Try to ask other people “How can one become a writer? What is required for this?” The overwhelming majority will answer that it is, for sure, a literary talent. So, what is a talent? Innate gifts? To some extent, yes. However, as an absolute hearing does not make a person a musician, in the same manner, natural abilities to literature will not make the author a Master.
If innate talent were a key factor, then Dickens would write “David Copperfield” at sixteen; for what must you wait if you have everything that you need?
What Is the Deal with Innate Abilities?
Writing abilities, or rather the inclination to express thoughts in a written form, are an important but not the only condition. Life experience, education, and skills play no less important role. It is impossible to put on skates for the first time and immediately win an Olympic medal. Similarly, it is impossible to sit down at the table and immediately, without preparation, write a good book.
2 Ps: Practice and Passion
Like any kind of art, literature is based on clear rules. Some writers learn them intuitively and it takes years, but the same amount of information can be obtained much faster – from textbooks. Of course, one theory is not enough: practice is needed. It is okay for a person to start everything from scratch: we teach letters, put words into sentences, but someone stops at the level of a school composition, and someone goes on.
The golden rule of success is that every your work should be better than the previous one. Then, you will reach the goal eventually simply because you will not drop out of the race. You can achieve this only in one case – if you passionately love your pursuit. If you like to not just write but also grow over yourself, and constantly learn new things.
The master works neither for money nor for fame, he works due to love. However, art always takes a lot of time, and the author has to solve the eternal dilemma: if you make money, then there is no time to write for real, and if you write and do not earn, who will feed the family?
Write the Book of Your Life but Know the Market
Today the book market is packed: there are much more books and writers than they can be consumed. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to stand out from the general mass. You will spend years writing the Book of All Life. You will look for a publishing house for months, if not for years, and the book will be published in an edition of three thousand copies and dissolve in the book flow. Therefore, the steel nerves are an absolutely necessary quality for the writer; otherwise, he/she will not survive in this profession.
It would seem that there is little happiness in the publishing of a tiny print for ridiculous money. However, it is not easy for a beginner to be published, even if he/she has an excellent manuscript. The only thing that will help him/her is the knowledge of the publishing market. Then a writer will act with nice calculation, understanding who and under what conditions can buy the rights to his/her work.
The skills of a businessperson are extremely important. A manuscript is a commodity, and you have to be able to sell it and not only to the publisher but to the reader as well. If you do not promote your work actively, it is quite possible that only the employees of bookstores and several hundred random buyers will know about its existence.
10 Pieces of Advice from the Master
To adopt the experience of senior colleagues is not a shame. For some time, I talked with one writer that devoted whole his life to a literature, and he told me how to become a writer, and told me about his principles of literary work.
1) Listen to everything that is happening around you. You should not just go to the market for shopping, but try to find new stories.
2) Constantly observe people. Half of the success of the work are the characters to which you can believe. You should not think out what the teacher would do in this situation but know exactly the algorithm of teacher’s actions.
3) Take care of the details. If you write about a profession, then collect as much information as possible, enlisting the support of specialists if necessary. If you write about the work of a programmer, be prepared that the programmer can read the book, and if he/she sees any nonsense about his/her profession, the programmer will simply not read further.
4) Write simply and beautifully. The sentence without punctuation marks taking the whole page is a fashionable trend that will soon pass. The reader must understand you; however, you have not to degrade to the school level.
5) Prepare for failure. Even if you created a work that you think is a masterpiece, be prepared for the fact that publishers have an opposite opinion about your work.
6) Write each piece as if it were the last thing in your life. The reflections such as "oh well, it is just a little story for the magazine" are unworthy of the writer. Even the quatrain on the postcard should be written with maximum writer’s impact.
7) Remember that being a writer is not entertainment but work that needs to be given at least 5 hours a day. If the text is at a standstill, then read something that will help you find the clue for the story.
8) Each of your works should teach something good but you must get rid of the mentor's tone. You should teach unobtrusively, through humor, lyrics, and drama, but not point blank. Want to know more about literary devices, then follow this link.
9) The starting point and ending are the most important parts of the work. The reader evaluates the first pages of the book and if they seem to him/her unworthy of attention, the reader will simply stop reading further. The unfortunate ending, in its turn, will lead to irritation, which will result in a promise "I will never again buy this author's book!"
10) Do not pursue literary prizes. Work for the reader, and just then you will get diplomas and medals. And even if you do not, then, in my opinion, it is much more important that the whole generations will become absorbed with your books, than to create something that even the members of the commission that awarded you a diploma could not grasp to the end.
Nevertheless, the most important thing is that when choosing a hard writer's work think carefully! Literature is merciless to a potboiler.