So you want to be a writer! Great — but it won’t be easy. While the joys and rewards of a writing career can be incredible, its frustrations and challenges are many. Writing is a special type of calling, but you won’t make it as a writer unless you pair your desire to write with some serious willpower and the right strategies.
Writing: a passion and a calling
When you want to be a writer, you can feel it deep within yourself. And it’s a good thing you can, because the writer’s journey is often short on positive reinforcement from the outside world. Writers face rejection from editors, publications, and audiences. While some writers can be wildly successful, you won’t meet a whole lot of writers on yachts. Writing can be lonely, and writing well is hard to do. It requires inspiration that can be frustratingly fleeting. What writer doesn’t know and fear writer’s block?
But writers keep going in the face of challenges. The writers that make it understand that they need to write, and write often. They work to improve their craft. And, perhaps most importantly, they know that they can never give up.
One thing defines a writer: They write. This is an important detail, but it is lost on a surprising number of aspiring writers. Writers need to practice their craft every single day, making time and finding the energy to write even when they’re tired and feel that they have nothing worthwhile to say. Sometimes, writing will be an exercise in frustration. But exercise is good for you, and frustrating writing experiences will help you grow as a dedicated and talented writer. Professional writers like Stephen King recommend writing thousands of words a day — and that’s on top of reading lots of books and training to improve your own writing!
Consistency is key. Writing is a calling and a passion for you, but you need to make writing a habit and a job. Only then will you truly be able to say that you are a writer.
Improving your writing
You can be a writer without being a good one. In fact, an awful lot of people are. But if you truly care about what you do, and if you want to increase your chances of reaching editors and audiences, then you should commit to training yourself as a writer.
This can mean heading to an MFA program for a degree in writing, but it doesn’t have to. You can find excellent books on writing fiction and nonfiction. You can find lists of essential books online, as well as plenty of great writing blogs that can help you out. Finally, don’t forget to read. By seeing how great writers make certain passages work, you’ll expand your toolbox and become a more polished writer.
Feeding your inspiration and resolve
Writers fail when they give up. But giving up is all too easy in writing, because the profession is so full of challenges, setbacks, and blows to the ego. You need to recharge sometimes.
A great way to keep your spirits up is to the turn to the work of other talented writers, particularly those writers who write about positive themes or personal experiences. The stories of self-empowerment and life lessons written by Caesar Rondina are a great example. Nonfiction self-help books with truly important things to say can be a real boost to a writer’s confidence and resolve, and reading them can also serve as a type of training.
You’ll face a lot of challenges on your writer’s journey, but nothing is over until you say it is. Keep your spirits on and keep pushing forward. Find inspiration and energy, and then put it to work as you write, read, and study your way to superior and successful writing.