- 1. Take a writing course, in person, not online. You will have an instructor and deadlines and meet other writers, leading to--
- 2. Have a network. Join writers' organizations. You are never too much of a beginner or a pro. Don't shun a support system. Especially if you begin to write in mid-life your family will freak out.
- 3. If you want to publish and make money, learn the business end. It's very complex. Learn it anyway.
- 4. Do not give up.
- 5. Buy reference books on "How to Publish," "How to Write a Novel," "How to Format a Manuscript.," "Be Happily Self-Published." These will answer so many of your questions....
A participant told me afterward, "Your presentation was so informative. You were so funny and delightful! So glad I stayed for it!" (The people who come up to me after a talk are almost always representative of the whole audience.)
Thanks, I said, secretly surprised because I thought my presentation had been insufficiently linear and organized. And I worried because I had said I liked my writing more than I had liked my husbands. (This generated laughter.) I didn't want the audience to think they had to jettison their husbands to become writers. Knowing I had to be vulnerable so they could connect with me, I also had given them a list of secrets I don't tell anyone.
She added (This is my CLUE): "When you walked in and I first saw you, so overdressed, I thought, 'Oh no,' it's going to be a dull presentation,' but you surprised us! You were so funny and delightful!"
My CLOTHES? I have heard "overdressed" before. On occasions where I'm looked at, I want to look good, not as if I'm about to clean my bathroom. I honor my work and respect my audience by dressing for it. (Or is that an olde-fashioned or working-class notion?) Furthermore I like the contrast between how I am dressed and what I say, particularly when I do literary readings. My usual business-casual pants I might have worn yesterday temporarily do not fit. I need a red or pink or yellow dress for these occasions! If I buy one I can write it off as a business expense! Golly, I don't want people to dread me when I walk into a room.