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What it takes to be a writer- 10 things that you should know

Fancy yourself the next J.K Rowling or George R.R Martin? Writing isn’t as easy as you might think.

Writing has been purported as something that’s extremely easy, relaxing and overall a really “cool” profession. While it can certainly be all of these, there’s more to writing than just sitting in front of your computer and typing whatever comes to mind. There’s so many aspiring authors who did not make it in this fiercely competitive field. To help you succeed, we’re come up with 11 things that can help you manage your expectations.

 

1. Write anywhere, anytime

As much as well-published authors choose to regale the media with tales of how they work best in a café overlooking the Carpathian mountains with a cup of non-fat latte steaming next to their laptops, in reality, no one has the luxury to do that. It just makes for a better story for them to promote their work.

You may have started out writing in a specific setting and it has worked out for you so far, but the more successful you become, the more work you’ll receive, so it’s important that you are able to put on your writing cap anytime, anywhere, especially when an idea strikes you, even jotting that flash of inspiration on a serviette would help when you have time to go back and further develop that idea.

 

2. Practice makes perfect

There’s a reason why that is an adage, because it’s true. There is absolutely no shortcut for you to become a fantastic writer. You will need constant practice and feedback both professionally and from your friends and family. No one starts at the top, when you first start writing, two years down the road, you’ll look back at your very first piece of writing and cringe in denial that you actually wrote that. The same way a designer would find it hard to stomach that piece of thing was his very first design. Embrace practice, make it into a habit and you’re halfway there. The more you write, the better you will be.

 

3. The nature of writing is subjective

The thing about writing, design or anything that you produce that is meant for the masses, you never really know what they’re thinking and if you’ve hit the mark. Sometimes you look at what you’ve written and feel like that complete and utter nonsense, but more often than not, it’s something really insightful and creative that will win the hearts of your audience. There will be times when you think you’ve written your best piece yet and it turns out to be something that’s sub-par. Such is the life of a writer. As writers, you have no way to guarantee that every piece will be a roaring success. It is a highly subjective field and you can’t force someone to like something that you love, no matter how hard you try.

 

4. Procrastination will get you nowhere

Never procrastinate, even if you feel like you’ve got the worst case writer’s block. The only way you can get out of that slump is to just continue writing. You probably have a million and one ideas that you have on your to-do list. We understand how daunting it might seem when you want to start on the big project that will get you published, however the only way to get published in the first place is to write. The sooner you get cracking, the closer you are to making that dream a reality. One of the key reasons why most budding writers fail is due to their inability to complete their projects within a specified timeframe.

 

5. Write about people

As much as you love describing a certain object or a scenery that holds a special place in your heart in minute detail, don’t. Your readers are looking for enticing stories that involves people. Whether you decide to be a journalist, a blogger or an author, human stories are what interests the audience. Always keep this in mind when you’re crafting an article or writing your latest story.

 

6. Everyone starts from zero

This is common sense, but with all the hype that successful authors get and when the actual writing process is never explored in the media, it might seem like good writing is something that is intrinsic and easily achieved.

Unless you’ve been writing every single day of your life and were just waiting for the right publisher to pick your book, you will start from zero. Everyone gets better overtime, not overnight.

So just practice and you will get there. It will just take some time. 

 

7. Common myth- Everyone can write

Since a lot of the things that we do daily involve writing, it’s understandable why everyone thinks writing’s a walk in the park. However, while there are many writers out there who made it big there are at least twice as many equally capable writers who don’t. making a living from writing hard work, dedication, determination and most of all skill. You don’t just have to have something worth saying, you need to have the ability to say it in a variety of interesting ways and be resilient to all of the rejections that you will inevitably face.

 

8. There will always be people doubting you

We know how tempting it can be to just throw in the towel after the 10th rejection you get, but remember that most if not all of the best-selling authors that you know experience the same amount or more rejections before a publisher decides to take up their work. JK Rowling herself was rejected at least 14 times before Bloomsbury Publishing agreed to take on her manuscript.

If you genuinely believe that you have writing talent lying dormant within you, don’t give any credence to naysayers. After all, you will never know until you try. Focus on getting better and honing your skills as a writer.

 

9. Don't steal from others

Since all of us are exposed to the same kinds of trends and media, it’s not strange if our ideas bear some resemblance to someone else’s. But doesn’t give you the green light to copy another person’s hard work. Even if you see other people do it and get away with it, you should not do it. If you copy once, and by a stroke of luck, get published, how are you going to replicate that success all on your own?

 

10. Explore different styles

If you’re just starting out and have no idea what sort of writer you would like to be? Try out the different styles- write articles for a newspaper, publication, blog, write your very own story (dabble in different genres before settling on on), approach your story in different points of views etc. It’s important that you try out every single possible form of writing out there if you’re not sure. This way you’ll be able to find out why style/form you excel best and can then concentrate on sharpening your specific skillset.

All the best!!

 

 

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About Author

A fan of anime and all things Japanese, Khai has been writing professionally since 2010 and “unofficially” for much longer. In her free time, you will often find her baking, reading, travelling and doing everything else in between.