6 Steps to Professional Writing

by | Jul 3, 2017 | Writing |

I get asked all the time, “I have this idea for a story, should I just start writing or should I plot it out?”

And while this is a great question, it’s the wrong question for people who are just starting out as writers. Worse, the real answer is something no new writer wants to hear. The fact is, if you have an idea for a story, you should not just start writing it, nor should you start plotting it out.

First, you need to have an intimate understand of pacing, beats, character development, themes, symbolism, motifs, plot arcs, plot hooks, conflict, tension structure, reversals, and the list goes on.

And that’s just for story creation.

So what to do?

Well, the easiest way is to go to college and get your degree in English and Creative Writing. An MFA (Master in Fine Arts) is always appreciated by the publishing industry. But who has time for that?

Well, your only other option is to do it the more time consuming way.

Read on.

6 Steps to Professional Writing 


1) Read books on writing. Read at least one book every month on creative writing, grammar, or the business of publishing.

2) Read books in the genre you want to write in. Not for pleasure, but as a professional dissecting the work. Understand why it works, and where it fails or could have been better.

3) Write every frickin’ day. Seriously. You are going to have to write one million words before you will write your first word that is worthy of being paid for. That is not an arbitrary number. One Million Frickin’ Words!!! To reach that, you must write every day.

4) Join a critique group that meets weekly. First, it will make you write something new each week for your critique group to critique. Second, you must critique other people’s work to grow as a writer (just like reading published books in your genre).

5) Attend lectures on writing whenever you can. Writers’ Conferences, Local Classes, Fan Conventions, Book Festivals, there are tons of places that have workshops and classes. Follow me on social media and see where I teach.

6) Do the above for ten years. Consistently and without compromise. Do all this for ten years, and if you also have storytelling talent, you will develop the skills you need to actually become a professional in this industry.

Hate me? Good.

Do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments!