So, you're thinking about becoming a writer? There are some things to consider before you go down that path. Everyone has a story that will sell oodles of books and make them hard cash IF they can get it out of their head and onto paper.
Obviously, for the majority of the population, this is just a pipe dream. Why? Because as gratifying as writing is, it's still a lot of work. If you're editing your own material—that's even more laborious. You really have to take into consideration all of the things that involve writing before making that leap.
A Few Things to Think About
Why do you want to write? Before you start off on your quest to become a writer, can you answer this question? Do you like writing? Do you think it will be easy? Are you passionate about something that you want to share with everyone? Do you have something to say? Is it a hobby and you want to make it a career? You need to have a solid answer to this question. I write because I enjoy it but also because I like making money.
What type of writing do you want to do? Have you researched the markets for the type of writing you would like to pursue? Or do you think that you're just going to crank out a novel and make millions in less than three months? Nah uh. It doesn't work like that. You have a variety of options such as technical writing, creative writing, blog posts, web content, web copy, journalism, marketing, advertising, etc. The list goes on. Find something to specialize in and work hard to excel at it.
What's your niche market? A lot of us bring our personal experiences to the table when we became writers. Are you an interior designer or a professional chef? Are you a specialist in snail racing? Once you figure out the type of writing you want to do, then you can figure out your niche market. What do you do that will set you apart from the rest of us? When you take the time to become the best in a niche market, then you will most likely land the clients instead of the other guy. It's also important to make sure your niche is profitable. All niches are NOT made equal.
Don't limit yourself by putting all of your eggs in one basket. An "egg" is a job, contract, writing gig at a content mill, etc. Any job or project that you take on as a professional writer. Never limit yourself to a single job. You never know what might happen. Stay on your toes, working on the next project as you work on the current one.
Do you know how to find clients? How are you going to make money if you don't know where to find clients? You can use places like Upwork or Freelancer but the competition is fierce. Expect to be outbid by people willing to work for pennies. I don't say that to discourage you because you can achieve success on there but it's going to take a lot of work. I wouldn't compromise on your rates though and watch out for scams. There is a ton of fraudulent activity on Upwork—I've seen it with my own eyes. Craigslist, ProBlogger, sending out LOIs, and other methods are additional options that might work better for you.
Do you have money set aside? I don't recommend jumping into it without having enough set aside to avoid stress. Money trees don't exist and you'll probably be broke at first. It takes time and long hours to make any real money—especially if you have zero experience and samples. Don't fret, keep at it, and the clients will slowly trickle in.
Are you willing to make sacrifices? You know, like giving up your favorite shows and going out with your friends... You have to make time to write, put your butt in the chair and just do it. It will take up most of your time. Your life will probably revolve around writing, especially while you're still getting established.
Are you disciplined? If you do not have the discipline to do work on your own, then writing definitely isn't for you. You have to stay on top of your writing because nobody else is going to make you do it. It doesn't matter if you're tired or sick. You have bills and unless you have a monthly residual income of massive quantities, I assure you that you won't get paid. Be disciplined. Get up and write anyway.
How well do you work with others? Does your current job require constant interaction with clients or customers? If so, then you should be fine. Some clients will make life difficult. Some clients have no clue as to what they want or change their minds at the last minute. Thankfully, I've never had any difficult clients. My clients have been easy to work with thus far. <knocks on wood>
Do you have thick skin? No? You should probably grow some if you want to be a writer! Living the life of a writer in the public eye can be harsh at times. The criticism you might receive about your work once you put it out there in the public eye can be disheartening to the point you may even want to quit. Sure, you could quit, but it would be better to take the criticism with a grain of salt and learn from it.
Never stop learning. Stay on top of the changes in the market and expand your knowledge. Read material produced by great authors. Write every day. You can blog or write in a journal, but write every single day. You will never become better if you're not learning, reading, and writing every day.
Don't listen to the naysayers. Believe that you can do it. Writers understand other writers. Others haven't the faintest idea of what it's like to be in our shoes. For example, fiction writers feel the words in the book as they come alive in front of their eyes. I know at least one person out there understands that feeling. So, don't believe someone who scoffs at the idea of you becoming a writer.
If you are a writer, then you will feel compelled to write. Perhaps everything won't fall into place as quickly as you would like, but as long as you keep writing, then you will become successful. That's not to say you will become a millionaire, but making a comfortable living as a writer is absolutely attainable. The most important thing is to never give up.
Still think writing is for you? Check out the following books to get you started:
Thanks for reading! If you have any comments, please feel free to leave them below!