Write, write, write
Anything and everything. As often as possible. Don’t try to edit as you go—a blank piece of paper is awful, get something down.
Read, read, read
Anything and everything. Bad writing will teach you more than good writing. Read with a writer’s hat on and try to see how the author achieved things you like, or caused you discomfort.
Join/attend writers’ groups
Online and/or face to face. Meet people that will give you honest critique. Be prepared to reciprocate. Talk about problems you face—the chances are others are experiencing something similar. Set each other challenges.
Network in any way you can with writers, publishing industry professionals, media, reviewers etc. Word of mouth works.
Your local Writers Centre is a great source of help and information—use it.
Listen to feedback
Whether you pay for a professional assessment or ask fellow writers their advice, never discount their opinion off hand.
- If one person says something, you can choose to ignore it if you wish.
- If two people say the same thing, think about what they are saying.
- If three or more people say the same thing, ACT ON IT!
Remember though, they may be telling you the symptom, it is up to you to find the cause! That is, you don’t have to change something the way the reviewer suggests, but find out what made them uncomfortable and address the underlying issue.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
It isn’t easy to be published. Take it one step at a time. Start small with local competitions or short stories. You don’t have to write a 300,000 word saga as your first manuscript.
Attend workshops. Go to festivals. Read books about writing. My pick list includes:
- The Little Red Writing Book: Mark Tredinnick
- The Little Green Grammar Book: Mark Tredinnick
- On Writing: Stephen King
- The Writing Book: Kate Grenville
Submissions to publishers
Only submit to a publisher that says they are accepting submissions and publish similar works.
When it is time for you to submit your manuscript, follow the guidelines exactly.