12 Things No One Expects to Happen When They Decide to Become a Writer

WHY DID NO ONE TELL YOU??? Wait …

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1. When you first start out, you’re actually not very good at this whole writing thing.

2. And even though there’s a lot of advice out there, the only way you’ll ever really get better at it is by doing it.

3. You spend a lot of time writing stuff for free. Like, a lot of time.

4. And for some reason, people keep asking you to do work for free long after you’re past that point.

5. Sometimes you do what you feel has been your best work EVER and still get rejected.

6. Sometimes people publish things you feel aren’t that great and you start to question if this is even worth it.

7. People on the internet like to tear apart your work. But also you. They like to come after you. Why?

8. But you don’t have to pay attention to them, because they’re mean and don’t deserve a reaction from you.

9. Writing is rewarding. The rewards just seem very small and insignificant sometimes even when they aren’t.

10. Your friends and family don’t really “get it,” but a lot of the time, they’ll still support you anyway.

11. You sort of start to figure things out eventually. Not all things. But some of them.

12. If you do end up sticking with writing, it’s because deep down, you really do love it. And that’s pretty cool.


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.


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7 thoughts on “12 Things No One Expects to Happen When They Decide to Become a Writer

  1. I’m getting my ego deflation. It hurts. My word for this year is ‘relentless’ so I won’t quit. It’s just going to take much longer than I thought.

  2. Yep, certainly writing a lot for free and sharing it with friends who don’t know why I do it but comment and like anyway. Love what I/we are all doing. X

  3. This reminds me of a convention panel I attended where one of the authors said “If you can be happy doing anything else, by all means do it. Let this be a hobby you do in your spare time.” He passionately argued that those who could turn away from professional writing should, and at the time I was rather upset that he would try to “take my dream away from me.”
    Now I’ve come to realize that in many ways what I think he meant to say was “This isn’t for everyone, and there’s nothing wrong with realizing it’s not for you. If you want to continue on this path, by all means, keep trying, but if you feel that you have to, that it somehow reflects badly on you that you no longer want to chase that dream, rest easy in the knowledge that everyone walks their own path.”
    Then again, after a few years in retail, and a few more in IT, I’ve come to the conclusion that few things feel “worth it” if your only motivation is to earn a paycheck. We all need a dream, and the opportunity to engage it.

    1. YES!! It’s OK to dream about one day publishing a book, for example, but to focus on just writing for yourself on your own time for now. That doesn’t mean you’re “giving up.” Having a dream means you want something to happen, not that it has to happen right now. Working your way up to something is both more realistic and more satisfying, I’ve found.

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