So you love to write and aspire to make a career out of it? Well, that’s wonderful. If you do succeed, it can be a rewarding career. You will also get the satisfaction of turning your passion into your profession- something very few people tend to accomplish. However, for every celebrity writer there are hundreds of strugglers and the ones who have already given up. Do you have what it takes to be a writer? Here are things every aspiring writer should be prepared for!
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Observation & Experience
Like running, writing improves with time, bird by bird. All great works of literature are derived from a close observation and understanding of the world. Writers are capable of minutely observing the people all around them. They have an incisive eye for the nuances of human behavior that many don’t necessarily notice. Are you trying to gather experiences to hone these skills?
How to use this in online writing: While writing stories for your brands and products always be open to sharing personal experiences, stories around events, interactions and your thoughts and observations on industry trends. This keeps the reader interest up, and shows your forward thinking and also your attention to detail. Remember what Seth Godin says,
“Great work doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of interactions with the people you seek to change.”
This is true for all kinds of work. But for a creative field like writing, it’s a need. Do not just get into it because you think you can earn well or you romanticize the profession. Do it only of you feel that you cannot live without it. You can neither thrive as a writer nor will you sustain your interest if you are not genuinely passionate about it. You won’t get a million dollar contract as your only writing work. You need to work towards it. Here’s what J.K Rowling says about writing,
“Writing for me is a kind of compulsion, so I don’t think anyone could have made me do it, or prevented me from doing it…My breakthrough with the first book came through persistence, because a lot of publishers turned it down!”
How to use this in online writing: Many blogs, online journals or even social media pages end purely because the authors/creators give up too soon. If you’re passionate about it, you will find it much easier to continue and benefit.
The Ugly First Draft
Some people do believe that a writer must be born with some inherent talent. Others argue that writing is a habit. You need to hone your skills through learning and practice. You need to read a lot and get acquainted with other great writers and their writing styles. When you first start writing it may just be the ugly first draft. But the key is to start and not be the editor but the creator first. You must seek feedback of others and keep improving.
How to use this in online writing: From post headlines to social media content to long form content, the key to finishing anything online is first to start. You can look at analytics data or use tools to improvise as you go along. Jeff Goins says this:
“You can first make it ugly, or not make it at all. There is nothing else.”
A primary characteristic of a successful writer is patience. Of course there are some people who get famous overnight. But that’s often because you don’t know the rest of their lives. Like other professions too, you have to slog it out. You need to be persistent and relentless in pitching to publishers and winning the assignments that you think are suitable for you as a writer. It may take years to get established as a writer and there will be moments of despair. You must be psychologically prepared for the struggles and the rewards in equal measure.
How to use this in online writing: There are no short-cuts for sustainable growth. Most blogs, brands and businesses that gain success online are consistent and improve on an everyday basis. Tolkien inspires us here when he says:
“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”
You must have heard the stories of many eccentric and socially inept geniuses. But let us face it. Very few people in the world are so talented that people seek their work despite their not so pleasant behavior. Most regular people have to be nice and build a good rapport with other important people in their line of work. This includes editors, publishers and anyone else who can provide working opportunities to you. You must work on your basic social and communications skills in order to succeed as a writer.
How to use this in online writing: All your writing efforts go in vain, if you can’t engage your reader, consumer or anyone you are writing for. You need to invest in building a community of followers and be generous about sharing. This is the only way you can achieve true organic growth! Just as Paul Ryan says,
Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together.
What are some of your experiences as a writer? How do you prepare yourself for its everyday challenges? Do share with me on Twitter or in the comments below!
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