That title might annoy some people...but it says what I want to stress. Being a real writer isn't as easy as writing a book. And I am not saying that it applies to anyone but me. However, since I am the only person I can speak for, it is true for me.
I started calling myself a professional writer in 2000 when my first novel was published. I was quite proud to finally be able to claim that title after all the years I had wanted it.
For the next twelve years I considered myself a professional writer...
But it wasn't until three years ago that I actually started acting like it.
I have talked about this before, but it bears repeating, because it is a lesson that can't be stressed enough. You aren't a real writer unless you write.
And it isn't enough to write. You have to do something with what you write. You can't just pop it in a drawer and expect to be famous someday.
I've told you about my rejection challenge. First year three hundred rejections, last year two hundred.
Trying to meet this challenge gave me incentive to write more than I ever had in my life. It taught me that the more you write, the easier it is to be polished, and the quicker a polished draft appears.
This year, I've upped the game. It didn't start out to be a thing, but after I got started on this year's challenge, it has become a point of honor. This year, I have challenged myself to make a submission a day.
Now, I know what being a writer really is. It's exhausting. It means writing a LOT. It means making connections. It means perseverance. It means not letting a rejection bother you--but looking at it as an opportunity to get another submission out the door.
And, as a side benefit, the piece you get rejected today might be perfect for the next market you send it to. I've almost hit the absolute bottom of my orphan pieces. Stories that had been out four, five, six times finally found the perfect home.
Set what looks/feels like an impossible goal. Work to achieve it. Nothing feels better than making that goal. And even if you don't make it, as long as you are working to achieve it, you are working. And that is what makes a REAL writer. :)
If you want to see how my personal goal is going this year, follow me on Twitter at @RieSheridanRose and #howlongcanitgo
So far, I've made 62 submissions this year.