Some writers say their work takes no effort..."It just comes to me," they say, when their work is going well. "I am waiting for my muse" they muse, when it isn't. But good writing, like any other artform done well, is brought about by preparation, from the practical to the poetic.
The practical tips range from "write every day" and "always write at
the same time each day" to "get the best tools" to "have a special
place for your writing that is sacred."
The more poetic suggestions include: "inspire yourself with art" and
"prime the pump with daily writing" and even "surround yourself with
beautiful sights and sounds." All of these may be true to one or the
other of us--the trick is to find what inspires you, what motivates you,
what prepares you to write at your best. Or, at least, to write!
There are also ways for writers to prepare to be published--beyond
writing well and often. Many good writers will never be published
authors, and for many of them that will be just fine. But for those who
do seek publication, there are steps that need to be taken.
The first step, after the writing itself, is getting your work read--so start with a writer's group. Find three or four friends--or join an existing group--and read and listen. It is important to invest time in your writing and in others' work. I learn as much from listening to others read their work as I do from reading mine each month at my own group.
One great way to get your work read--by professionals and working authors--is to attend a writers conference. I'll be teaching a couple of workshops at the Southern California Writer's Conference (SCWC) here in San Diego next month, and I am definitely looking forward to it. I get to meet writers who are working at their craft and also other publishing professionals who are, like me, looking for the next exciting literary project.
I highly recommend the SCWC experience--if you have not yet attended, make it happen this time--you deserve it!
Hope you can make the conference--it's always inspiring and fun.