So, you've decided you're a writer. You are embarking on the dream of perfecting your craft, and creating a truly engaging piece. However, you need to be careful you are not suffering from one of the five biggest faults writers have every day.
2. Trying to be Literary - Trying to imitate James Joyce or Virginia Wolf will only turn off readers. No one likes an imitator. Find your own voice. Create fresh and dramatic stories that come from your heart - both drawing on your dreams and your fears. And keep striving for better. Any professional will tell you you have to learn the rules before you can successfully break them. If you are striving to become a great literati, you must first become a great storyteller.
3. Ego Writing - No matter how good you think you are, there is always more you can learn. You should never give up striving to become BETTER. Which means you have to open yourself up to critiques, and really listen to what is said. This doesn't mean you have to make every change suggested, but if you receive the same comments repeatedly, consider the change. Learn to judge honestly what will improve your piece. As Trollope said "lay your own identity aside" and read as a reader, not the author.
4. Failure to Keep Faith - Someone once told me it takes ten years to become any kind of a success as a writer. Ten years, really? Most people will give up after three or four years. Life happens. We get a job to pay the bills, and support the family. The job and family drain our time and energy. We lose focus. Even when working hard, repeated rejections cause us to let our dreams fall by the wayside. Let's face it, it's human nature to crave success and acceptance. We take it where we can get it, and move on from anything causing constant feelings of discouragement. Then, one day you realize you gave up on a part of yourself. You see others finding that success and you feel another stab of discouragement. Discouragement is generally the result of envy. So, if you really want something, don't let go of the dream. Some days you may only write one line, but you are still writing. Never give up on yourself.
5. Wrong Lifestyle - Writers often let their craft take a back seat to everything else in life. Giving time to one's profession makes perfect sense to people who want to become surgeons, CEO's, lawyers, and any other number of professionals. Why do we treat the creative arts differently? Somewhere along the way, society has deemed it as not important, or unworthy of equal focus. Yet, writing is the life and soul of so many. Even musicians may practice ten hours a day. Athletes, dancers, and actors devote the same. To become a great writer requires just as much. I'm not suggesting you forsake responsibilities, family, or friends. If writing means that much to you, you WILL sacrifice television, travel, and some creature comforts to find the time for your passion.
Writing is a job. It takes time and effort. Set yourself production goals, jealously guard writing times, and always strive to grow as an author. Study the craft, and study people. Sprinkle your observations into your work. Keep producing. Make the decision not to fall prey to one of these faults. From now on, admit you are a writer. Own the title. Do it well, and do it with passion. HAPPY WRITING!