Author Toolbox: So You Wanna Be A Writer

Have you always wanted to start that career as an author but had no idea where to start?

Great News! Now you too, can join the ranks of the world’s most elite authors. All you have to do is follow these ten simple steps and soon YOU could be rubbing elbows with the likes of Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and J.K. Rowling.

You lucky cat.

So here you have them. Got your pen and paper? Excellent. You’ll want to start right away!

1o Steps to Becoming an Author

  1. Perfect your Brooding Artist look. If you’re going to be an author, first you have to look the part. Spend a few minutes in the mirror each day practice your signature ‘artists’ look. Go pensive, surly, or wistful–whatever you’d like. Except smiley. Suffering artists                                                                                                       .
  2. Create a Snooty Pen Name. You’re going to need it for your adoring fans to fawn all over your work. Remember, exclusivity is key when deciding on your author’s name, and an ideal pen will preferably include one or more initials. Think X. Martin S. Calderwell IV or N.S.I. Quimby.  No room for plain Joes or Julies here!                                                   .
  3. Develop an Extreme Caffeine Addiction. Simply put, if you do not have some sort of caffeine addiction you cannot be a writer. (Jury is also out on whether or not you’re a real human being–I’m onto you aliens!) So do whatever you need to start ramping up  that caffeine dependency. Repeat after me: The more you crave, the more they’ll rave!                                                                                                                            .
  4. Stake Your Claim to your Local Coffee Shop. Once you’ve gotten yourself successfully addicted, you’ll need a dealer. I’m not one to discriminate between coffee shops, but I’ll tell you this: if your venue of choice doesn’t automatically make your double espresso nonfat soy latte with two pumps of vanilla and a half shot of virgin’s blood when you walk in the door, you haven’t made it yet.                                                                               .                                                                                                                  .
  5. Do Your Homework. No successful author has ever been published without first reading the entire work of Webster’s Dictionary. If you’re going to be slinging words for a living you need to know them all. For extra credit, consider working in the Thesaurus. Heck to be safe, you’ll probably want to invest in the Farmer’s Almanac.                                                                                                                                                       .
  6. Buy The Books. Seriously. The Comprehensive List of Writing Guides is a good place to startNO WRITING is allowed until you’ve read them all. You can’t possibly come up with words of value unless you’ve invested thousands of dollars and taken instruction from everyone under the sun. Especially cousin Stu who got a poem published that one time and now has a How-To Guide on Amazon. Solid Gold.                                       .
  7. Put Yourself in your character’s shoes. Literally. You’re almost ready to write. ALMOST. Don’t start typing just yet. First you need to don on your best character costume and spend a day or two living the life of your character. Talk like your character, walk like your character, BE your character. To up the ante, mess with your barista and order your character’s coffee choice. That’ll keep ’em on their toes! Once you’ve become one with your MC you are ready to write!                                                                                                                                                             .
  8. ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA. So you’ve finally started writing. Don’t get too comfy! Give yourself a few good paragraphs, then go set up your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and heck- bring back Myspace! You’re going to  need something to keep your mind busy when you hit that Writer’s Block, and there is no better distraction than all those notifications. Don’t worry about setting up timelines to stick to or overdoing social media time. You’ll know when to stop. All the real authors do.                                                                                                                                                    .
  9. Get a cat…. or 6. Before you can publish your work, you are going to need an official mascot. I recommend a feline companion. They will be your constant companion as you write and will always show their support by wanting to be as close to your work as possible. Laying across the keyboard, jumping in your face, meowing loudly while you try and fill that plot hole? Some people call those distractions, but real writers know it’s teamwork.                                                                                   .
  10. Submit Your Work As Soon As Possible. Editing Schmediting. Ain’t nobody got time for that. You’ve got a golden first chapter? Send it in! Your book is done? It’s ready to rock. Once you’ve nabbed your publisher, they’ll work out the rest of the kinks. You’ve been signed and are now basically guaranteed success and riches. Welcome to insta-fame! You’ve earned it!


If you couldn’t tell, this list is NOT an all-access pass to the big leagues. (In fact, it might be better titled: How to NOT Become an Author) Sorry. But hopefully it made you giggle a bit at least!

The truth is, Authoring is hard work. You are creating new lives and worlds entirely from what’s inside your mind. There are going to be long days, hard days, and just all around terrible days, but if you stick with it, it will be so worth it because of what you will create.

And that my friends, is magic.

So, while I can’t just hand over a super formula to becoming an author I can tell you what to really do, and that is WRITE. Of all the things you need to do to become an author it is to sit down and write.

Write whatever comes to your mind, just get your words out there! Have fun with it, go crazy! Writing doesn’t have to be serious all the time (as this article may suggest). Make it something you enjoy doing until it’s something you feel like you just can’t live without. Because even the best story can’t be told without the words that build it up.

Your story needs YOU. Your thoughts, your passion, your words. Even if you feel like it’s garbage, push through. Bad days may come and go, but once your words have been published and printed, that’s forever.


Did You Enjoy This Article?                                                                                                             Why not check out the other Blog Hoppers? Their stuff is great too!                             Click HERE to see the original hop post and to find the full list of participants!

Happy Reading!


JM Sullivan - small

 J.M. Sullivan is a Science Teacher by day, and an author by night.  If you would like to connect for a healthy dose of sparkle, positivity, and a touch of crazy, you can find her on Twitter or Instagram @_JM_Sullivan or on her YouTube Channel, AuthorConfession.

43 thoughts on “Author Toolbox: So You Wanna Be A Writer

  1. Love the list 😀 the bits about coffee and furry mascots must be true at least… I need to get my hands on a copy of The Wanderland Chronicles, it sounds right up my alley!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So … one of my MCs is dead, and the other one isn’t … so does that mean I only have to kill half of myself? Or do I need to invent a way to be both alive and dead before I even attempt step 7? I don’t want to get ahead of myself!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun post! The best part is, those who don’t write do honestly believe your tips are real! I do have one cat… hmmm…. Lol And yes. Commit to the process is the best way to success no matter the time and effort. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this!!

    Though, How to Write books can help sometimes. I love Stephen King’s “On Writing.” I find it to be incredibly helpful and insightful. And, I may need to create a pen name, apparently there is a Vanessa Scott who writes erotica, and while that is all well and fun, it doesn’t align with what I am writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Is it bad that I once read the dictionary because I was bored? I’d been stuck in bed sick for two days and read everything else available! In my defense I was young. LOL
    Great post! You made me smile!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Laughing…too…hard…to…type. You’re hilarious. It really is all about the work, isn’t it? Though, a part of me wishes your list was the formula. I could handle that. I needed a good laugh. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I already have the snooty pen name, a strong relationship with caffeine, and huge dictionary (Oxford), loving named the “spell book” because I am a fantasy writer after all. I am well on my way.

    And I guess I could get a cat. I would end up in the hospital (horrifically allergic to the little adorable balls of fluff)… which would make a great future MC. I could get a check off step 9 and get a jump on step 7 in one go.

    Thanks for the laugh. “Writing doesn’t have to be serious all the time.” Such great advice as I sometimes get lost in the business instead of the joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You mean if I get four more cats I can be a writer? I’ll get right on that.

    (Boyfriend comes home. Hears mewing. “Honey…. WHAT DID YOU DO?!!?”)

    Despite the cheekiness, you are right for #5, “Do Your Homework.” No, you don’t need to read every how-to book ever (personally I’ve found a lot of those to go in one of my ears and out the other), but if you are going to seriously pursue authorhood (or *gasp* quit your day job over it), you had better be clear on the publishing world and what you’re in for!

    I like the snooty pen name line too. I went with my full name because I find it to be a pretty cool name overall, but sometimes I wonder if M. S. Kole, Mica S. Kole, or Mica Scotti would be better, lol. We’re writers. We overthink everything.


      1. ALL THE CATS!!! hahaha! Thank you it was such a fun launch I feel like I’m still catching up from it though (so you’re definitely not alone ;D )


  9. 1. RBF (Resting Bitch Face)
    2. Nia Pentwater Collette
    3. Kona only, picked on a June afternoon, after the rains
    4. Starbucks inside a Target
    5. Merrian-Webster, the hip dictionary
    6. And all the free pdf’s for signing up on other author’s websites
    7. Hoop skirts of WWII Victory rolls?
    8. 24/7/365
    9. Coco Xena is her name
    10. I always submit my unedited NaNo books

    Thanks for today’s laugh!

    Liked by 1 person

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