While reading your “textbooks” is essential to becoming a bestselling author, writing itself requires repetition to get the hang of it. Make a point to write every day, even if it’s just a short journal entry.
Many writers have said that before me, but I can attest to its effectiveness. If I hadn’t been writing regularly before I started Spark, I probably wouldn’t be published for many, many years.
Since I started writing with a goal in mind at the age of eleven, I was able to pick up the pen at fifteen and start writing what would become my first published work.
When you do start a novel, whether or not you plan to publish it, outlines are extremely important. If you know anything about Nanowrimo, you’ve probably heard about this group of people called “pantsers” who write without planning. (If you don’t know about Nanowrimo, where have you been? Go check it out!) I’m not saying that it’s completely impossible to write a bestseller while pantsing, but it would be very difficult.
To most, outlines are essential to get the feel of the characters and the story before they even start the first chapter. J.K. Rowling is the most obvious example of what planning can do.
She plotted out most aspects of the Harry Potter world even before starting the first book. Now she’s one of the most revered authors of all time and a billionaire on top of that. Or she would be if she just didn’t donate so much.
**Exasperated sigh** (Kidding, of course. I admire her generosity.)
To be fair, you can write by the seat of your pants to get out of a ditch, but it’s very easy to dig yourself deeper, especially the farther you go without editing. I’ve had to delete whole chapters to keep from rabbit-trailing my novel down into a sad, literary crypt. So while pantsing is a weapon in your arsenal, it’s also like playing Russian roulette.