How does one go about becoming ‘a writer?‘
Is a writer somebody who writes, or is there a lot more to it? How much writing do you need to do before you can actually call yourself a writer? Do you need to get paid for your work in order to earn the title? (If so, I nailed it at eight-years-old when I sold a few short stories to the neighbor who lived across the street.)
Or does your writing need to be actually published somewhere?
It’s easy. As long as you’re writing, you’re a writer. Even it takes ten, twenty, or thirty years to get your first book published, you’ve been a writer since you made those first notes about the characters popping into your head.
Most of the writers I work with want to publish short stories or a fiction novel. But there are other kinds of writers that are paid for their work – Copywriters, content writers, screenplay and informative articles, as well as the technical writers who write those wonderful ‘how-to’ articles and books, and a slew of other careers where you can get paid for your ability to string words together in a nice easy-to read style.
But let’s face it, when you utter the words, “I’m a writer,” most people automatically come back with, “Oh, is there something of yours I may have read?”
It’s as if you aren’t ‘really a writer,’ unless there’s a tome out there with your moniker on the spine.
Don’t let everyone else’s perceptions get the best of you.
Your writing career is your own. You will become a ‘published writer,’ when the time is right for you, but writing has to be its own reward for you in the early stages. It is the rare writer who sits down and bangs out a bestseller on their first try, nor can you expect to freelance as a content writer and have all of your work accepted without some prior experience.
Above all else – writing is a skill, and like all skills, it needs to be nurtured and cultivated.
Try to write as many different kinds of things as you can – you will also discover how you function as a writer. Maybe you are at your best when you’re working under a deadline, and your focus narrows to a fine point. Or maybe you’re just the opposite, and you need time, maybe even lots of time, to write something meaningful. Of course, there are those of us who write better in the middle of the night, by the light of a dim desk lamp.
And I can’t say it enough – the best writers are also READERS. Read varied genres, and find your favorite, identify your favorite authors, and pay attention to the way their sentences flow.
My other key piece of advice is to write every day. Now, maybe it isn’t necessary to write every single day for those with super brains, but for the rest of us morals, we need to write on a daily basis to hone our craft. By carving out a block of time to focus on your writing, you will become stronger in your craft.