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"Do I have what it takes to become an author?" If someone were to ask me that question, I’d have to say I have no idea. The simple fact is every person has a story, but not every person knows how to tell it. In my humble opinion, it takes a special breed of person to become an “Author” with a big A. That would be the type of person who actually writes and finishes that novel, or book of poetry, or even that book of short stories, and see it all the way to publication. The following is a list of things I’ve noticed in conversations with other writers and authors:

1. They like to sit for hours in front of a computer screen (or with pen and paper), writing away. They see a blank screen or page as a new challenge, an open invitation to share thoughts and emotions otherwise held deep inside.

2. They think about their book, even when they're not writing. I can only speak for myself, but I go over the plot or plots over and over while I cut my grass in the summer, or blow snow out of my driveway in the winter. I get some of my best ideas when I’m not writing, and find a way to put them down on paper when I am.

3. They are motivated to finish their book. Again, for me, it is a huge sigh of relief when I finally get to write my favorite word at the bottom of the last page. “END.”

4. They are motivated to proofread, edit and revise their finished book until it is the best it can be. And remind yourself that “END” doesn’t always mean it’s finished. Don’t be afraid to let a fresh pair of eyes look at your work from time to time. They won’t kill you, they can’t eat you, so there’s really not much to fear, and you will learn something from the experience.

5. They are motivated to publish their book. After all, it would be a shame to keep the next great American novel under wraps now, wouldn’t it?

6. Once they publish the first book, they are already working on the next one.

Don't listen to those people who say it's a competitive market out there. Don't listen to those people who say they've written five books and haven't had one published yet. And don't listen to those people who send you back your manuscripts! Learn from them, to be sure but don’t let them steal your dream. Listen to that inner voice, the one that is whispering in the back of your mind. But wait until you get started. Once your book is written and published, that inner voice will be roaring! And the whole world will hear about it.
For the novice writer who would like to start writing that first book, the best way to begin is to start writing. Stop the other activities, the television, the reading, the shopping, the chatting on the telephone, and find the time to devote at least one hour a day to writing. If that same hour were spent on writing, then there would be a product in your hands, something that will be shared, hopefully, one day with others. From experience, I can tell you there is no feeling quite like walking into a book store and seeing copies of YOUR book on the shelves, with YOUR name as the author.

So, go ahead, shut the door to the rest of the world for one hour and make yourself comfortable. Take that first step to becoming an author.

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