Words for Writers: “How Do I Become A Writer?”

At nearly every event I attend, someone asks me “How Do I Become A Writer?”

Usually I ask: “Do you want to be a writer? Or do you want to be a professional who gets paid to write? Because those are two different things and it will make my answers different.”

If it is the former, my answer is this: “Write. And share it. And write more.”

If it is the latter, my answer is this: “Hoo-boy, do you have a few hours? And Google?”

I was considering a blog series that gives people a detailed run-down of how to navigate becoming a professional writer, but realized it’s been done before, and done well, by other authors, agents, and editors.

However, I still get asked, so there must be questions that aren’t getting answered elsewhere, or not in enough detail.

So, I wanted to open the floor here.

What questions, specifically, do you have for a published, professional author about becoming a published, professional author?  Is there anything you’ve been dying to know, and can’t find in your research? Is there a question that you can’t seem to get a straight answer on?

Ask me, and I will do my best to answer in as much detail and as straightforwardly as I can. It might be in comments, but it will probably be in a blog post. Ask away!


For more posts on the business and craft of writing, search my Words for Writers tag.

JM FreyWords for Writers: “How Do I Become A Writer?”


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  • Jan - February 29, 2012

    Dear JM,
    While I don’t want to be a writer per se – not unless I can come up with an idea how to write the one book that I have in me – I am partnered with someone who does. Currently he has signed up for a scholarship position at the upcoming west coast Clarion writers’ workshop, and I am crossing my fingers (and toes) for him! 😀

    The plus-side of all this is that I really like his work, as do I yours. I just finished reading your first novel a few weeks back and I have made it my staff pick at work.* I also plan to blog, at work**, about first novels sometime in the next few months when I have a few more under my belt in the scifi/fantasy realm. I admit to being a proud s/f nerd-ess!

    Do you know of any other recent first novels, written by women, in the s/f realm – preferably not steampunk – that you’d recommend? Just thought I’d ask: it doesn’t hurt. Right?!

    Much success to you JM … I eagerly await your progress. By-the-by, I really liked your costume and seeing YOU in it! Tres jolie! I do art commissions and maybe someday, as I improve and gather a name for myself, I will do your portrait … (?)

    *Tougher for me to sell your because of the lightning print status … it is easier for me to sell books that I can stack and show.
    ** One of the the few remaining independent book stores on the west coast.

  • JM Frey - February 29, 2012


    Thanks for commenting! Best of luck to your partner with his application. I never did try for Clarion; the timing always seemed to be off for me. But I’d love to be an instructor there one day.

    I am happy that you enjoyed Triptych. Please let me know when you blog about it!

    I assume you’re referring to the TARDIS gown? Thank you. Sure, I really enjoy posting for paintings. I did it a bit a few years ago, before I moved to the city, and found that I had quite a nice time modelling. I’d be happy to provide you with a pic of a particular pose.

    As for other female debut novelists, I suggest you check out Marie Bilodeau, Leah Petersen, and Leah Bobet. Those are three ladies I know whose first books came out quite recently, or are just about to come out. Also, Helene Bodreau, J Anderson Coats, Amanda Sun, Kathleen Peacock, Jodi Meadows… um… and lots more I can’t think of off the top of my head. Happy reading!

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