“How do I become a writer?”
“What does a writer do?”
“Where do I start?”
Every week, I receive a handful of these questions from aspiring authors and freelance writers. Some of them have been writing since they were kids, creating short stories for their classmates to read, while others are just getting into it, as they see it could be a viable source of income.
All of these people have one thing in common: they love writing.
You need more than passion and love to keep a dream like that alive, but that is a great foundation for people who want to make a living out of it. And heck, who says you even need to make a living out of it? Maybe you just want to publish a book that’s been in your head for the last couple of years. Maybe you want to find a new hobby. Whatever your reason is, forget everything you’ve read about being a writer.
Writing is hard. It’s time consuming. It’s stressful.
But you know what else it is? It’s relaxing, it’s beautiful, and it’s one of the best things you’ll ever do. It is an opportunity to work for yourself, to challenge yourself, and learn new skills you never thought you could.
If you want to be a writer, you need courage.
Things aren’t always going to be full of sunshine and rainbows. You need thick skin, you need drive, and you need to believe in yourself. You need to read new books to learn your craft, you need to network, and you need to build a fan-base who will enjoy your books. You need to talk to your readers, not just sell to them. You need to build relationships, and be ready for everything.
When you are a writer, you can go from reading a book in a quiet cabin by the lake to scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef to…well, anything really. Writing gives you the power to do anything you want, be anyone you want, and see everything you want. It’s a life unlike any other.
And if you have a talent in writing and any sort of business acumen, pursue it. If you don’t but want it, then learn it. If you put your mind to something and are willing to do what it takes to succeed, then you will succeed.
If after reading all of those you still want to pursue your lifelong dream of being a writer, I have one last piece of advice: Buckle up and enjoy the ride. It’ll be the hardest, most fulfilling ride of your life.