I have this idea for ____, but I don’t know how to get started.
Fill in the blank. What word comes to mind? Book? Story? Song? Magazine article?
I get this question all the time. As a people cheerleader, let me offer you a bit of advice. Realize you are not alone. Everyone who has ever felt the passion to create feels both the spark and the hesitation. It’s up to you, however, to decide how serious you are about your “idea.”
I didn’t realize I wanted to be a writer—or could be a writer—until my college professor asked to publish one of my papers in a professional journal. Even then, it wasn’t until years later that I started pursuing writing. Even then, it wasn’t until NOW that I finally realized that, yes, that idea to write CAN become a reality.
But it won’t be easy. Then again, nobody ever said it would be easy.
If you are REALLY serious about idea, read the Ten Rules for Getting Started and FOLLOW them.
- Don’t dwell on things that are not meant to be. Why bother talking about your idea if you aren’t serious about pursuing it? Almost everyone has dreamed of getting rich from writing the great American novel, but few people are willing to sacrifice to make it happen. This dream doesn’t come easy.
- Sacrifice is a real word, by the way. We can all talk about writing, but bottom line, we have to do it. The task is not as easy as dreamers make it out to be. Only those who want it badly enough will finish what they start.
- Accept the fact that your first attempt is what it is—a first attempt. You may show potential, but still have a lot to learn. There is no room for arrogance for beginners. I have witnessed novices slam seasoned writers for giving them an honest critique. Mission to write? Terminated. No one wants to help a know It all.
- Once you have accepted the fact you have a lot to learn, go learn! Start by reading EVERYTHING. Pay attention to the style. Don’t read for entertainment. Read to fill your mind with thoughts that may someday inspire you.
- Do not expect favors. Your chances of an editor handing you a publishing contract as a favor are about the same odds as Ellen or Oprah giving you a million bucks. Expect to pay your dues.
- Play up. When I played softball, I had the opportunity to play on the older girls’ team. What’s so important about that? I had to either keep up or sit on the bench. I certainly was not the star, but I had to opportunity to learn from people better than I was.
- Accept the fact that if you don’t write you will probably never be fully happy. Writers simply cannot NOT write. Recognize your passion and find ways to satisfy it.
- Start small. I hear many beginners complain about not getting paid. Again, expect to pay your dues before you can cash in on your talent. Your paycheck is called a BYLINE, your name in print by what you have written.
- Take it to the next level. There will come a time when, YES, you need to leave behind the free writing gigs. Otherwise, you will put all your time into efforts that will not pay off. Once you have a few clips (samples of your writing), you can move on to paying jobs.
- Pray. If it is meant to be, if it is your passion, if you cannot NOT do it, then God probably put the desire in your heart. Listen for answers, and then do what you have to do.
Be honest with yourself. If this idea is real, do something about it. If not, you don’t want to make the necessary sacrifices, move on to another hobby.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
So give it your best, and don’t worry about what some may say / Follow your dreams. It’s really all that you can do. / And give it your best and remember that life is what you choose / Go on, follow your dreams and do it, follow your dreams and do it. / Follow your dreams and do what you love to do. ~ “Follow Your Dreams” by Poco
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