A question you need to ask yourself if you are considering a career in writing. Don't overestimate your interest in writing as a 'calling'. Your greater purpose in life is whatever you make of it. Like many career choices, you shouldn't jump straight into writing. I am going to ask you some clear questions that will help you decide once and for all if the writing career is for you.
How much time do you have on hand?
If you want to have decent success in the writing field you need to write roughly two-thousand words a day. That is if you plan on writing books, which is a dream, not a career. The average writer who makes a living wage from writing, writes articles. These writers write articles for publishers. Publishers who look at articles and check if it will generate clicks.
Don't fool yourself into thinking writing for a publisher is anything more than a job.
The writing profession is a volatile one, requiring a lot of time. An average article, posted through a publisher, needs to be around 1500+ words.
In short, you need 2-3 quality hours a day to make it as a writer. More if you wish to make it selling books.
Do you prefer nonfiction or fiction?
If you plan on writing stories, fiction, you are in for an uphill battle. Fiction doesn't generate clicks, non-fiction does. People will buy your book in a store before they read a fiction-based blog post. Now you see why publishers prefer non-fiction articles. These posts generate clicks, which generates revenue.
If you wish to write stories, it is better if writing remains a hobby. Unless you have a large fanbase of readers, you can't make money off of fiction blogging.
If you enjoy writing non-fiction, then you are in for an easier time. Now it comes down to the struggle of finding the ideal publisher to get you into the fast lane.
Do you enjoy other activities?
A question I received from a student a few days ago had me pondering if your writing should consume your life. I reached a conclusion that is plain and simple.
If you wish to become a full-time writer, you need a new hobby. Writing is a great career, I vouch for that with all my heart. Yet, if you don't have any other hobbies there is going to be some trouble.
In this case, my student was losing time to painting, when they wished they were writing.
Art is one of the hobbies I have. Yet, it still took some time before I decided on what to tell her. You as a writer may not run out of ideas, but you will run out of inspiration. If you can't write anymore, you need to spend your time on some other constructive hobbies. It can be reading, it can be painting.
If you don't see yourself doing anything else but writing when it is a full-time career, you will burn out. Burn out is something that affects writers everywhere. If you don't have any other hobbies that benefit you, get some.
What are you responsible for?
Writing is a risky career.
Great things come from taking risks, that is something I also vouch for. I am not one to tell people how to spend their money. Yet, if you have responsibilities such as family, you need more income. Writing doesn't generate large amounts of income, especially in the beginning.
If you plan on writing articles, you need to find a publisher who can pay you. There are plenty to apply for, I recommend publishers on Medium, of course.
Yet, if you plan on making a career with books instead of blog posts, you are better off working a day-job that pays. I am not going to paint a pretty picture of simple life lessons for you. I am not going to tell you to follow your dreams if your have vital responsibilities. Become a full-time writer if you can afford to do so, simple enough.
Are you ready to work?
Whoever said, "Do what you love and you will never have to work a day", was an idiot.
No matter what you do, if you do it enough, it becomes work. No matter how much you love doing it, doing it full-time is work. Writing is not an exception. If you are considering a full-time writing career, don't expect it to be as enjoyable as part-time.
Now, this is actually a good thing. Productive work, a wonderful combination of those two words, is fulfilling. If you enjoy writing as a hobby, imagine that joy halved, but you have more to show with it. I love writing, with a passion, but there are always THOSE days.
The days where you roll out of bed with a groan and stare at a blank screen for an hour. Writing is work, I enjoy that work. Going into the writing career thinking it will be a big holiday is foolish. Not to mention it won't end well.
Do you know how to market?
Another important question. Marketing yourself to a consumer is vital. If you are working with a publisher, they handle that all on their own. In other words, they do the messy work that you would spend two-thirds of your time doing.
Marketing is necessary if you wish to make a career. Like any business (yes, writing is a business), you need to meet public demand.
Much like selling products in a supermarket, the consumer won't buy it if they don't see it. You have the content, be it in blogging or books. Now, you need only spread that content.
Remember how I mentioned publishers want articles that generate clicks? Well, that means more people clicking on ads. Your article is the perfume that attracts readers. These publishers will market your article if they generate enough ad revenue.
If you are working with book publishers, they put your books on shelves, in e-book stores. These publishers then take a cut of the profits.
Yet, if you can market yourself well, all that revenue you make, goes to you.
Do you have strong willpower?
If you are writing full-time, you are an entrepreneur. Meaning, you are your own boss. You get out of bed on your orders, you work when you tell yourself. You are the driving force for your single employee. You need to have willpower to write full-time.
If you are not sure if you have willpower or not, work through your free days. Any day you have to yourself treat as a work day. Wake up early, start writing. Develop plans, learn how to market, apply to publishers.
The list of activities that build your name stretches for miles. The sooner you start, the better.
If you can turn a weekend into productive workdays, you might have the willpower. You need only ask yourself if you can do that every day.
Can you handle failure?
I am not going to soften a single punch. I haven't softened one this far into the article.
Writing requires a lot from you and even if you meet all expectations, you are one in millions. Often successful writers say all they did was work hard, but also mention luck. Luck plays a big part in making it as a writer. If you have connections and other help, you don't need luck.
Yet, there will always be a chance to make a mistake. A chance to fail.
Failure is a good thing, much like work. There is a space of years which you need to go through to be a successful anything, not only writing. These 4-5 years decided if your writing career flourishes or dies. Yet, that is a lot of time for you to work with. What you learned will help you in any career as well.
Before you take any risk, you should prepare for the worst. I say these things sharp and simple to give you a clear picture. Writing full-time requires some sacrifice, but if you make it, it is worth it.
Are you prepared to learn?
The final question I have to ask you is a simple one. Instead of talking about finances and responsibilities, I am going to tackle your ego.
There are amazing writers out there. Writers whose articles publishers will favour, or whose books publishers will favour. Publishers will look for anything wrong to deny an author. Self-publishing is often the best way to go if you are starting out.
Buy a domain, put your name in it, write articles, sell books.
Yet, those are only the first steps. The final question is, are you prepared to learn?
No matter how great you believe your writing is, the competition will always be better. What you can do to match or trump the competition, is to learn. Study, read books with the intention to improve.
If writing is to become your career, your passion, you must strive to improve. I have many students who have improved through my courses. I have students who took tutoring and even teamed up. Collaboration and education made them better writers.
That is how you will become a great writer.
And in conclusion, dear writers...
Having reached the end of this article, you are no doubt pondering full-time writing. You are trying to decide if it should become more than a hobby. These questions I have asked you are the important ones and the obvious ones. Yet these are the questions few budding writers ask themselves.
Read these questions again, go over the points I discussed. I threw a lot of information your way, but it was all important. If all your answers point towards a full-time writing, take the opportunity. Play it safe, but don't hold yourself back.
I do not regret my choice to become a writer, not even a little bit.
The fact that you considered full-time writing says a lot about your creative mind. Yet, these questions will help you decide if it is more than a dream.
Whether you decide to write full-time or hobby write, I hope you make the most of it.
Thank you for finishing this article. I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you truly enjoyed it. There are many things you will learn from the writing experience and the 150 above are only a few.
As a big thank you I would like to offer you something for FREE!
A writing course on how to improve your main character!
Click here to check it out your course.
In addition, if would like to receive more content, bonuses and some big discounts on future courses, join the writers group here.
Thank you very much for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer
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