So you want to be a writer

I’ve a peripheral blog where I’m posting some random advice/snippets on writing and publishing. I’m not a wise source, and can only speak from my experiences but as I wish I’d had some help in the beginning and had known then what I know now, if something I’ve come across helps someone else or enlightens a reader then all to the good.

I’ve reposted (below) my opening comments. Maybe after reading you won’t want to pop along but if you do check out my Peripheral Papers.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll presume you’re either  a wannabe writer, or you’re a reader wondering, simply for the sake of curiosity, how one becomes a writer, and what advice another writer would give to anyone considering such a move.

Simply put: Don’t!

Honestly, go find something less stressful to do…like skydiving. Find something less frustrating, like picking a needle out of a haystack. Find anything that remotely interests you, that isn’t so soul-destroying.

The trouble with that argument is writing can be equally uplifting. It can be the best job in the world, and by ‘job’ I don’t mean sitting behind a magnificent desk, tapping away at a state of the art laptop, with an amazing panoramic view trying to distract you. In fact, you’d better not be, because most writers find as many things in the day to distract them as is humanly possible. The reasons why can vary, but procrastination is high on many a writer’s top ten list of things to do in a day…or maybe the next day. See how that works?

By calling writing a job, I am not referring to success, or how many books you may sell in a month, or the size of the royalty cheque. None of those things has anything to do with the task. Writing should be FUN! Never forget that. It’s surprisingly easy to forget very early on — in fact, the moment the first rejection rolls in — but do try to remember that one most important and probably the most rewarding fact: Writing should be FUN!

Alas, it’s not all fun. Writing is work. The first draft, the edits, the crushing reviews, and before all that reality sets in.

What I learned very early on is that most writers never succeed owing to unrealistic expectations. Inexperienced writers often think of household names such as Stephen King or J.K.Rowling when they measure success. These successes didn’t happen overnight — both these writers suffered hardship before they found fame — and the majority of writers out there will never achieve that kind of prosperity. I would advise anyone wanting to be a writer that if their main reason is one of financial security, then they had better think again. There’s a good reason most writers (even successful ones) say that they write for love rather than money. Money is nice, but if you don’t love what you are doing, the amount most writers are likely to earn won’t be nearly enough to cushion the blows from all the pitfalls they’re likely to encounter along the way.

If you still want to be a writer, sincerely welcome.

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