I hear it all the time from my students and at the seminars and workshops I lead. The writers that I work with are excited to work with a “real” writer. Most people define a “real” writer as one who is published. Therefore I, with three published novels and innumerable newspaper and magazine articles under my belt, certainly qualify.
Go into a bookstore and browse through the titles in the bestseller section. Book publishing companies hire high-priced people to come up with a title or headline, because book publishing is a big business; therefore a lot of contemplation goes into making their titles as commercially-viable as possible. Many well-known and highly successful books started out with other titles. According to Dan Poynter, the father of self-publishing:
Publishing a book is one of the best ways to position yourself as an expert in your field. Not only that but the book demonstrates your expertise in its best and most organized format. And perhaps the biggest advantage of all is that your book allows people to be introduced to your expertise without you doing a thing. Yes, you have to write it and get it published. And you also have to market it. But after that, you can sit back and let people read it on their own time.
One common element whenever human beings gather is the need to talk and share experiences. Often that need turns into something a little more fun, a little more dangerous — gossip. Gossip is often fun but it can also be dangerous because it spreads quickly (because it is fun) and often distorts or even completely avoids the truth. Gossip creates myths in many fields and professions, and the field of writing is especially prone.
Raising your level of writing needs you to focus on bigger things, like having your work published for example. This is a surefire way to encourage yourself to go beyond your current limitations and weaknesses as a writer. Taking the step from writing as a hobby towards writing professionally and having an article or a piece published is indeed a big leap for anyone. It needs a long-term commitment, discipline and an almost endless source of inspiration to be able to write constantly and creatively. Not only does it entail having to do intensive research, but it also pushes the writer to find a certain niche from which he can excel.
Moreover, you have to be able to gauge your own work and consciously maintain a higher level of quality as compared to when you were just writing on a journal or your own blog. This leaves the question of how one learns how to write well. How can you raise your level so that it is up to par with what is asked and required of you as a professional writer?