The writerly lifestyle is appealing to many. Your words could inspire millions of people around the world and make you famous and rich beyond your wildest dreams!
On the flip side, writers sometimes perceive themselves as ‘tortured geniuses’ – waiting for the world to catch up with their talents, while they make just enough money to keep a roof over their head.
In reality, the life of a writer is usually somewhere between these two extremes … Here are 7 myths about being a writer: BUSTED!
1) Writing is a natural talent, you either have it or you don’t!
No-one picks up an instrument for the first time and expects to get a decent tune out of it. However, it seems many are under the mistaken belief that writers are born with a talent for crafting words that inspire – no matter how complex the brief.
Even if you do possess a certain ‘knack’ for turning a phrase, you need a heck of a lot of practise and discipline to develop your own writing style. Finding your voice is one of the most difficult learning processes a writer will go through. In the end, it all comes down to word count. The more words you commit to paper, the more you learn and develop. There are no shortcuts.
2) Writer’s block is just an excuse
Even a terrible writer will improve with regular practice! But this doesn’t make it any easier on the poor wannabe staring at a blank page. Teachers, company bosses and harsh critics may tell you that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. But for struggling writers, this can be a low blow.
Even the greatest writers have ‘off days’ where try as they might, they cannot formulate their ideas into a cohesive piece of writing, no matter how much reading and background writing they may have done in preparation.
Author Raymond Chandler prevented writer’s block from consuming his writing habits by welcoming the phenomena into his daily writing routine. His advice to new writers: sit at your desk to write, even if you’re there for hours with no words on the page.
The process of thinking and being in the ‘right place’ during your scheduled writing time can stop you stressing and instead allow you to see writer’s block as part of your ‘journey’ to creating the perfect piece. If you need more advice, check out these 25 strategies to beat writer’s block.
3) Writers must be super-productive to be successful
In order to become a master at anything, you need to apply yourself. But with writers, it is less about spending every waking hour at a keyboard and more about finding the right writing routine for you. For example, if you’re a morning person, getting up early to do some warm-up writing may be very beneficial.
On the other hand, ‘night owls’ may prefer staying up late, getting their best work done in the small hours. Whatever your working style, try out some alternative productivity hacks to see if you can improve your daily writing routine.
4) Writers spend all their time lost in books
While reading something for fun every single day should be an aim for us all, successful writers will deliberately go out of their way to read as much and as widely as possible — but good writing doesn’t always come in the traditional form of books anymore.
Inspiration to an author can come from any direction, at any time. Whether you’re people watching from the window of your favourite café, or examining archived newspaper clippings for article research, a writer’s brain is never ‘off.’ Keeping an inspiration diary will help you gather these ideas and save them for one of your up-and-coming manuscripts.
5) Writers don’t need fancy technology to write
With the uptake of writing apps like Trelby and Scrivener, it has never been easier for writers to ‘dip in and out’ of creative writing. These apps contain everything a writer needs, compiled in one easy-to-use program.
In tracking protagonist, antagonist and sub plots, collecting all of your notes and arranging them by hand can be hugely taxing. With apps, however, you can save, arrange and alter your plans whenever you wish. Maybe we don’t need fancy technology to write, but it can certainly be very helpful.
6) Writers need a publisher to get noticed
Getting your work seen by a publishing house is notoriously difficult for new authors trying to get their book sold. However, thanks to marketplaces like Amazon and Kobo, it has never been easier to self-publish and promote your own title. With paid ecommerce subscription services, you can build your own online store in no time and start promoting your book immediately.
Here are some more tips on self-publishing your own titles on a low budget.
7) Marketing yourself as a writer is easy
If you have gone to the trouble of writing and self-publishing a book, don’t think that the battle is over. You will need to put significant efforts into getting your title read by as many people as possible. You can do this by offering free copies for your trusted contacts to read and review.
You will also need to think about regularly promoting it on social media, choosing the right cover image and maintaining regular email contact with your mailing list subscribers. When it comes to promotion, a writer’s work is never done.
Writing is an incredibly rewarding profession. Once you commit yourself to giving it a go, there are many methods you can try to pick up the skills and good habits you need to become a success. What are your own experiences?
BIO: Victoria Greene is a freelance writer who runs her own blog at VictoriaEcommerce. She likes to help new writers write, sell, and promote their books online — and she’s got a few book ideas up her own sleeve as well!