Sometimes people email me for school assignments or other types of assignments where they need to learn about how to become an author. I just got one such request and thoughts I would post the three answers I gave an aspiring writer.
1. What are your job responsibilities?
As a writer, it probably won’t surprise you to find out that my main responsibility is to write books. Sometimes I have a deadline from the publisher and have to hole up like an unwashed obsessed person, trying to wrestle words from the air and pin them on the page. Other times, the deadlines are all internal and then my children get fed dinner once in a while. Publishers also expect you to do a large amount of marketing for your books. I hadn’t expected this when I got my first contract and I foolishly forgot to get a degree in marketing. If you want to become a writer, the more you can learn about marketing, the better.
2. What training or education did you obtain to do the job?
The nice thing about being a writer is that part of the education is reading a lot of books. However, you’ll also need to read books on writing and get some sort of a critique group that will give you feedback on your writing. If you can’t find a group near you, try an online critique group. Or you can also find critique groups by genre. Romance writers frequently join RWA etc.
Since you will also be receiving high degrees of criticism and rejection, I suggest you train for the job of a writer by going to high school. Every time you’re snubbed, you can tell yourself: That ain’t nothing. I can take it. I’m going to be a writer.
3. What contributions does your job make to society?
As a writer, my main contribution to society is to convince girls and women that there really are hot awesome guys around who are both romantic and witty. This may be a total lie. I’m not sure. I’m married to an electrical engineer. But because people need entertainment, it’s important for authors to provide good uplifting novels that readers don’t have to feel bad about reading. Hopefully, I do that too.