Guest Blogger: Richard A. Knaak
When asked to do this guest blog, I knew immediately what I wanted to pass along. It matters not how many questions at conventions or probing emails I receive, those that do not deal with commentary on my works most often boil down to one thing — how to become a writer.
There are some very basic elements that must be hammered into any eager proto-author again and again. First and foremost, you must write. Yes, I know life has a way of interfering and that the latest episode of Dancing With the American Idol Who’s Got X Factor Talent is now on, but scientists have yet to figure out how to instantaneously draw the creative juices out of us and produce the great tomes of which we are capable. So it’s off to the pen and paper or keyboard (or whatever other method is most handy) with you. I’m not saying quit your day job and hope for the best, but you need to find some regular time each week to work at it. A few hours a week can do wonders. The regularity of writing itself will lend to your imagination as time goes on. You cannot become a writer if you do not write. Really. Honestly.
Of course, what you write matters, too. Focus on one or two projects. Concentrate more on one, then, if you find yourself suffering from writer’s block, move to the other. Failing that, try some reading, the return to whichever of the two seems most to attract your attention. Once more, simpler with practice. The point here is that if you want to become a published writer, you have to finish something. For a newcomer, especially, publishers will generally want to see something completed before they’ll take the risk. Yes, the first several projects may not sell, but you did want to be a writer for love of the craft itself, too, didn’t you?
With that in mind, comes a mantra I cannot repeat enough. Be stubborn. Be stubborn. Be stubb— Ok, guess I can repeat it enough, but it does need to be considered constantly. The first publisher may simply tell you ‘no’. The second, third, and so on may do the same, some of them in colorful yet polite language. If this makes you stop writing, that’s a shame. Tastes differ from one person to the next and even if one story never makes it, the next might. In the future, you might even come across someone who likes that original story, but with changes. You’ll never know that, though, unless you keep submitting your stories. You may gain enough rejection slips to wallpaper your house (or fill your hard drive depending on the publisher), but only by persevering can you gain the chance to jump up and down, wave the contract in people’s faces, an proclaim, “I have done it! I am a published author! Ha!” (Assuming that’s how you want to celebrate).
I’ve just described some of the most basic foundations you need for success. Yes, you’ve heard them all before, but they bear repeating. And repeat them I will, if you don’t get out there and write. So go! Scat! Write!
Richard A. Knaak is the NY TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of more than forty novels and twenty short pieces in the fantasy field. His latest novels included DRAGON MOUND—the first in his Knight in Shadow trilogy for Sea Lion Books and WOW:WOLFHEART for the bestselling series based on the game WORLD OF WARCRAFT. He is also the author of the popular Dragonrealm series and has written for Dragonlance and other worlds. His website is here and he can also be found on Facebook and twitter. Now go write!