For the last fifteen years, all I’ve done is write. I wrote poems as a fourth-grader, taglines as a ninth-grader, captions for my photos when social media took over, and finally started writing stories during my freshman year. Let’s be honest though, I wrote secret love letters as a high school girl more than anything else. For most writers, such anecdotes or incidents from their lives define the beginning of a lifelong journey.
This is what it looks like to be a writer
I’m often asked how I write poetry, short stories, articles or blog posts. In other words, my friends, family and colleagues often want to know how I write long pieces of words altogether. In fact, the most recent question I’ve been asked the most is how I ended up writing and selling over 200 copies of my debut book in less than a year.
My answer to them usually is to say that its what I’ve done my entire life. But, I finally broke it down into points because around a dozen aspiring writers started connecting with me and wanted the answer to the same question. Here are five things you should do if you’re just starting out as a full-time writer.
Most writers don’t become writers out of luck. They become writers by following a constant practice. The key is to consider writing as any other full time job. Just the way you would consider why you’d like to become a doctor or an analyst — figure out why you want to pursue writing as your career as well. If you’re doing it as a hobby, knowing that its just a passionate pastime can also be a great reminder in times when you find yourself abandoning the craft. Think about it. I mean, really think about it and figure out why you want to become a writer. Knowing your ‘why’ will help you stay rooted to writing for a long time.
Choose your niche for writing
I can only imagine the number of times you must have heard someone say this already. I know its repetitive and boring but the reason people say it all the time is because its important.
Writing is a commendable skill to possess but as humans, we all have a limited capacity for acquiring skills and can be good at all of them. Analyze the things you know best & enjoy the best. Write about them. Narrow down your audience. That is the key to keep your audience coming back. Choose a niche that you like to talk about. Find the people who have similar interests so that you know who your audience is and then write about it.
Fix a writing schedule
For as long as I remember, I gave in to my ‘inspiration’ to write and did not have a regular writing schedule. I wrote whenever my inspiration kicked in. But often, that meant I didn’t write at all if it didn’t hit me for days or even weeks. The end result of that formula is that there is no result.
“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” — W. Somerset Maugham.
Consistency is key. You must figure out a schedule to write regularly. Write every day. It doesn’t matter if all you can manage to write is 500 words. Keep those creative juices flowing and your mind wired to write words regularly. That is the only way you can keep getting better at it. Not staying consistent or not having a writing routine has been one of the biggest mistakes of my life so far. Ever since I started considering writing as a full-time job and gave it the time every day, my writing style and quality have improved significantly.
Start by writing short stories or small articles
If you know you write well but don’t write consistently, going in head first to write a novel could be a disaster. This is because when you write a novel or any long piece of writing, you need consistent inspiration and the drive to work on it for months, maybe years on end.
Save yourself that pain. Start short. Start by writing short stories, blog posts, short articles, or even poetry if that’s your beloved form of writing. Writing shorts can help you find your writing style, keep you consistent and give you a sense of fulfillment as you finish the write-ups in a day or two.
Write what you write best
I know you want to write about great discoveries of the world, heartbreaking stories, honest exposes, and spread wisdom with your writing. That’s what I wanted to do for a long time. The unfortunate thing is that it's a bad way to begin writing. Writing about things you don’t know or understand fully needs you to do a ton of research.
Eventually, you might even run out of topics and lose your interest altogether. Here’s what I do — Write about what I know. Write about travel if you’re a traveler. Write about writing if you have the knowledge. Write technical reviews or change the world with your inventions and write research papers on it. Write about anything that you’re a master of and reach the right people who have similar interests as you do.
Nike said it best. As long as you keep planning but don’t actually get to work, you can’t become a writer. Let go of trying to figuring out the pros or cons of taking writing on as a full-time profession. Let go of thinking about the money you can make with writing because let’s face it — you won’t be making a lot of it to start with.
Do it anyway.
Start writing and see where you go. You might end up making a ton of money in a while or realize that maybe writing isn’t for you. The important thing is to do it anyway. Just do it. Stop procrastinating and begin your journey as a writer.
Read more: writingcooperative.com