This may not seem like such an astonishing fact, but the first step to getting published is to write – or so I’ve been told. So that’s what I’ve been doing recently, actually that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life.
I’m one of those born writing individuals. I still have my notebook with my first story, “The Spooky Man.” It’s about a ghost-like man who somehow owns his own house down the block and gets his jollies by kidnapping children. You can expect it on the big screen soon.
The first landmark of my progression from casual to more structured writing was the discovery of Reading.com (now, Writing.com). It’s a wonderful site that promoted the sharing and critique of writing through an online community. I’m still involved on that site and sport a portfolio that dates all the way back to 2001. The vast majority of what I have on there is total crap but the website has served as a touchstone for me, a way to get back into a writing community whenever I feel the urge. I owe a lot of my progression as a writer to the website and recommend it highly. I’ve learned so much about writing but even more about critiques, self promotion, and thick skin. Put your stuff on the internet and you’ll learn a lot.
The next, and most significant step in my writing process, has been NaNoWriMo (If you don’t know what this is, discover it. Now. NaNoWriMo.org). My extremely good friend, at the time just an online acquaintance, persuaded me to join in on NaNo four days into November when I was in 8th grade. It was unreasonably exciting. I threw myself into writing a story that was miles longer than anything I had ever before created. What came out I still treasure, horrific as it may be (just to give you an idea, I didn’t yet understand the necessity for quotation marks or paragraphs). I completed the required 50,000 words on November 28th – plenty of time to spare.
NaNoWriMo, for me, has been a requirement for writing. This year will be my 13th year dong NaNo and I’ve won every year but one. I don’t have the problem a lot of other writers seem to, I can actually sit down and write. I don’t correct myself I don’t get writer’s block, and I am not consumed with the idea of good vs. bad.
I think this it the most crucial step for anyone who wants to get publish. You aren’t going to get anything sold if you don’t put it on paper first. A good idea means nothing if you can’t share it. You’ll hear it time and again from people who are published and love writing – Chris Baty, Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Jerry Cleaver, and so many more.
So, I’ve been writing. On my crusade to get published I’ve chosen my most recent NaNo novel, titled Viva Las Vegas. It’s a light, chick lit book with hot men and sexy ladies. It was meant to be fluff but I ended up really enjoying it and now it’s evolved into something that, while still full of sexy people, had a bit more heart to it. When I stopped writing it in November I had more or less completed the story. The last few chapters were more mismatched scenes than a true series of events culminating in a story. Over the past two weeks I’ve buckled down and gotten serious. In what has been simultaneously an editing and new writing extravaganza I’ve spent many hours at Starbucks and I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
But, before I can even think about what’s happening next, I need to concentrate on this first, huge step. I need to write something to be published.