How to Become a Writer

If you’ve been doing something else with your life up to now (and who hasn’t?), go ahead and start identifying as a writer. It’s not necessary to tell others that you’re a writer, but it’s critical that you tell yourself. Believe it in your heart. Believe it in your soul. You are a writer.   

You might still be a full-time employee somewhere, a parent, a jock, a politician—or fulfill any number of other roles. But from now on, you’re also a writer.

“I am a writer.” Put it on a sign over your desk. Put it in a note in your wallet.

I created covers for books I planned to write—with their titles and my name, as author—before I ever start writing them. Then, I hung those covers over my desk. They keep me inspired to work on those books and reach my goal.

Some of the best ways to begin identifying as a writer are:

  • Write
  • Read books about writers, including writer-inspiration books.
  • Read interviews with writers, both famous and as yet unknown.
  • Visit whatever remaining bookstores you can find and thumb through books like those you want to write, or any books you like.
  • Attend book signings and author readings.
  • Join a live or online writers’ group—but make sure it’s composed of good writers, who are serious about improving their skills.
  • Keep up with the literary world: read online posts by writers, agents, and publishers.
  • Volunteer to write for a community non-profit whose work you want to advance.

And hang out at your local library. You’d be surprised how many of the patrons are fellow (or sister) writers.

Recommended Resources

The 22 Best Writing Tips Ever

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, by Brenda Ueland

75 Books Every Writer Should Read 

Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See

Page After Page, by Heather Sellers

Help! I Need a Publisher

Tools & Tactics for Creative Writers

Writer’sDigest.com

Join me on Thursday, September 29, 6 – 7:30 p.m. for a lively presentation on Life Story Writing at Minuteman High School, in Lexington, Mass.

For a stream of useful writing information, follow me on Twitter @lynettebenton. And don’t miss Best Books for Aspiring Writers.

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10 thoughts on “How to Become a Writer

  1. Hi Lynette, I actually found your name on someone else’s website which directed me to yours! Nice site! I see you enjoy teaching memoir writing to seniors and that’s exactly what I want to do. I have some good material and ideas about how to conduct the classes but wonder how to market the class. Do you just contact activity directors at assisted living facilities, etc? Do you know a good way to charge? Any thoughts, tips on how to get started would be greatly apppreciated, my email address is above. Sorry if this is not the format for this question, but couldn’t find your email address. Thanks! Linda

  2. Hi Lynette,
    These are terrific resources. I was thinking of some great books I’ve read that I wanted to add, but then i clicked on the list above “75 Writers…etc” and every one I would have recommended was on there. Stephen King’s, On Writing, is one of my favorites. Part memoir, part advice, King’s irascible wit (not to mention his own near death experience that is rendered with all the horror and irony he’s famous for in his stories) make this a no-nonsense, “don’t-whine-about-why-you-can’t” guide. Another good one that wasn’t on the list is Write is a Verb– by Bill O’Hanlon. A “just-get-to-it” sort of book with strategies to do just that. Thanks for posting. Can’t wait to read many I’ve missed.

  3. Hi, Linda: As always, your comment leads me to more resources for myself and to share. I’m going to check out the O’Hanlon book. Have you read Your Life as Story?

  4. I remember reading at some point in high school an essay written by another young person that started, “Writers write.” And I thought, well, maybe I’m not a writer then. I haven’t written anything in years. But the fact was I scored perfect on the English writing exam and near perfect on the English half of the SAT, essays and all. I loved writing, and it didn’t matter to me that I was being “forced” to do it–it never came from outside, always inside.

    I love how you created book covers for your WIPs. I tend to write down titles. I do the same thing for blog articles–I come up with what I think is a great title and put in my blog draft, where it demands to be written. It works.

  5. Thanks Isis. I so agree with you. BTW: Loved your post, “CAN A LOSER WIN YOUR HEART?” Anyone who wants to understand what a main character is or should be about, should read this.

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