The world of writing is a fairly easy one to get into if you know how to do it. Today I’m going to be speaking to you about all the work that goes into it. I have made a lot of mistakes and learned a whole lot; the hard way, but I want to make this journey a bit easier for you though.
Picking a Platform:
This is one of the most important things you have to decide. Being a writer in the digital age is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we have more platforms such as social media, online magazines, blogs, etc. A curse because the attention span of humans is the lowest it’s ever been now, meaning people most probably don’t have enough of it to read. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000. Let me tell you a bit about my platform of choice.
Instagram was/is my platform of choice. Think about it, billions of people mindlessly scroll through the app at almost every hour, of any given day. According to a survey (sources are mentioned at the end), Instagram is the second most-downloaded free app in the Apple App Store. Moreover, Instagram Poets and Writers have found a lot of fame and fortune through this wonderful app, including the likes of Atticus, Rupi Kaur, and Lang Leav. Their success stories are like no other, and because of this incredible app, their millions of fans also include well-known celebrities. The final call is yours; these are just some of the reasons why I chose Instagram.
How to build your following?
Let’s be honest, finding actual organic followers that love your words; is very hard. Often on Instagram, you find yourself surrounded by “follow-for-follow, like-for-like, and comment-for-comment” types. Trust me, been there, and done that. I believed that this was the only way to grow my following, by joining tones of “Gain Groups” and following every single person who direct messaged me saying “Follow-for-follow.” This is most definitely NOT the case, organically growing your account and making actual connections within the community works best. So how do you do this?
First, find some good, popular hashtags (not too popular though because your work will be lost amongst the endless stream of writings) and use them with your posts. Use a few constant hashtags and then use a few related to your particular topic. Once you are done posting, go on the hashtags you’ve used, and interact with your community. I cannot stress this enough! Interact and make genuine connections in your community. Don’t be afraid to leave people messages on how you found their work. This will boost your engagement like crazy!
Don’t be afraid of critique.
Criticism plays a major part in the growth of your writing. When friends and family critique your writing do not get overly defensive and lose that opportunity to grow. You can pick a particular person or a group of people who you feel comfortable with and send them your work. For me, this was my sisters, mom, sister-in-law, and my two best friends. Pick people you know will support you, and tell you what needs to be said straight-up. My sister was also my editor. She was/is an amazing influence on my writing, and she has helped me grow my ability so much, and I will forever be indebted to her for that.
Edit to perfection.
I know editing is a pain, but you need to do it if you want people to like your work. I don’t know about you but when reading the first thing I notice is a grammatical error (if there is one) and it’s not just me. A lot of people lose interest in reading a piece if it is not written well or is littered with errors.
The Next Step.
After you’ve developed a substantial following and have grown as a writer; reach out to magazines! Be it online magazines or even hardcopy ones. Reach out to them and submit your work. I reached out to my first magazine in October of 2019. I would suggest indie magazines since they are a great starting point for your first publication.
Be ready for rejection.
I know it’s easier said than done. The feeling you get when you get rejected is horrible. You feel as if someone has physically said “your work isn’t good enough,” but I’m here to tell you that, that is not the case! More often than not, the only reason magazines reject your work is because it just doesn’t fit with their theme and their criteria. It’s not a commentary on your writing, it’s genuinely them and not you. I was rejected by two magazines before I joined Yellow Scribe, it wasn’t nice, but it was an opportunity to grow.