I was a short story writer in my 20s. Any authors out there. How do you start?
You sit down. You stand up. You pace the floor, you walk around. You find the focus and motivation and lose the distraction as best you can.
Honestly, I write poems as a workout. A warm up routine, if you will. Stream of consciousness. Just trying to get words from brain to fingertip. I have often found that being in the right headspace is key. I'm easily distracted...
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
Good luck! And FFS, WRITE already!
<---Published author. Everyone's path is different.
Have been a voracious reader since childhood. I inhale books like oxygen.
Wrote personal journals for years.
When my daughter was born, I wrote funny stories about Claire's first five years in journals. She loves it.
Each week, I wrote letters to my mother about silly things that happened.
Wrote a popular monthly column for the Wenatchee Business Journal for eight years. Deadlines came up fast. This honed my ability to write succinctly and tell stories.
My first book was published in 2008. To my surprise, my manuscript was accepted by the first two publishers to whom I sent it.
Don't quit your day job.
The first thing is, you need to prepare yourself for massive rejection. I posted all my rejection letters on a cork board so I could learn to enjoy them, many had wonderful and encouraging notes from the editors. I also made a poster "Alex Hailey's "Roots" was rejected 17 times." Rejection can be the single biggest issue that keeps people from continuing to write and submit.
Pick your genre carefully, you must love it. If you do, it shows in your writing. Bring your passion. Don't be afraid to do small jobs for newspapers and local gazettes. In fact, regular publication in smaller venues builds your skills and resume. Every job adds to your creds. Learn to write great submission letters and don't forget to add your creds. Writing groups or classes can also be helpful.
I started out writing in school and finally submitted to a local gazette. They loved my satire and I wrote for them for over a year. Then I wrote for the newspaper in my city, circ over 100k. I did local features weekly and OpEds. This experience encouraged me to submit to magazines. My first national magazine article was for BBW (Big Beautiful Women) about sex and the fat girl. lol They also printed a color photo of me with the article. I cashed my $300 check (seemed like a thousand in 1992) and kept on submitting from there.
Since then I've pubbed in national and international magazines and newspapers wherever I've lived. I've met great authors and even wrote some erotica for awhile. Some things changed for me and I gave up writing for anyone but myself but I have lots of lovely memories. Now I'm retired I may take it up again.
I say... Go for it! It's a great adventure!
If there were a foolproof answer I suspect a lot more of us would be rich. There are certainly ways to increase your likelihood of getting some attention. Start a blog. Put stuff you write online, so it's easily accessible. That works as a ready-to-go portfolio you can point anyone to.
I'm not sure what your goals are, but reach out to the publications you think might suit you. Having their contact info is helpful, and making them aware of you doubly so. Editor contacts are free, and they're everywhere, you just have to look for them.
There IS a group on here ostensibly for people like you, and I thought so too, but I was put off pretty much immediately when I tried to ask a similar question. I wouldn't count on it for anything. That said, my experience might not be yours, and your mileage may vary.
Either way, good luck.