Writing a novel is considered to be the best way to become recognized as a published author. Millions of aspiring writers dream of the day their books make it on the best-seller list and get lucrative deals for a big screen adaptation. However, it’s not quite how it happens.
Many already successful authors will advise to keep practicing, keep trying, keep working, and you will get there. While it’s sound advice, it’s not a clear recipe for success. Unfortunately, it equals the advice a lottery winner would give you to invest in tickets, do the math, have patience, and never give up. It simply does not work for everyone.
The ugly truth is that it takes hard work, dedication, timing, and luck. One cannot count on all of those elements to meet by the time they need to buy food or pay rent. Ambition is good, and aspirations are healthy to have, but one’s entire life should not cling to just one possibility. You can make a living out of writing without publishing the next big thing that will have Hollywood studios throw checks your way. All you need is a laptop, a comfortable chair, a stable internet connection, and inspiration.
Create a Marketing Campaign for Writing
Like every other industry or niche in the world, there will be competition. In fact, in the digital era, those competitors are easy to find and plentiful. If you want to have your words reach others, you will need to market your skills and manage your work. You are the CEO, the founder, the marketing staff, the graphic designer, the sales team, and your best reviewer. You know your capabilities, and you need to create a marketing campaign around them in order to keep your business growing.
This is particularly important if you become an e-book writer and start self-publishing your work, a ghostwriter to create pieces for others, corporate writing, social media writer, and others. It’s one of the best ways to make money online, so you need to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Businesses run by a clock. Inspiration doesn’t. However, if you want to make a living out of writing in the online world, you will need to combine them. Remaining professional and meeting your deadlines is a must in a fast-paced industry. Everything needs to be current, relevant, and constantly updated. You may not need to stick to the regular 9 to 5 schedule, but you might have a limited time in which your piece needs to be submitted. Stick to it. Quality is viewed well, but it’s even better when mixed with reliability.
Punctuality and professionalism will open many doors for your writing career. You can dabble in domains such as writing magazine articles, technical writing for manuals, columnist for a newspaper, newsletter writing, or reviews about books, movies, or restaurants.
Widen Your Horizons
Don’t get stuck doing just one type of writing. One of the secrets of successful writers is that they try out their luck and infuse their talents in several areas. It’s not just writing books and articles. It can go from blogging to copywriting to virtually anything else. Making a living out of it means exploring your options and taking advantage of the opportunities the modern world provides.
Consider stepping out of your comfort zone and become a biographer, greeting card writer, composing lyrics, speechwriting, or several others.
There are numerous options out there and even if not all will catch your interest, some might. You can even write online dating profiles, obituaries, or wedding vows. It will keep you sharp and have a different perspective on your career. There are numerous platforms that can help, so take advantage.
Join a Writing Community
Even great and successful writers share their drafts with others who have achieved the same thing. The competition is great, but there is also support. There are a few reasons why writers flock to each other, and it’s because their opinions are highly valuable to one another. Inspiration and ideas can come from discussing with the like-minded. They may have a different perspective and new angles on how to approach your writing career. Never shy away from listening to advice and suggestions.
By creating a community, you will have better and more feedback. So, if you want to be paid for writing fan fiction, blogging, or even screenplays, you will need the support of a community.
There is at least one thing in common all paid writers have: they do it every single day. No matter where they are and what else they need to do, there is always room for writing. It needs to be integrated into a daily routine to the point of becoming a need. Practice does make perfect. Fluency needs constant work. It’s not a tap that can be turned on and off whenever the mood strikes, but should be a constant stream that is fed every day.
Carolyn promised herself she’d write a best-seller by the time she turns 25. She did become a writer, but not the way she expected. Her days are split between her customer care job at FindInternet.ca and her freelance writing gigs.
Photo: Flickr: Fredrik Rubensson