The cold hard truth I want to start this article off with is gonna either hit you hard or you already know. Most writers will ultimately fail in their pursuit of writing. It’s terrible to think such talent will go to waste, but the fact of the matter is, you need more than talent to make it in any career, not just writing. Let me start with the first step to being the best writer you can be and make a career out of your work.
Step 1: Actually Devote Yourself
Writing is a relaxing career option, at least in theory. You will spend most of your time glued to a computer screen, but not for the reasons you think. Enough riddles, here are some answers.
Writing will only ever be relaxing once you get into the swing of things. Simply putting an idea down on the page isn’t going to make it sell. Great ideas are introduced to the world so often and then are forgotten. What makes your idea any different.
Well, it’s you who came up with it.
Writer’s need to stand up for their work, which means you need to promote, share and sell...yourself. If you wish to sell a book, the emphasis should be on your name, not the title. The moment your name starts meaning something, that’s the moment your work starts meaning something.
You need to devote yourself to writing, but that doesn’t just mean devote your time. You are an individual of great worth and you need to express that in the way you approach writing. With today’s technology, anybody can be a self-published author, but there is only one of you. You are the reason that your book will make a big splash.
Step 2: Make it a Business, Not a Hobby
As much as I enjoyed the early stages of my writing career, I only really made it when I realised I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I didn’t start treating my work like a business. The lack of structure and deadlines only led me to slow down and my productivity dwindled.
You need to be prolific and appeal to much of the market as possible. If you only want to write one book, then you only have one shot. No matter how much you guide that shot, it’s going to take a lot of time and money for it to hit, if it ever does.
However, writing more content, creating more stories or developing more books will help you big time. Not only are you taking multiple shots, effectively increasing your chances of becoming a best-selling author, but you are drawing attention to yourself.
Promote yourself, develop marketing strategies, form a structure and set deadlines. These aren’t just meaningless words, these are golden rules that set you on the path of greatness, the path you belong on. As you start to treat your passion better than a passing hobby, it becomes a business. That doesn’t take away from the charm, it doesn’t take away from the fun, but it certainly increases the income.
Step 3: Work on the Short and Long Term
You are creating content now, you are making a difference in your career and you have only just begun. However, let’s discuss the short term, because you need money now, you need attention now. Most writers starting their career have day-jobs, however, it is certainly possible to turn your passion into a money generator you can afford to work full time.
The first market you need to address is your audience and how to turn them into your fanbase. It is easy for kings to speak down on average writers like you and me, spouting advice, but holding back the secrets. I’m telling you plain and simple, you need supporters.
These supporters will help you in the now, but in the long term, they will be who you depend on. There are many sources of income a writer can make from working with other websites and companies, however, this is a source of income you cannot pin for later.
You have great content, but nobody to sell it too. People want quality and if you don’t start showing it to them and building a following, you will fail eventually. The short term is this; building your following and working freelance jobs. You will get some regular clients who want you to blog about your experiences, making $500 - $1000 a month, but that is not set in stone.
Freelance writing for other clients is too irregular for you to depend on, so work both freelance writing and your own writing. The latter will be your steady income eventually.
Step 4: Work at Consistent Writing
You are not going to pitch a pretty picture if you don’t work hard and consistently. You have quality, but in the space of releasing your work you are losing clients and fans because they don’t hear from you. What the smart entrepreneur needs in their work is a steady stream of content.
If you are turning your hobby into a business, you need to meet demand. The average consumer today wants a product that they can use, or in this case read, as often as allowed. That is to say, you releasing a book once a year and expecting to make a decent salary just won’t cut it.
There is more to your work than the average book and you don’t just want to sell your articles to freelance clients. You have your own thoughts and opinions, but Twitter isn’t going to voice them well in short bursts.
Yes, it isn’t going to give you a lot of money, but it will let your fan-base know that you are there. I am talking about blogging, be it writing about your work or writing in general. Short pages where you discuss certain points of writing and share it with your fans. Doing so will promote discussion that you can have with your fans or they can have with each other.
Step 5: Finish the First Draft
The hardest part of writing is the simple problem that all writers encounter straight away. You start writing, but at some point you stop. The number of unfinished novels outweighs the number of finished pieces. The result is what I mentioned at the very start of this article.
Most writers will ultimately fail.
Finishing that first draft is the core of setting things in motion. You are creating a product that can be sold. Sure, it needs to be refined, touched up here and there, but that is easy compared to writing it from scratch. You have something golden once you finish your first draft.
That is a potential sales in your hands. However, as stated earlier, the number of writers finishing their work is shockingly low. I can only recommend that as a writer you knuckle-down and finish your work. That is essential if you want to make it, but for some writer’s this isn’t obvious enough.
Step 6: Accept the Time it Takes to Succeed
As a writer, you are on a career path that isn’t easy. You have to encounter many obstacles both mentally and financially. However, that is not to say it is impossible, it only takes a lot of time. That is often a big turn-off for most potential writers who expect instant results, but this is truly not the case.
There is a reason why businesses are not considered ‘fairly stable’ until they have survived for five years. That is a long amount of time, but a very important period for any business. It not only decides if it is a great idea that makes a decent income, but it also decides if the person behind it all is ready for the work and responsibility.
Writing is no different. You need to work at this career for years to come and only around that five-year mark will you ever feel that what you have going is a fantastic business plan. In that time, you will be creating more products, building up a fan-base and growing your name.
That idea is a heavy one to ponder though, so that is why it is an important step all writers must make. Perhaps this is a deal-breaker for you, but read on to the final step and see why you can still make it work.
Step 7: Feeling Lucky?
Most writers get into writing believing this is the only step. You publish a book and it instantly achieves fame, an overnight success. That is the dream after all, but in most cases, it won’t happen. There are no exceptions, this is a well-known dream, an undeniable truth about writing.
The real kicker of this step is it happens more often than you think.
If you love writing, but don’t see yourself making it a full career out of it, then you don’t have to abandon the dream. I am a huge advocate of creativity in writing and I believe too many brilliant writers gave up before they could show the world their imagination, their skill with the written word.
At the very least, if you enjoy writing, finish your book. Send it to a publisher or self-publish as I recommend you do. It will be read by somebody and there is a chance you could do well years down the line. Perhaps, if the stars align, your book will talked about all over the world.
That is when you might want to consider giving the writing career a shot.
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!
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Thank you very much for reading!
Matthew Dewey, Writer & Writing Instructor
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