Seven Steps to Becoming a More Successful Writer

You've come up with a great idea. You've written a nice rough draft. You've completed your editing and revising. You've submitted your work to the publisher of your choice. And now you're finished, right? Not quite. You see, what many new writers fail to realize is that writing involves much more than just putting pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. The work of a writer is a never-ending process. Sure, there's a lot of waiting time involved, but that time should be used to aid in your growth as a writer. Below are a few ideas to keep you busy and improving in the art of writing.

Develop new ideas - Do you have another project you would like to work on? What is it? Is it fiction or nonfiction? Who are the characters? What is the setting? What is the plot? What research needs to be done? Spend this time gathering new ideas to work on when the time is right.

Read - Stephen King said it best when he made this comment on the author's need to read: If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot...reading is the creative center of a writer's cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you. Reading educates us. Reading stretches our imaginations. Reading is a necessary part of any writer's life.

Expand your vocabulary - When was the last time you learned a new word? A growing vocabulary is an asset to every writer. Why use the word "subtle" when you can use the word "insidious?" Don't say "showy," say "ostentatious." There are many websites available that offer daily or weekly e-mails that present you with new words to enhance your vocabulary. Sign up for a few and see the vast improvement in the flow and imagery of your writing.

Improve your spelling - Along with expanding our vocabulary, many of us would benefit from brushing up on our spelling skills. True, we can always look it up in the dictionary or use spell-check, but we would save a lot of time if we would learn to spell the words correctly in the first place. Besides, it is a good thing to increase our knowledge.

Research - Waiting time is an excellent time to do research for your next project. Spend some time at the library, the bookstore, or online. Record the facts you need, and don't forget to make note of your sources.

Study the market - The time between projects is the best opportunity for you to study the market. Who is currently looking for submissions? Are there any upcoming themes you feel comfortable writing for? Which publishers would be interested in your next project? Take your time and study your options. Market study is almost as important as the writing itself, maybe even more important.

Take a class - If you would really like to improve your writing skills, take a class or visit a workshop. There are many courses offered online, and some of them are even free. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type in "free writing classes" or "writing workshops." You'll be amazed at the number of options available to you.

Writers must write. That is a fact, however, there are other important steps you must take if you want to become a successful writer. Writing is a joyful journey, but it is not easy. It requires time and effort. If you're willing to invest in it, it will change your life!