Five Things You MUST Have To Be An Author: Natalie Walters, Author of "Living Lies"

5. An imagination. Not for the stories necessarily, but for life. Writing requires hours of time spent with the voices in your head (maybe therapy should be on this list??) and this will force you to imagine a dozen different ways to convince your family that A. Eating cereal for the tenth night in the row is super cool, thus you’re super cool; B. The teeny tiny coffee stain on the shirt is not at all noticeable and not doing laundry will literally save the dolphins.

4. Writing snacks. Copious amounts of chocolate (or your sweet/salty snack of choice). And if you’re a smart writer you will stock your home with it so your family can stand at a safe distance while tossing you said snacks when your characters refuse to do what you say, the plot falls apart, and the opinionated reviews start coming in.

3. Writing Space. Some authors have farm house chic offices with a beautiful wood desk and a fresh bouquet of flowers nearby. That’s great. However, most writers I know write wherever and whenever they can. On lunch breaks; on a walk; on the couch; in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school (terrific murder scenes can be written in this space!). Writers must be willing to write anywhere.

2. Shelf Space. You’re probably thinking this is obvious—for all of the craft books on how to write a book, right?! No. Well, yes. Read craft books! At least one a year (I try to read at least 2-3) because we can always learn. The shelf space I’m talking about is for all the other books. Fiction and non-fiction alike. Read. Read. Read. This one of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve heard handed out by seasoned authors and I agree. I’ve grown so much as a writer reading the beautiful, creative, and intriguing words of fellow authors and I believe my writing is better for it.

1. A squad. Best Writing Friends (BWFs). Writing is mostly solitary but we still need people (the introvert in me is cringing). As writers we need people with a particular set of skills. Skills to talk us down from the ledges we most certainly will find ourselves perched upon when your manuscript comes back from the editor looking like someone bled all over it; or when you have hours left before your deadline and your computer crashes (PSA: Always back up your work. To several places if you can. Trust me on this.); or when that review comes in and you’re officially part of the Single Star Club. You need people in your life who are going to breathe life back into you and remind you that “You’ve got this.” “It’s not that bad.” And “No. Your dog cannot write better than you.” Find those people and promise them lots of chocolate.

With these five things in your repertoire you’ll be on the road to writing the next best-selling novel. Okay, I admit there are no guarantees but I believe anything is possible! On this writing journey nothing replaces hard work, a willingness to take constructive advice from seasoned authors and implement it when necessary, and making sure you have a critique partner who knows your voice and your heart and is willing to speak hard truths just as quickly as they are to encourage and support you. And lastly in the words of the Great Bambino:

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” ~George Herman “Babe” Ruth

Natalie Walters is a military wife of 22 years and currently resides in Hawaii with her soldier husband and their three kids. She writes full-time and has been published in Proverbs 31 magazine and has blogged for Guideposts online. In addition to balancing life as a military spouse, mom, and writer, she loves connecting on social media, sharing her love of books, cooking, and traveling. Natalie comes from a long line of military and law enforcement veterans and is passionate about supporting them through volunteer work, races, and writing stories that affirm no one is defined by their past.