There are many who dream about writing stories and novels, but how can you become a fiction writer? To be a beginner in the craft of fiction writing is exhilarating, but it can also be overwhelming.
You are trying something you love deeply, and it is something hard. There is so much to learn, and it’s confusing to know where to start.
On top of all this, you’ve heard the great success stories of authors, but you have also heard the terrible accounts of starving writers living lonely lives. How can you start yourself off right so you’ll succeed at writing?
Well, there is no magic, which is good because that means you have some control on how well your beginning to being a writer goes. If you’re still on the fence, stay with me, because this post is still for you.
Whether you have decided to become a fiction writer or are still thinking about what it takes to be a beginner writer, I know a few things from my own start that will help.
How I Became a Fiction Writer
Perhaps like many, my interest in writing developed when I was young, and like many I set it aside for more attainable pursuits. But everything else paled in comparison to writing. It wasn’t what I was meant to do.
Writers never quite feel like themselves unless they are writing. They can try different things, but if you are meant to write, the urge will never go away. You will not rest until you put pen to paper or your fingers to keys.
My advice, don’t ignore it. If this is something you want to try, give it a shot. Experiment. Take a month to invest yourself completely in the pursuit of writing, and after decide if this is something you want to do. That’s how I got into writing, and looking back it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Writing isn’t for the faint of heart, but it also isn’t something impossible. It is one of those crafts that if you truly love it, you will be so persistent you will figure it out.
So if you’re ready to give writing a shot, I’ve compiled a list of eight ways you can start becoming a writer today.
8 Ways How to Become a Writer
1. Read…A Lot
Devour fiction and non-fiction books on writing. A writer is only as good as how much they read, and I know that because sometimes I struggle to sit down, pick up a book, and read (News flash: I am not a perfect writer!). So if this is a challenge, keep at it. If this sounds like heaven to have a strong reason to read, get at it!
However, don’t read mindlessly. When reading fiction, begin noticing and dissecting how the author is telling the story, where the plot points are, what you like and dislike and why. Read not only for enjoyment but to notice the structure, dialogue, pacing, etc. Noticing how stories are put together will help you write yours.
For non-fiction, just pay attention and be sure to apply what you learn to your writing immediately.
2. Find Blogs to Follow
Be hungry for information. When I started out, I learned most from blogposts, and they are still one of my main forms of learning. Start exploring Pinterest and the internet for writing articles.
Now, all articles on writing are not created equal, and you will quickly see that. But there are some great bloggers and teachers out there. So keep reading blogposts and looking at blogs, and when you find ones you like, subscribe to their email list.
Get to know good authors and teachers now. Fill your inbox and writing arsenal with them. These people will be your online mentors, your in-person influencers, and someone you may buy great books and online courses from in the future.
3. Write Fiction Everyday
You will feel like your writing is terrible, but that is okay. It probably is full of flaws, and if you think it’s flawless than you have bigger problems.
The more you write, the better you will get. This is why it’s critical you write as much as you can now.
Get the hang of it when no one is watching or looking over your shoulder. Like a sport or an instrument, hours of practice is necessary to improve your skills.
4. Start Connecting with Writers
Remember those blogs you began following? If someone’s work has helped you learn about writing or helped you become inspired and interested in the craft, let them know. There is often a contact page on blogs where you can send an e-note to the blogger.
Drop a few words letting them know how their work as affected you and thank them. They will love to hear how they have helped you, and from experience many will email you back if they have the time.
It’s amazing encouragement for you and a good foundation to keep building this relationship on.
Also, if there are online writing communities offered by the blogs you follow, become a member and start getting to know and interact with fellow fiction writers. Writing can often feel solitary, but you aren’t alone. There are thousands of writers like yourself that you can trade tips with and find support.
Also, if you know writers in person, connect with them. They will love to have another person to talk to about writing.
5. Get Writing Feedback
If you know any writers personally, ask them to take a look at a piece of your work, like a chapter of your novel or a short story. If you don’t have in-person writing friends, see if anyone on your online writing group would be interested in reading and giving feedback on your work, and consider repaying them by reading and giving feedback on something they’ve written.
(Important note: Before asking in a group, check the group’s guidelines if asking is allowed in the rules.)
Another way I’ve used to get feedback is through entering short story contests that offer a judge’s critique of your story at the end. These critiques have been so helpful to me, and a critical element in improving my skills.
Getting feedback can be daunting, but it is helpful, and even encouraging. Getting an objective opinion from another fiction writer is a must for a beginner fiction writer and beneficial even for a seasoned writer.
For more information on how to apply feedback and who to accept feedback from (and who to not), check out this article where I go in depth on the topic: “How to Use Criticism as a Writer and Not Shy Away.”
6. Embrace Your Story
Never stop loving your stories, and spending time imagining them in your head. Keep building and creating while applying all the information you’re learning through blogs and books.
Embrace how you can make it better, and embrace even more the amazing reality that you are writing your story…finally. Obsess on your story, and don’t be ashamed. Have fun immersing yourself in your story’s world, and feel no more guilt because this is in the fiction writer’s job description. Have at it!
7. Analyze Your Thoughts and Feelings
While you are in this beginning phase, it’s important to start exploring this world you are entering. What about it do you love, and on which parts do you have doubts?
How has writing consistently made you feel, and is this something you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life?
There isn’t a need to make a decision now. Just notice these kinds of questions as they arise and explore what your answers could be.
8. What Do You Think, Writer?
You have been writing, honing your skills, and finding some great authors and teachers to follow. Have you enjoyed this process? Do you want to become a full-time fiction writer?
Do you want to keep experimenting for a while, or are you ready to invest in an online writing course or learn how to build an author platform for yourself so you can find readers and publish your books?
Let your imagination run. Would you think it cool to have your books at the top of a bestseller list or made into a film or TV series? What gets your blood pumping, yet scares you a little? That’s what you need to start pondering. Spend time in quiet thinking and/or journaling.
Whatever you do don’t hinder yourself by limited, trapped thinking. You are more capable than you believe. Use your vibrant imagination that creates such amazing stories to imagine an amazing life for yourself. What does that look like for you?
Don’t close doors on possibilities or ideas because they seem impossible. Let the story fire in you build, don’t throw water on it. Use the research you’ve been doing to make an informed and bold decision.
Ready to Become a Fiction Writer?
Broken down in steps, becoming a fiction writer isn’t as scary as you’d think. There is a load of stuff you need to start doing, but the stuff is fun. You’ll be studying and spending time on what excites you.
Connecting with writers and taking action is uncomfortable, but it will lead to results that are worth every ounce of energy, fear, and creativity. Being a beginner writer is you practicing a skill you’ll get better at in your lifetime, and entering a craft you’ll meet some pretty amazing people in.
There are a lot of great writers out there, and you can join the community. But you need to decide to go all in—just for a month—and see how you like it. If you are a writer, in that time you’ll grow to be more in love with writing than ever.
You will take a shot at becoming a fiction writer, and it could be the start of a great life for you.
Whether you’re a beginning fiction writer or looking for resources to help you hone your existing writing skills, join my newsletter for bonus content, updates, special offers, and INSTANT access to the Library of Resources!
A storyteller at heart, Sarah works with fiction writers to provide support, storytelling instruction, and assistance in defeating writing blocks. Her blog teaches aspiring writers how to write great fiction, manage a busy creative life, and overcome the fears blocking their path to writing success.
Sarah is the author of Character Presentation: The Advanced Guide to Character Description, Before the First Draft: The Plantster’s Guide to Pre-Writing, and her upcoming novel, The New Dawn.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:5