You probably know someone who likes to write, and talks a lot about ideas they have and things they want to write, but you have yet to see proof they’ve actually done it. This happens all the time: there are different stages of growth and development where writers are concerned, and some spend longer in that early stage of “I want to” than others.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. And if that’s you, keep hanging in there. Your ideas will not go to waste.
Maybe you’re past that stage, though, and you’re ready to “become a writer” whatever that means. Great! We’re glad you’ve made that choice and have stumbled upon our advice hub of sorts.
But before you dive in … there are some things you should know. Some truths you’re going to have to accept before you take the plunge.
We all have to do it. You’re not alone. Be brave. You got this.
1. Writing will not always get to come first
No matter how many published works you have circling around, no matter where you’re at in life or what your ambitions are, writing will not always get to be your priority. There will always be a paying job, a family, an uncontrollable circumstance that has to take precedence over your brainchild.
This does mean you have to do what you can to make the most of those times your writing can be your main focus, even if only for a little piece of your day. It also means you can’t let yourself get discouraged when progress on your book, story, whatever, slows or halts completely. Writing will always be there waiting when you come back to it. Sometimes, it’s necessary to walk away and take care of yourself and those you care about before paying attention to anything else.
2. Writing will not always make us happy
For a lot of writers, just the act of sitting down and pressing down keys to make words is therapeutic in an almost indescribable way. That doesn’t mean writing will always be able to make us happy, though. Sometimes we have to turn to writing to deal with the tough stuff life throws at us. Sometimes we try, but can’t even rely on writing to get us through it.
There is a deep satisfaction and sense of fulfillment that comes with writing, but we can’t rely on our craft to fill gaps in our real worlds. Writing is meant to be a supplement to our existence: we write because, really, we need it. But it can’t replace other human needs, and if all you’re doing is trying to write to find happiness, you’re going to be writing a lot of empty words.
3. Writing will always be part work, part play
Whether we like it or not, writing is work. Sometimes we really like it, and dream of writing for a living—literally, a dream job we wouldn’t at all mind seeing come true. It’s not always fun, though, and when we start calling it work, the thought of having to force ourselves to write instead of doing it for pure enjoyment is enough to make us question why we’re even bothering at all.
We have to do all we can to find an equal balance between writing because we have to and writing because we want to. There will be points when you have to take a writing job you’re not excited about because you need to be able to buy cat food and coffee creamer (priorities). There will be points you get to write about what you love, and it won’t feel like work at all.
The more you write, the easier it will be to find balance between all these things. It takes a lot of experience and practice, and won’t happen right away. So if you were hoping for a bonus slice of advice, here it is: be patient. Write as often as you can, whenever you can. No one ever said being a writer would be easy. Refusing to give up, that’s what will really make your dreams come true.
Keep going. It might seem impossible now, but you’ll get there. We believe in you.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.