that person.
Write often. Write as though the words that are on the screen will be the last words you will ever write. There’s no secret to writing, no formula or short cut. You have to invest in words, you have to love words. You have to read. I read a book a week, sometimes they’ll be a book of short stories, sometimes full novels, sometimes self help books, I read. Pick up a book that you’d never pick up and read it. Some of the most talented authors never sell but they did what they loved. Kobe shoots hundreds of free throws a day. Peyton Manning is the first person at practice and the last person to leave. Writing requires the same dedication. Believe in yourself, believe in the words.