The real key in becoming a successful writer is learning all there is to know about the craft and continually honing your skills in every way possible. Since there is no college or other course of study required to become a writer or to even call yourself a writer, it is up to the individual to pursue their own course of learning. In my experience, it is those who develop an ongoing program of self-education and hard work that succeed in this business.
The first step is to make time in your life for writing. (See Time Management for specific suggestions.) It does not work to try to squeeze writing into an already too full schedule. You must give up one or more things you are already doing, to make room for writing. Writing takes time.
Initially you will want to set aside time on your calendar to read about writing, study your market guide, and write as much as you possibly can. It is as you write that you will hone your skills, recognize areas of need, and run into questions that this book will answer for you. Don’t talk about writing—write.
Set a schedule that works for you. The ultimate goal would be to write everyday, but truthfully I know few writers who do. Look at your weekly schedule realistically and set a schedule you can meet. Get away from the notion that you can’t write unless you have hours at a time, can get away by yourself, or need to accomplish some other task first (like setting up an office, moving to a new house, raising a child, or sharpening your pencils). Writers write. If you are not writing, you are not a writer and never will be. If you are waiting for the perfect circumstances in which to write, you will end up being a waiter, not a writer.
After more than 40 years as a writer, I have learned that I can write under any circumstances when I want to. It has little or nothing to do with the location, how much interference I encounter, how tired I am, or what else is happening in my life. You simply need to plan your work and then work your plan, refining and changing it as needed to keep it and you moving forward.
It is often helpful to divide the available time during the week into segments assigned to certain tasks, such as writing, reading, research, marketing, or whatever. It is important that you give time to all the activities necessary to becoming a successful writer. Initially it may be appropriate to spend most of your time actually writing, but once you reach the place where you are ready to market your writing, you must give time to the other aspects of the writing business.
More to come