Publishing your writing as a teenager seems like a nearly impossible task. The world of publishing is a scary arena to enter. It takes a lot of time, patience and grit to become a published writer. Although it may sound a little daunting, if you know the basics, you can become a great writer.
What Do You Want To Write?
Having an idea is the first step to starting your writing journey. If you don't know what you want to write, think about what inspires you. What makes you feel alive when you read it? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Longer or shorter stories? Do want to write more than one type of story?
Plotter or Pantser
Before you begin writing, you need to decide if you're a plotter or a pantser.
Plotters like to plan out how they are going to write the story. Sometimes the plans are elaborate and take several pages, or it may be as simple as a single page with a general idea of how things go. They like to be very organized and tend to stick closely to their outlines.
Pantsers do exactly what it sounds like they do: they just write, no plan, no problem. Most of what they write down is thought up on the fly.
There are also some writers that do a little bit of both. These writers are known as plansters. Plansters might have some idea of how the story goes, but they will still make things up as they go along.
It's important to know which of these three types of writer you are, because it will help you formulate a plan to help you write.
At this stage all you should be worried about is putting words on a page. It doesn't matter if it's perfect, just as long as they're there. Don't pay too much attention to spelling or grammar, just write what's in your head. If you're having trouble coming up with what to write, look up some writing prompts online and write based off one you like.
One way to help you write is to set small goals for yourself and try to achieve them. Most writers tend to set either word count or time-based goals because they are easy to track and aren't as overwhelming as, say, a goal to publish in a year.
Make sure you write on a consistent basis so that you don't get out of the habit of writing.
Edit and Revise
After you have written your piece, set it aside for little while, even just a day or two. Then come back and look at it with fresh eyes. Read through your piece with a critical eye.
What To Look For When Editing and Revising:
- Areas That Need Rewritten
- Spelling Mistakes
- Grammar Mistakes Such As Run-On Sentences and Incorrect Punctuation
After you find all the spots that need a little TLC, fix them up.
You might need to repeat this process more than once. You can also have someone you trust read your piece and give you feedback.
Researching The Market
Knowing where to submit your piece can be difficult. With all the different publishing options out there, it can be confusing. Thankfully, the bounty of resources available to us has increased over the years. However, there are so many publishing options out there it can be hard to know where to start. This is why doing your research is so important.
There are a couple of factors to take into consideration when looking for a place to submit your work:
- What Kind Of Piece You Have Written?
- What Kind Of Work Do they Typically Publish?
- Do They Take Work From New Writers?
- Do They Accept Simultaneous Submissions? (Meaning You Can Submit your Work Elsewhere While They Are Reviewing your submission?)
Taking these factors into consideration, make a list of places to submit your work.
Watch out for places that require you to pay for submission, as these are often scams.
Submitting Your Work
Once you have an idea of a few places that publish similar work to yours, submit your work. Make sure you carefully follow the submission guidelines, because most places will automatically reject your work if you don't.
Once you have submitted your piece, it becomes a waiting game. Most places take at least a few weeks to read your submission and get back to you, so start writing something else while you wait.
How To Deal With Acceptance
It's okay to do a happy dance. You are officially a published writer. After you finish celebrating, it's time to to sit down and write something else.
How To Deal With Rejection
Every single writer, no matter how good or famous, has rejection letters. I even have a few of my own. Getting a rejection doesn't mean that you're a bad writer, it just means that it wasn't the right time for you or this piece. Keep submitting your piece until you find the right place for it.
If the editor gives you suggestions, take a look at your piece and see if you can use their suggestions to improve your work.
Don't be afraid to keep trying. Don't Give Up.
My Publishing Story
I have been writing and publishing non-fiction for five years. Well, a few years back, I decided to try my hand at publishing fiction. I wrote a short story and I entered it into a contest. While I didn't win, I learned a lot. I didn't want to give up on my story and so I began trying to find someplace to submit my story to.
A few months later, I found out that my local library was part of a pilot program, rolling out special machines that print out stories on demand based on what kind of story you want to read, known as story dispensers.
Once I found this out, I reworked my story slightly to fit the guidelines and I submitted it. About a month later, I got an email telling me that my story had been accepted and that it would not only be available in the story dispensers, but online as well.
It was so exciting!
Here's a link to my story: The White Dress
Writing and getting published is hard work, but if you can do it, it is more than worthwhile. Keep up the good work!