Archuleta A. Chisolm
The Secret to Becoming a Writer
I didn’t realize that I was a writer until I was in my 30’s. Even though I had been writing since I was a child, it was something I did for personal enjoyment. I also thought I had to be published in order to call myself a real writer. So, I continued to look at it as a hobby.
What I knew for sure was that writing was something I could not stop doing. It brought joy, peace, and spoke to my spirit unlike anything else ever could.
By 2006, I had a collection of poems that spanned over many years – and one day I decided to research publishing companies. After finding one that I felt was a good fit for me, it took months before I could muster the courage to send off my manuscript.
During that time, God let me know that writing was not just for my personal enjoyment. The joy and peace I felt was to be shared with others. This thing that I couldn’t stop doing was my passion and purpose.
It was that day that I embraced calling myself a writer, and honored the responsibility that God gave me.
Simple, right? Not even close! I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of rejection, and just plain afraid. What I learned was that courage doesn’t mean you won’t be afraid; it means that you push through anyway. Three weeks after I finally submitted my manuscript to this particular publisher, they offered me a contract.
People often ask me how to get started as a writer. The secret is…WRITE. Go to Wal-Mart, buy a notebook and a package of pens, dedicate time each day, and just write.
It doesn’t matter that you’re not published yet, or that you haven’t told anyone what you want to do. Stop thinking you’re not worthy of calling yourself a writer. Stop downplaying the joy you feel or the ideas that keep you awake at night.
Start to speak your truth out loud, regardless of whatever else you’re doing. I was working as an accountant when I published my first book. But when I would meet people and they asked me what I did, I said, “I’m a writer.” You have to talk it, walk it, and own it. You are who you say you are.
Begin to surround yourself with other writers. Join meet-up groups, social media groups, or writing clubs. Attend events where you can network with other writers. You need to be encouraged and inspired by like-minded people.
Tell a couple of trusted friends or family members that you are writing. Accept them cheering you on!
Do what you need to do to hone your craft – classes, workshops, or a writing coach. And don’t forget to read, read, and read within your genre. In order to be a good writer, you have to be an avid reader.
You’ve got this. Now, go write.