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Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing

From Mind to Paper is a blog for writers, editors, and those interested in the English language. It covers a multitude of writing topics, from punctuation and grammar to plot development, character development, and world building. In addition to in-depth articles about various writing topics, this blog also has a number of series posts, which are currently being transformed into a nonfiction series on writing.

4 Key Tips for Aspiring Writers

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

Becoming a well-known author is a common dream for most aspiring writers. The desire to write is part of who we are, and we often strive to make a living at it. But becoming a professional author isn't easy; it difficult to get your foot in the door, and it's even harder to keep producing top-notch books on a regular basis once you're in. After all, it's extraordinarily rare to write a best-selling book that makes you millions, forcing the majority of writers to also have day jobs. So how does one achieve the status of a professional?

1. Treat writing as your career, not just a hobby. If you want to be an author full-time, you have to commit yourself to it. That means forcing yourself to sit down and write every day no matter what. You also have to push yourself and strive to make your work the best it can be.

2. Get feedback from a professional. While many of your friends and family can give you valuable input as readers, they likely won't know the ins and outs of the publishing world or much in the way of professional editing. The feedback you will receive from a good editor can give you an idea of whether your writing is publication ready. It can also help you establish the things you're good at, and what you need to work on. Attending writing workshops is also a great way to improve your skills.

3. Don't rush the publication process. While you definitely want to make an effort to get your work out there and establish a name for yourself, make sure your writing is the best it can be before you do so. The best books take planning and many, many rounds of edits.

4. Build your reputation. Run a regular writing blog and meet other writers. Create a Twitter account and other social media dedicated to your writing. Let people see your skills as a writer—but take precautions to protect your rights to your work. Basically, you need to connect with others and showcase your talent. That's probably one of the most challenging things about being a writer, because most of us aren't born salespeople. But the more you can establish a name for yourself, the more interested people will become in your writing. And don't be discouraged if it takes a while to get response; for many writers, it takes years to build up their reputation.

Being a professional author takes a lifetime of commitment and hard work, as well as self-discipline. It's a long road to travel for most of us, but one worth taking. The most successful authors are the ones who spend their whole lives writing and continue to do so simply because they have a passion for it.

For more tips on becoming a professional author, check out this awesome blog post by Larry Correia: