It seems as if everyone you know is working on that next novel, short story, or poem. Writing (almost anything) has become extremely popular. According to Bureau of Federal Labor Statistics, there are about 281,000 people working as professional writers (remember that doesn't include students, enthusiasts, and those who write just for the fun of it.
I place myself in the last category, but many of you may want to pursue writing as a career. If you are a newcomer to writing, there are lots of self help books out there that can take you through a basic understanding of the mechanics needed to become proficient. There are also classes you may want to take (and I highly recommend a creative writing course—which can be taken at most community colleges) that will not only expose you to different types of writing, but also will help you interact with others who share the same basic writing interest.
Another helpful tool you can use is the group critique. Many colleges have support groups that meet outside of the classroom and cater to sharing feelings about new writers works (most of these critique poetry, short stories, novels, and non-fiction). Since I live in Northern Nevada (Carson City), I belong to a professional group associated through Western Nevada Community College. Lone Mountain Writers, founded by Professor Emeritus Marilee Swirczek in 1991, held their first meeting in December 1992. The group shares critiques in a wonderful supportive atmosphere.
Also, by reaching out to other writers, you may find yourself in the company of published authors, as did I when I joined the Lone Mountain Writers. Wilma Counts, best known for her Regency works, is a delightful regular in our group. Scott Neuffer, our resident poet, joined the group early this year. The group is rich with diverse discussion on the fundamentals of creative writing as well as years of educational instruction from several of the members.
I will visit different writing topics in my upcoming posts. I hope you have enjoyed our visit!