In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "life is what happens while you're making other plans. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it."
When my dad asked me the all important question when I was 6 what I
wanted to be when I grew up, I knew then I wanted to be an author. That was 34 years ago. Somewhere along the line, I got a little lost.
But wanting something and getting it are two very different beasts. One of the hardest things about becoming an author is knowing how to get a foot in that gilded, golden door before someone else younger, smarter and with a much better idea body slams you out the way on their way through.
That was until 6 weeks ago when I met a local author which set the proverbial snowball in motion. I was introduced to a couple of people, who put me in touch with a couple more people, who knew even MORE people. All of them craftsmen in their own right and truly amazing humans, each and every one. All of a sudden I was talking to real live published authors and now I find myself sitting in front of a 50,000 word manuscript and hoping beyond hope, that a publisher might offer me a contract.
If I have one piece of advice for writers just starting out and looking for that elusive way in, one very effective way is networking. Talk to people, make contacts. Go to book launches, readings, sessions at your local Writer's Centre and talk to people. Don't just sit in the corner hiding and leave when it's over, get out of your comfort zone. Go and talk to the author, introduce yourself to other writers AND not forgetting the most important group of people, the readers! Get on social media, join some author groups, there is an abundance of information and help just waiting for you to tap into it.
As it turns out, authors are not the frightening, unapproachable rock-stars I thought of them as. They are the ones that will help you with your first draft, help you with critiquing and beta reading, and you will find these amazing people becoming lifelong friends. They have been where you are and can provide more advice than just doing the occasional writing course and hoping magically publishers will fall all over themselves to get your manuscript.
These people will become your support network when you are feeling low, hate what you've written and are close to binning the lot, can't find the write word or phrase, need to get more words out or just need to vent.
The only other snippet I would offer at this juncture is; be prepared to have to work hard, you aren't going to be able to give up your day job on your first book sales, or your second, or even your third. Write because you love to write.
It won't come to you, you have to go and get it, grab it and hold on.