I’ll be honest with you. Writing is not an easy career. Unless you want to do it as a hobby of course. Here I’ll list some of the things generally worth considering before taking on such a monumental and also rewarding path.
It Might Take a Long Time to Train
This can of course depend entirely on your current skill and how much effort you want to put in. I always wanted to be a writer even as a teenager and I was convinced I’d make it as one of these teen idol writing geniuses. How wrong was I?!
I can only really go by my own experience, so I’ll use it as an example. I decided writing was the career for me at the age of 15. I released my first novel aged 25, so training was as you can see, a pretty long process. BUT, I went from not knowing a thing about writing to where I am now, so it depends.
It Can Be Expensive
Depending on your confidence and the ability to write in the first place, there will and should always be some sort of investment required when starting what is essentially a business.
A written book is most certainly a business product, and any product requires you to put at least a little into it to ensure its success and quality.
As a rough idea, consider the things that require your money: Developmental editing, line editing, cover art, website promotion, book promotion etc. These are all things a writer has to consider when choosing this career path, especially if self-publishing is your preferred jam.
It Takes Commitment
When I first wanted to be a writer, I was hit by the fabulous notion that if I loved doing something, it would come as second nature and I would produce something within a few days or so. I’m sure of course none of you think like that, nothing monumental is built in a day, and that is exactly what writing a book is – a monumental task.
Don’t get me wrong, writing is enjoyable and exciting and full of adventure. It helps to identify your own mind and the possibilities of your imagination, but like any diamond of an idea, it requires excavation, cleaning, identifying, carving, polishing and sometimes even after all of that you may find the diamond you spent so much time on was just in fact a bottle cap. So you start again and you keep on creating.
You Have to be an Ideas Machine
In order to stay on your game, the art of writing requires you to be good at coming up with ideas. Weather these are plot ideas for your novel, character trait ideas for your story, topic ideas for your blog posts or photo ideas for your Instagram. All platforms need some sort of ideas behind them, and consistency is key here too. Machines are good at processing information and producing something of good quality. That’s what you need to be. Keep those ideas flowing, fresh, entertaining, informative and above all, inspired or entirely your own.
Planning is Paramount
Plan as much as you can. What do I mean by that? In whatever type of writing you decide to take on, it’s best to have a clear plan of action laid out so you don’t either run out of material, or you fall into a ditch of writer’s despair.
This can be as simple as staying at least 5 blog posts ahead of scheduled release, having your novel’s chapters plotted before you write them, or even knowing what characters have what eye colour. Again it depends on the type of writer you are, but the point is, planning has to be looked at like an architect would a building. No building ever went up without a plan, and no piece of writing should ever be written without some sort of blueprint behind it.
Pansing is Paramount Too
Having said that about planning, there’s also a little something called pansing which is as equally important. Pansing, in my opinion, is almost like the practice writing, or the writing that gets you in the mood to plan. Planning can sometimes be arduous or boring for some writers, so pansing is a good alternative to alleviate any writer’s block or ideas stress.
To panse, all one must do is take a blank document or sheet of paper, start with a twinkle of an idea and go to town with it, throwing organic ideas at it as you write. By doing this you put your mind into exercise mode, letting it stretch it’s idea legs without any planning constraints. Once you’ve developed a few ideas to get on with, you can go back to the planning board, confident you have some more material to shape into something substantial.
You May Need Thick Skin
Depending on how lucky, or sometimes unlucky you are, it’s worth noting that writers need to develop both a vulnerability and a thick skin. Vulnerability because hey, you’re job as a writer is to put your written work into readers’ hands and let them have an interpretation of what you’ve written. Without letting down your barriers and remaining guarded, you won’t get a valued response from the people your targeting.
A thick skin too, because as much as we hate to admit it, the harshness of criticism, personal taste and closed mindedness exists in some of your readers. It can be really difficult to hear the thing you created is neither appreciated or enjoyed by some people, and to get past that it’s best to develop a thick skin. Either take negativity as a positive critique, or learn to shake it off and focus on the readers who do enjoy your work.
This is No Introverts’ Game
When I first wanted to be a writer, I thought “Yes! A career where I can sit in my bedroom with the curtains closed, my headphones on and my fingers glued to the keyboard.” Once again, as I learnt the trade of a writer, this is only partially true. The real truth is, being a writer is about how other people engage with your work. When other people are involved, it’s about engaging with an audience.
This is especially true for bloggers and self published writers. People are our bread and butter. Without other people, we have no readers, and without a readership, we have no business, unless of course you’re writing as a hobby for yourself and your readers are your family and friends. It’s time to engage and embrace a friendly and extraverted world.
It’s Fun Fun Fun!
But let’s face it, at the end of the day, writing is about you. You write what you want to write about, when you want to, how you want, what you want etc! Despite all the tough parts of a writing career, you have to remember all careers are somewhat difficult. But as long as you enjoy what you do, these difficulties become second nature.
Being a writer is such a privilege. Embrace your creativity, your power over words and your determination to create content people will cherish. And remember to have FUN with it!