A first time published writers’ view of the dream come true.

First off – the things we dream about rarely look like what we expected once we get them. That’s something we should all keep in mind. That big dream of being the ‘next big thing’ and making millions (or at least enough money to quit that ‘Average Joe’ day job) is probably going to stay a dream.
My advice? Take reality by the hand and change your dream – don’t give it up.
If writing makes you happy, just the act of creating will enhance your life. Readjust your expectations, yes, but don’t let it stop you from submitting your work to be published. Think hard about why you write in the first place. Is it all about the money? To make that million dollars? Or is it because the act of writing gives you so much pleasure that you want to share your stories with the world? If it’s the latter, the milestone you’re reaching for isn’t the millions but the achievement of getting published.
I’ve been writing since I was fourteen years old (that’s a few years back now, and no I’m not owning to how old I am now). Part of me is kicking myself for not submitting work earlier in my life. Having said that, I also don’t believe that even ten years ago I had the knowledge and the wisdom (?) that comes with age to have been able to put my heart on my sleeve for the world to see nor the courage to deal with criticism or rejection.
As it happens, I have never been rejected. My first novel submitted was my first novel accepted by a major publishing house and I had interest from another major publisher as well. But that doesn’t mean that rejection won’t kick my legs out from under me later. This is a competitive business with changing interests and believe me it is a business! Be prepared to do the hard work, particularly since unless you get that million dollars, you will probably be still doing your Average Joe day job at the same time.
Okay, so I have only had one book published and one on the way, but I figure that qualifies me to at least impart my own tips for aspiring writers so here’s my top 5 tips:
1. Never stop writing. Not sure what to write? Write anything. Transcribe the conversation next to you in the coffee shop, write down what the newscaster is saying – then let it lead you into your own thoughts. What comes out may be total crap. That’s okay. Just keep writing. You may end up with four pages of total garbage but somewhere in there you may strike gold.
2. Keep notebooks and pens absolutely everywhere! By the bed, in your bag, next to the couch and I believe there is such a thing as bathroom crayons for kids, you may need them to write your thoughts on the wall while you are washing your hair. The muse strikes at the weirdest times – be ready!
3. Read! As much as you possibly can of the genre you are interested in writing for but also read and learn what you can about writing and publishing.
4. Don’t like Facebook or Twitter? Tough! Social media is your best friend in the publishing world these days. Get on it. Learn how to use it and it will work hard for you.
5. My last tip is something I wish I had known before being published. Join writers and readers associations. The community of the Romance Writers of Australia is the most supportive and knowledgeable group of published and aspiring writers I have ever known. I am looking forward to my first RWA Conference in Sydney in August (three weeks away) and I am so excited to finally be meeting all the amazing authors who have been so supportive of me and my journey and just plain great friends.
Well thanks for listening to my first rant in the blog world. Not sure how often I will get time to do a blog between full time work and full time writing. (You may sigh with relief after this mammoth first blog)