The Big Secret To Re-Inventing Yourself As A Writer

After last year’s sabbatical and mid-career epiphany, I realized it’s time to get serious about writing fiction. I’ve reinvented myself before, when I decided to leave the corporate sector to start my own business and again when I decided to branch out from IT consulting into freelance writing.

And I’ve discovered the big secret to re-inventing yourself as a writer. To become a writer, you have to decide you are a writer.

It doesn’t have anything to do with how many stories you’ve published or how well you’ve built your author platform. Don’t get me wrong, those things are important. They develop you as a writer, but they don’t make you a writer. Only you can do that.

I sat down a few years ago and decided that I wanted to write about business and technology. Actually I was already writing about business and technology, for my clients and on my Tech Tips blog. But I wanted to pursue it in depth, because I love writing about things like social media, cloud computing, and data security. Today, I’m a successful freelance IT writer – because I decided I was. And because I decided I was, other people (read: employers) saw me that way too.

I’m applying the same strategy to fiction. I love science fiction and fantasy, as anyone who’s had the misfortune to utter the words “doctor” and “who” in the same breath around me can attest. You can achieve your goals, too. Just decide whatever it is you want and go for it. If you fail, so what? Isn’t that better than not trying?

There it is, the super-duper big secret to re-inventing yourself as a writer. Hush, don’t tell anybody how basic it is. Everyone thinks “becoming a writer” is such a big deal. Your first published piece, that’s a big deal! Becoming a writer is a mindset. And in that mindset, here are my New Year’s writing resolutions for 2012:

  • Write more
    Number one on the list. A writer has to write, and I write a lot, but this year I want to focus on getting these fiction pieces off the back burner. I’m also continuing to spread my wings as a freelance IT writer.
  • Submit more
    Which brings us to resolution #2. My goal this year is to finish stories and get them out the door pronto. No sitting, no waiting, and NO MORE REVISIONS. It’s easy to say, “This piece isn’t quite ready yet” when you really mean “I’m scared to submit this.”

But it’s no good writing in a vacuum, which is why I’m also going to:

  • Interact more
    On Twitter, on blogs, in the sf/f community. I’ll also be sharing tips for writers based on my experience as an IT consultant and social media expert, so stay tuned. (If you want a head start, check out my Tech Tips blog where I have oodles of information on everything from marketing via social media to protecting yourself from viruses.)
  • Read more
    The more you read, the better you write, and I could never resist a book anyway. During my sabbatical I returned to devouring novels like candy. (Or, in the case of A Song of Ice and Fire, more like poisoned gruel.) I’ve got Paolini’s Inheritance lined up next, and when that new Pern novel is out it’s mine, baby.
  • Buy more silly geek toys
    Because the only thing better than a sonic screwdriver is another sonic screwdriver. And doesn’t every garden need a Weeping Angel?

What are your goals for 2012? Share them in the comments!