This is a mentality that I discovered I had in about fourth grade. I remember reading a series that I was more impressed with than most any other books I’d read up until that point. I had read a lot by then already, and at a fairly high level, but this was one of the series that I enjoyed not because it was challenging but because it was just good. It made me see a new way of writing that told a complete tale with detailed characters with back stories and entire worlds crafted around the characters’ lives. It was an adventure book that ultimately led to my love of writing, and I never stopped loving it. However, I did stop thinking I could just do it.
For so long, I wanted to write a book. There were some other professions thrown into the mix here and there (fashion designer, baker, jewelry maker), but, all the time, I wanted to be writing. It wasn’t until I got to high school and had to start thinking about my future that I realized, or thought I realized, that writing wasn’t a possibility for me. I was told all the time that, even if I was good, it’s hard to be good enough in the real world. That’s true, of course, but no one ever told me how to be good enough. I was told, “You’re great at writing, but being a writer isn’t realistic.”
Well, here I am. Writing. Sure, it’s not a novel. It’s not even short stories. But I’m writing, and about things that matter to me. If your dream is to be a writer, it is going to be difficult. Just calling yourself a writer and writing for a few minutes every day isn’t going to cut it, but it is a start. It helps to have faith in your own abilities and the desire to cultivate them further. You’ll be told the truth in high school; it is extremely difficult – nearly impossible – to leave high school and become a successful writer immediately if you’re writing what you love. It’s simply not a practical career, to begin with, at least. However, there are so many outlets for writing that people don’t consider when they’re thinking about pursuing it as a career.
If you’re truly passionate about writing, you can be successful by finding ways to market your skills, even if you’re using them for something unrelated to book-writing. That said, don’t stop writing that novel or short story you’ve always dreamed about; you can make a living by writing without giving up on your dreams. Below are some tips for starting out on your writing path. You also might want to take a look at a list of advice from Stephen King, who talks about what he thinks all writers need to do to succeed.
1. Start a personal blog
This will give you something to write as often as you’d like, whether it’s a monthly, weekly, or daily blog, and you’ll have an outlet for your thoughts and ideas. Sometimes just writing something down that’s been in your head for a while can help you figure out what you want to do with that thought or what you can turn it into. Sometimes I start writing a blog post about education, and it sparks a thought about a plotline idea for a story. Everything you write can influence you, and if you do it regularly, you’ll be more likely to uncover an idea worth working with sooner rather than later.
2. Write blogs professionally
Writing a blog for a company or even writing posts here and there as a freelance blog writer for companies will give you great experience and exposure, and they will be outlets for you to publish ideas and maybe get feedback from readers. It can be difficult to land a job as a blog writer if you don’t have writing experience, so having a personal blog already in the works with some posts that you could share as proof of your proficiency and experience will help immensely with this.
3. Become a freelance writer
Whether it’s for a blog that asks for freelance work, magazines, newspapers, or a website looking for content, take writing jobs whenever you can. You’ll be able to test your limits and be paid to provide content that will help you get more and better freelancing and full-time writing gigs down the road. Freelancers writing for company publications need to have their own ideas before they can publish, as you’ll be sending letters with your ideas to the editors of the publications. However, you can also be a freelancing who writes content for a blog or website that asks for specific topics to be covered. The problem you might face with freelancing is that people do look for experience to determine whether they want someone to write for them. Again, having that personal blog will help, and, eventually, someone will say yes to you, and you’ll be able to use that to market yourself for your next writing job alongside your personal blog.
4. Get experience in the real world
Writing isn’t just about the technical aspects of how you tell a story or even the details of your story. Both of these things are meaningless if you don’t have a strong message at the heart of your story. Before you can begin writing anything, you need to know what you want to tell readers and why you feel compelled to tell them. If you don’t know that yet, then figure it out. Travel, do things you’re not used to doing, get a job doing something that lets you see a new side of things or a new way of life. Throw yourself into the world to see what it’s really like for different people and in different areas to get an idea of what kind of world you want to write about and what kind of message you feel you need to send.
5. Writing might not be your only career
Many writers, especially starting out, have another career or job outside of writing or that revolves around writing things other than books or stories. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing your dream to write, but even writing a blog or freelancing probably won’t earn you enough money to be your only source of income. There’s nothing wrong with having other jobs while you’re writing, and, these days, when you can type up a blog post in a relatively short amount of time, you’ll have time to have a well-paying job and write. Whatever you do, though, don’t stop writing. Never forget that writing is your primary objective, and the other jobs are just allowing you to continue doing what you love while still having a solid income.
6. Attend writing workshops
There are writing workshops for all kinds of writers based on genre or age or both, and joining a group that meets regularly or sharing your ideas in a workshop that’s only happening once is a great way to give your ideas some exposure and get feedback from people who are going through the same struggles that you are.
If you’re seriously considering pursuing writing as a career but you’re not sure how to do that, talk to someone about it. Talk to a teacher or guidance counselor about what you want to do, but do it in a way that shows you know how difficult it will be. Most people will tell you it’s impractical, so you have to make them see why it is a viable option for you. Once you know what you want, make sure other people know too so that they can help you get there in any way possible. Whatever you do, believe in yourself, and give yourself every opportunity to succeed. If you think you can, the people around you will be liable to think so too.
How do you plan to pursue a career in writing?