It may be the easiest thing in the world to become an author, and also the most challenging experience. Anyone can author a poem, a story, a piece of fiction or non-fiction, but the question remains as to whether people become a known author, actually published or truly recognized. The two things aren’t always the same, and though it’s easy to give lots of tips on authoring, becoming a well-known author requires talent, persistence and luck.
First it may be wise to consider what skills an author must possess. Anyone who would like to become an author should have strong writing skills. Being able to work within deadlines and to be a self-starter and stay motivated when no one is supervising are valuable too. Obviously, strong critical reading skills are important. It’s difficult to know what good writing is if the author can’t recognize it in works by other people.
Some authors don’t have formal education, but many of them do. Most people may start on the path to become an author by taking lots of classes in literature and in writing. Authors can work in numerous genres, so it’s a good idea to explore several of these: short stories, poetry, non-fiction prose, fiction, biography, and personal essay. As people study these, often at the college level, they usually get a sense of which types of writing fit them. Maybe they are born poets, or suited to writing about the lives of others, for instance.
There are several degrees that can be earned for people who are studying to become an author. These include degrees in creative writing or literature at the bachelor’s degree level. Some people take a degree in a completely unrelated subject. People may also earn master of fine arts degrees in creative writing. The master’s degree is well worth it if a potential author feels he is not quite ready to launch his career. Others find this degree superfluous, since they are already writing a great deal.
What does seem to be valuable when a person wants to become an author is that they begin submitting work as soon as they can. Colleges often have short fiction publications which may be a good place to start, but people living in the US and Canada should also invest in a current Writer’s Digest so they can begin to submit their work elsewhere. Sadly, most authors will need to get used to rejection, as they’re likely to encounter it with many submissions. The true author will soldier on, in spite of these, continuing to submit and work on new material until acceptances start occurring.
Since authorship can be something of a risky career, it may also be wise to study something related to its field that can provide a steady income. People might work in journalism, publishing, editing or other fields where jobs are slightly easier to find. Most people won’t become an author who is known unless they keep writing, and as they get more work published, they should begin to look for a literary agent. These people may be able to take an author’s work much farther, bringing it to the attention of major publishers.