So you want to be a writer? Well done, you have taken a brave step! Many have gone before you and failed!
The first piece of advice I would issue is DON’T under any circumstances give up the day job! If you think you are low paid now, compared to writing it’s even worse then minimum wage. Actually, it’s no pay for a very long time! Unless you get lucky that is!
It might help if you view writing in its beginning stages as an apprenticeship; you doggedly learn your craft. This might include night classes, writing groups, online courses or any number of training opportunities there are on the internet.
Creative writing, or non-fiction writing is a very competitive industry and so you need to make your writing the best it can be. And this is what takes the time. You should be an avid reader first of all and read widely from different genres. Read fiction as well as non-fiction as this will give you a comprehensive overview of good writing. Keen writing skills is only the beginning of a writer’s journey. It goes without saying that you have got to be able to string sentences together in a logical, coherent fashion in order to call yourself a writer. You should not depend on spell-checkers, or assume that an editor will correct all the mistakes for you. Editors are extremely busy people and the less work you give them in the way of elementary mistakes, then the better your chances of success.
A writer’s life is varied and demanding and I repeat, in the beginning stages you are doing all this for nothing. Not a penny! Submitting articles, novels, short stories, poems for the novice writer is a way of improving your writing and testing the market. It is also an opportunity to build your confidence despite all the rejections. Actually, you really need a cast iron conviction and unshakeable determination to succeed. I don’t think you can call yourself a writer unless you have had that rejection email glaring at you. Yes, I know it’s enough to break your heart!
The Importance Of Deadlines!
As writing is a largely solitary pursuit it goes without saying that you should enjoy your own company and have the discipline to work to deadlines. If for example you are writing a full-length novel give yourself a year to complete the first draft. I know life can get in the way of writing, but if you do not stick to your target before you know it, you have been writing the same book for thirty years! Don’t say I didn’t try to warn you!
Remember this, if you are serious about becoming a professional writer and want to make a living from it one day, then learning to stick to targets is imperative. So too is the ability to juggle several writing projects at the same time. All of the this takes efficient organisational skills. Don’t get me wrong, like any worthy writer you have probably got notebooks with anecdotes, notes, snippets of overheard conversations all sorts of things scattered around your place – this is typical! However, when you need this information for writing you should know immediately where to find it.
So picture this: you have completed your novel sent it out and it’s successful – so now you are getting well paid, and receiving accolades for your efforts. Don’t tell me that wasn’t worth it!
Until next time,