September 13, 2017
So you wanna be a writer, do ya?
Let’s just be real with ourselves for a minute here: you are choosing a very difficult path, my friend. It’s a path littered with self doubt, self loathing, insecurity, pride, excitement, terror, confidence, fear- I could go on forever folks. The point I’m trying to make is that being a writer is an emotional roller coaster. It isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be fucking hard. But, in my opinion., it’s worth it.
In order to help new writers through their struggle, I decided to compile a list of things to do (and NOT do) that might make it a little easier while you navigate through life as a writer. I hope some of these help you.
Start referring to yourself as a writer. This sounds super basic, but trust me, it’s crucial. I didn’t start defining myself as a writer until I quit my full time job at a massive telecommunications company (that I was miserable at). I should have been calling myself a writer way before that to network and get traction. You never know who might be listening. Also, you will get used to using the label. At first it sounds and feels a bit odd, but you’ll get used to it and won’t internally cringe whenever you say it in public.
Be excited about your own writing projects. This is important. Let me give you a little example of a conversation I have heard newbie writers have numerous times:
“Hey Rebecca, what do you do for work?”
R: “I’m a writer.”
“What? That’s sick. What do you write, like, books and stuff?”
R: “Yep, you got it. Books and stuff. Mostly Urban Fiction novels. I work as a freelancer too when my schedule permits, and I’ll dabble in all genres to keep it interesting. But my content is almost always a bit… fantastical.”
(So far, this is going well, in my opinion. But, keep reading, this is where the writer sells themselves short).
“Are you writing a book right now?”
“What’s it about?”
R: “Uuuhhhh. Erm. A guy. Who kills Faeries. He’s kind of an ass. But he’s funny. And soft inside. And lonely. And um. Yeah.”
This makes my soul squirm. You are a writer. Be proud! Writing a book is no easy task. Creating a character is no easy task. Pitch your book like a bad ass, because you are one.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s okay to wake up one day feeling like shit and wanting nothing more than to eat a bag of Doritos and watch Netflix. Sometimes you gotta let your hair down. Your manuscript won’t burst into flames because you don’t touch it for a full twenty four hours. I’ve left mine for weeks at a time while focusing on other jobs because I needed to take a step back from it. It allows me to return with fresh eyes and that same excitement I had before.
Find something else to be passionate about- something that isn’t writing. It would be even better if you can find something that has a social element to it. Us writers like to shut ourselves away from the world. It’s like a base instinct. But I challenge you to cast away that introvert lifestyle, and throw caution to the wind! Ever since I started writing full time, I found that my favourite hobby suddenly became work. Not that I don’t like it- I LOVE it. But, I needed something to fill that ‘hobby’ time in my life. So I’ve started flipping furniture with my husband and another couple that we like to spend time with. It lets me be artsy while socializing, and it challenges me in a way writing does not. You never know what you might discover about yourself when you try new things! Not to mention, a lot of our inspiration comes from our experiences. You can’t have experiences if all you do is sit in front of your computer day in and day out. Youtube videos and skype chats do not count as experiences, FYI.
This is the biggest one that helped me when I was struggling: remind yourself to enjoy the little things. What is it that you love most about writing? Is it the stories you create and the characters you bring to life? Is it the incessant chattering of your keyboard as you pound out your favourite scenes? Is it the smell of your vanilla candle on your desk burning away while you edit? There are so many little things to be grateful for- we just need to be conscious of them.
Anywho, that’s all for now. If you found these tips helpful, reach out to me on my contact me page. I would love to hear from you and start a conversation!