I am assuming that if you are reading this, you are new to the writing community. I would like to welcome you on your new venture. Whether you write romance, horror, fantasy, sifi or action, it is always a worth goal to become a writer. You are going to go have quite a ride so better be prepared.
First, putting words on paper makes you a writer, even if you never show anyone what you do. Be proud of that. Don’t doubt yourself but don’t think you are going to be the next great thing without some work. Writing is work, even though some people will look at you crossed eyed and wonder about your sanity. Mastering the delicate arts of plots, characters, sideplots, dialog, and pacing takes a lot of practice and a lot of trial and error. Intend on spending hours and hours writing. Spell check will be one of your best friends along with the resident grammar Nazi.
Oh, don’t let me discourage you though, even with all that work it can be great fun. Imagine dropping your main character in the most deadly, romantic, or funny situation possible and letting them work it out on their own is, for me anyway, one of the most fun parts of the job. You never know some of those hidden details like: fear of spiders, likes ketchup on their mac and cheese or an affinity for speaking on some weird foreign tongue when stressed, until you decide to push them. You will learn a lot just by torturing experimenting with them.
The writing community is great. I cannot stress this enough: GET INVOLVED! Social Media places like Facebook and Twitter are great places to become involved and meet people. Find a group that you can relate to, even if they are not your genre. Join sites like Absolute Write or anything in your genre. Be supportive and friendly. Offer to beta read someone elses works. Give honest feedback because one of these days you are going to ask people to read yours.
Oh and go ahead and grow some alligator skin while you are practicing. You are going to need it. Slush readers, editors and even your friends are going to be harsh at times. Don’t take it personally. Those that give you harsh critiques are only trying to help you make your work better. Take the advice given, rework your stories and send it back out.
Don’t ever give up. Writing can be very lonely at times. While we have notebooks and laptops to take with us, you still have to be in the zone while writing and frankly, there is not a lot of room for anyone else when you are slapping down 400 words in 10 minutes. Sure you might take a break once an hour or so, but when you hit your stride on a story you don’t want to be interrupted (sorry kids and SO’s out there.) You can spend hours at the library or on websites researching. But really, it’s a one man job.
That is why you need to have support. It is so very easy to fall into a slump when your stories have been rejected, you haven’t been out to do something “fun” in months, and you just can’t get over how the hero/heroine is going to get out of the predicament you put them in. You biggest fans are your family and friends. They are the ones who will tell you to go blow bubbles on a windy afternoon or drag you to some movie you haven’t heard of because you never turn on the TV anymore. Take those much needed breaks. You are going to need them.
Otherwise, there is not much else to tell you. Enjoy yourself and your writing and most of all Good LUCK!