If you really want to know how to become a writer, I can tell exactly you what to do in a single word: write!
Want to go one step further and become a writer who makes a living from doing what they do? That's easy, too: first you write a novel, then you sell the novel to a publisher, or publish it yourself!
Now for the more serious advice...
If you are anything like 99% of first-time novelists, you will be tempted to skip this information and get cracking on the meatier material: planning, writing, and revising your own novel.
Don't be in too much of a hurry.
Writing a novel is a long and not altogether straightforward process. To stand the best chance of reaching the finishing line and not quitting along the way (like 99% of people who dream of becoming a writer), you need to prepare for the journey ahead.
More specifically, you need to do three things...
The articles below will teach you how to become a writer who is equipped for success right from the start.
That's a very important question for would-be novelists, and it's one that you need to answer right here and right now. After all, if you have any doubts about your writing talent (or lack of it), how are you going to cope a month or two down the road when the initial enthusiasm has worn thin and you're confronted with a tough chapter in your novel?
This is the point at which many novelists abandon their dreams.
But if you believe in your talents, and your eventual success, you will have the necessary faith to push through the difficult times (and all writers, however experienced, encounter those).
How do you discover if you have what it takes?
Simply read this article on the Myths & Secrets of Novel Writing. (If you are afraid of reading it because you're scared what you might learn, trust me and read it anyway. I think you will be pleasantly surprised what you find. And it will do your confidence no end of good.)
This one is even more crucial than the last, in terms of motivating yourself to write. You see, writing a novel to a publishable standard just isn't going to happen in a few short weeks. And although the work is fun and highly rewarding, there will still be a few tough times.
So why bother to become a writer? What do you hope to get out of it? What are the perks of writing fiction?
It is a lot easier to get excited about a project (and excitement is one of the best motivators there is) if you stay true to yourself and do things your own way.
It is hard to stay motivated if you feel like you are not following your heart and your instincts.
When a lot of people decide to become a writer, they have a romantic vision of a struggling artist pouring out their soul on paper and not paying any attention to the commercial side of writing.
There is a little truth in this vision. After all, novel writing is a creative act, and pouring out your soul is precisely what you will be doing when you set your story down on paper.
But fiction is also a commodity. Writers create stories, readers read them, and there are all sorts of middlemen taking their cut along the way - agents, publishers, booksellers.
Partly, this means turning up to any meetings with agents and publishers with your business hat on, not your creative one.
And partly it means being organized and efficient in your daily writing routines (because if you aren't, you are much less likely to create a product that anyone wants to invest in.
The following articles will help you become the professional writer you intend to be...
One of the first things you will want to do, having decided to become a novel writer, is set up your writing space so you have all the "tools of the trade" to hand. The Tools To Become a Writer tells you what you need - and also what you don't need.
Next, check out Becoming a Writer Takes Time. This article is about two things...
Finally, How To Write Fiction the Smart Way sets out even more strategies for ensuring that you don't succumb to the fate of many would-be writers - namely, starting in a whirlwind of excitement but then abandoning the whole idea of being a novelist halfway through the second chapter.
Okay, you can take your professional hat off again now. It's time to meet your inner artist...
So far in this section on how to become a successful writer, you have discovered how to...
Now it's time to talk about the most important tool you have at your disposal: creativity.
The good news is that us humans are a naturally creative bunch. The bad news is that this creativity tends to get hammered out of us from middle-childhood onwards. Watch young children at play and you will see pure creativity at work...
And then adulthood comes along and spoils everything. We put away our childish things and get on with the "serious" business of life - which for most people does not involve anything like writing a novel. And we are all the poorer for it.
Learning to make full use of your inner-creativity is vital if you want to become a successful novel writer. Not only will your creativity allow you to write a much better novel, it will help you to enjoy the process of actually writing it so much more.
The following articles reveal everything you need to know...
And that is it.
Like I said at the top, please do take the time to absorb all the advice in the material above. I know you are itching to get going on this brand new adventure of becoming a writer, but what you have to understand is that writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint.
Taking the time to prepare before you set off could save you a lot of wasted time later on.
Finally, here are some of the questions I have received in the Fiction Writing Q & A section related to becoming a novelist...