Suzzanah wrote this interesting article entitled 37 Questions New Writers Should Ask Themselves.
Just for kicks, I tried my best to answer them. Here goes.
1. Why do I want to be published? – I love books. I love reading. I love great stories and I want to be included on the bookshelves of homes and libraries. I would love to see my name in print and to have a physical manifestation of my hard work over the years.
2. What type of writing will I to focus on? – I don’t think a writer needs to focus on anything other than telling stories. I don’t want to limit myself to a specific genre or market. I want to write what interests me and stories that I’d like to read myself.
3. What expectations do I have for myself as a writer? – To write, to share my work and to have it appreciated.
4. Are my expectations realistic? – Yes, because I’m not focused on achieving money or fame. If it happens, then great, if not, as long as I have a few readers I think I’ll be happy.
5. What is my ultimate goal for my writing? – The ultimate goal would be to have a bestseller, to have a work turned into a movie, and to get name recognition along the lines of Stephen King.
6. What knowledge do I have about the publishing process? – Very little at this point but I’m going to learn.
7. What areas of the publishing process do I need to research more? – I need to start working on queries and how to find an agent.
8. What time of day am I the most productive? – It all depends on when I can find the time to write. Usually in the morning or after dinner.
9. What kind of writing schedule will I keep? – I will write something every day, whether it be a blog post, or a chapter , or a few pages, or a poem.
10. Which authors do I most admire, and why? – Sharon Creech has an amazing handle on the verse novel. Her words are poetic and I can hear them jump off the page. Douglas Coupland tells stories about regular, everyday characters. I like to hear stories from ordinary people. J. Michael Straczynski puts out such an amazingly huge amount of work. He writes for television, movies, comic books, and novels. His story arcs are incredible complex and always entertaining.
11. How would I describe my writer’s voice? – My writer’s voice reflects the many facets of my personality and the different hats I have worn as I have navigate through this interesting life.
12. What do I really know? – Nothing, but I’m figuring out more and more every day. How can I apply my real world knowledge and experience to my writing? – I can mine my life and experiences to create characters and storylines.
13. What skills do I have that will help me move toward publication? – I have an English degree and teaching credentials. They should help.
14. What skills do I lack that I must improve if I want to be published? – I need to learn how to network better. And I need to focus on not starting sentences with conjunctions so often.
15. What kind of professional development will I pursue? – Learn by doing. I will practice my skill by writing. I can’t afford to take any writing classes at this time since I am pursuing professional development for my teaching career right now.
16. What roadblocks am I likely to face in my road to publication? – I’m a busy guy with a lot of things happening in my personal life right now. It’s hard to see what roadblocks might be ahead but I’m a pretty adaptable guy and will handle whatever comes.
17. What is my contingency plan if I can’t get published? – I’m going to keep my day job.
18. How will I build a platform–for either fiction or non-fiction? – Blogging, Twitter, and podcasts.
19. What goals will I set for today? – blog post, write something for the future This week? – 3 to 5 blog posts, a chapter of my new novel This month? – about 20 posts for my blog and several pages of my novel This year? – I will send out some query letters this summer and hopefully a short story for publication in a magazine.
20. What am I doing to increase my exposure, even before I am published? – I’m going to keep blogging and working on establishing a web presence.
21. How do I plan to maintain my motivation during the rough times? – Reaching out to family and friends. Taking a break if need be, but never quitting.
22. How will I deal with friends and family members who are not supportive of my writing? – I don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. I have a some supporters and that’s all I need. Not everyone is going to be on board, it’s not logical to think so.
23. How will I financially support myself (and my family, if applicable) while I pursue publication–and even afterward? Every writer pretty much needs a day job in this day and age. I plan on continuing to teach.
24. Where will I go for writing support–critique groups, forums, etc.? – I visit some great blogs often and read The Writer and Writer’s Digest every now and then.
25. What might I need to give up to make this all happen? – Watching television, going to the movies, having an active social life.
26. Where will I/do I write, and is it the most effective place? – I like to write at home but I have written at other people’s homes or at the library. I just need a quiet place with a computer and access to the file of my work in progress.
27. How do I plan to take care of myself physically and mentally during my writer’s journey? – I go running at least 3 times a week. I walk whenever I can as well. I will eat properly and try not to snack as much when I write.
28. Am I a plotter or a pantser, and is my current system working for me? – I’m a proud pantser. I really like Stephen King’s belief that stories are found objects and that a writer’s job is to uncover the story that is already there.
29. Will I focus on gaining minor publishing credits first (short stories, poetry), or jump right into full-length books? – I’ve already written quite a few things but I’m working on gaining some minor publishing credits now.
30. Under what circumstances, if any, will I decide to give up? – I’ve given myself a five-year mission to get published. That takes me up to 2012. But if it takes longer, I’m pretty sure I’ll keep hammering at it.
31. Will I consider self-publishing? – I don’t think so. But I never want to close a door completely.
32. What feeling do I want readers to get from what I write? – I want them to want to read my stuff and to clamour for more. I want them to identify with my characters and stories. I want them to laugh. I want them to cry their eyes out.
33. What are the most effective ways for me to get inspired? – Reading and running and trying new things.
34. Will I write by hand or on a computer? Journalling by hand, everything else by computer. Will I use a word processor or specialized writing software? – MS Word but I’m experimenting with Google Docs right now.
35. What are the biggest struggles I face in this journey, and how do I plan to overcome them? – I don’t live anywhere close to a major publishing firm. We don’t have much of a scene here in Canada right now. I’d need to work on gaining fame and readers state-side but I want to write from my uniquely Canadian perspective.
36. How can I make my writing more authentic, more genuine? – Being true to who I am and what stories I want to tell.
37. Will I enter writing contests, or not bother? – I don’t think I should have to pay to enter a contest. I entered a free one on a blog once but it didn’t seem to have too much in the way of benefits for me. I think you really have to win in order for it to mean anything. Writing is so subjective that some of the best entries don’t get chosen anyway. But then again, everyone’s a critic.
I hope I used my time wisely by completing this series of questions. I think I just needed a break from my current work in progress. And I now I need to break for lunch. Writers always find stuff to keep them from writing but like # 27, I have to take care of myself and my health. Time for lunch, see ya!