The Top 10 Goals for Fiction Writers
Becoming an excellent fiction writer takes practice, patience, and persistence. It is not something that happens overnight. However, if you work hard enough, then you too, may be able to become a great fiction writer. In order to progress on your journey toward becoming a high quality fiction writer, it is helpful to have goals that you can strive to reach along the way.
Here are some of the top 10 goals for fiction writers.
1 - Master Grammer
Why: Mastering grammar is something that you will definitely need to do if you are going to become a top writer in the fiction area. This is because if you cannot write with complete grammatical correctness, then many literary agents and publishers will not take you seriously, and they will assume that you are an amateur. For this reason, you should strive to ensure that you understand the differences between words such as “their,” “they’re,” and “there,” “too,” “to,” and “two,” etc. You should also make sure that you know how to use commas, colons, and semicolons correctly. All of these things are important for fiction writers to know.
How: Read 1 book each month for 3 months on grammar usage.
Target: Write 1000+ word story and run it through a grammar checker such as Scribens.com without any grammar errors.
2 - Write at least a little bit every work day
Why: Perhaps the single best way to get better as a writer is to practice. That means writing a at least a little bit every work day. If you can do this, then you can really develop your skills. In his groundbreaking book, Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcom Gladwell suggests that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a true master at a craft. The closer that you can get to this amount, the more likely that you will be to become a fiction writing master.
How: Set aside at least 45 minutes per day five days a week and simply write.
Target: Aim to write enough so that you can complete at least a short novel in a year.
3 - Attend at least one writing conference per year
Why: Many people do not realize it, but writing conferences are excellent resources for aspiring writers. The reason is because writers can both learn key information, and also do a lot of networking at these conferences. In fact, many book deals are created at writing conferences, and many publishers and talent agencies send representatives to these events to find new writers. If you have never attended a writing conference before, then it may be well worth your while to do so.
How: Choose a writing conference and just go. Here is a list of writing conferences.
Target: Aim for one conference per year.
4 - Find someone to be your critic
Why: Few things are as helpful to fiction writers as meaningful feedback. This is because when a person gives feedback, it can give the writer insights that he or she may not have picked up on. Because of this, you should look for someone who can give you objective, meaningful feedback on your work. This could be another writer, a friend, or even someone you hire online. Whomever you choose, it is wise for there to be a second pair of eyes on your work before you submit it to agents or publishers.
How: Recruit someone either from your family, your group of friends, writer’s workshops, or online. You can even pay someone from Taskrabbit.com if you need to.
Target: Find at least one person who can critique your work at least once every three months.
5 - Find at least 3 writers who inspire you
Why: Inspiration is very important because it can help to keep your fire fueled as you try to become a professional writer. So, whether you like fantasy, science fiction, crime novels, or any other type of fiction, you should aim to find at least 3 authors whose work you absolutely love. Then, when you are feeling stressed out, or when you need some inspiration, you can simply read their work.
How: You can research writers online, you can go to Barnes and Noble and simply see what appeals to you, or you can browse authors on amazon.
Target: Find at least one author who inspires you per month for the next three months.
6 - Get something published
Why: If you are going to be a professional writer, then you need to start getting things published, and getting used to having your work read by other people. In the beginning of your career, you should just try to get your work published anywhere, regardless of whether or not it pays. You could try to get a short story published in a fiction magazine or website, or even just try to get an article or blog published. It can be very helpful to start small and work your way up.
How: Look for opportunities in your local community, look on forums for writers, Google search publishing opportunities, etc.
Target: Get at least one piece published in the next three months.
7 - Get paid for your writing
Why: After getting something published, the next step is to get paid for your writing. Getting published can help you to earn respect and improve your reputation as a writer. However, if you would like to move forward in the writing business, you will need to start getting paid. So, you should seek out opportunities where you can get paid. Even if it is not fiction at first, any paid writing will help to build your portfolio and your credibility.
Target: Get paid for at least one piece in the next four months.
8 - Build a following
Why: Building a following is very important because it helps to connect your work with a larger audience. You can work on building your following by creating a twitter account, a Facebook account, and even a Youtube channel. You can promote your work and provide other interesting content to grow your following through these mediums.
How: Create social media accounts and post to them regularly.
Target: Try to get at least 100 followers in the next three months.
9 - Get an agent
Why: Getting an agent is a crucial step in a fiction writer’s journey to success. This is because many novelists get their publishing contracts with the help of agents. Agents have the skills, the training, and the connections to help sell your work to publishing companies. It can be much, much easier to get a book deal if you have an agent than if you don’t. If you can get a good agent, you can form a lasting relationship with this person, and he or she can help you get your work published for many years. This can be a great step forward for your career.
How: Go to sites like AgentQuery.com and start reaching out to agents.
Target: Try to get an agent in the next six months.
10 - Get a book deal
Why: After you finish your book and get your literary agent, the final step is to get a book deal. If you can get a book deal for your fiction work, then you will be able to get it published, and offer it for sale to the public. This can be extremely exciting. Getting a book deal is a major step for a writer, and in some cases is the final step before genuine success is achieved. If your book is a hit, then you could stand to make a large amount of money. Just make sure you try to get the best deal that you can, so you get to keep a higher percentage of the book revenue!
How: Finish your novel, get an agent, and let your agent shop it around to publishers.
Target: Try to get a book deal in the next year.
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