Is fear stopping you from turning your writing hobby into a career? Then it’s time to put on your big girl or big boy pants and stop being afraid. Accept the cold, hard truth that the transition won’t be easy—then muster your confidence and say, “But I can do it!”
A writing career is a journey. There will be mountains, valleys, and exhilarating straightaways. It’s frustrating, wildly fulfilling, exciting, and frightening.
The transition will take time. Many would-be authors fail because they rush to submit their work before it’s ready. Don’t send your first manuscript to an agent or editor until you’ve done the research. Discover what it takes to get published. Be patient.
Writing is a craft to be learned. Read about writing. Here are five books to get you started:
- Stephen King’s On Writing
- William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style
- Annie Dillard. The Writing Life
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
While you learn the craft also read books in the genre in which you want to write. Study how the authors’ work reflects what you’ve learned.
Writing is a craft developed through practice. There are always ways to improve your writing… always better ways to say something. Whenever you edit and rewrite, you practice the craft. To transition from a hobby writer to a professional you need to realize that editing and rewriting (a lot!) is essential.
Accept that you will fail. The first time you get negative feedback. The first rejection letter. The first bad review. Expect it. Deal with it. Don’t dwell on it. Professional writers learn to live with rejection.
“Rejection has value. It teaches us when our work or our skill set is not good enough and must be made better . . . Rejection refines us. Those who fall prey to its enervating soul-sucking tentacles are doomed. Those who persist past it are survivors. Best ask yourself the question: what kind of writer are you? The kind who survives? Or the kind who gets asphyxiated by the tentacles of woe?” – Chuck Wendig, author of Star Wars: Aftermath
Don’t quit your day job. Whether you want to be a multi-book novelist or a freelance writer, understand that building a career takes time. Plan to spend a specific amount of time every day working toward your goal. Remember—slow and steady wins the race.
It won’t be easy. That’s the cold, hard truth.
But—can you do it?
YES! YES, YOU CAN!!
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