Friday, October 29, 2010

How do you become a writer?

There are two questions I get asked more times a week than I can count. The first one is, "How do you get to be a writer?" The second one is, "How did you get to work from home?"
There are days when I'm truly baffled that I am a writer. Growing up that is all I ever wanted to be, but the problem always was- how do you get to be a writer. Sure, you have to learn all the necessary skills (grammar, punctuation, word flow, vocabulary, structure) but really, what matters most at the end of the day isn't any of those skills. What really matters is having something to write about!
There are so many dreamers out there who want so badly to be a writer. I can't blame them- I am one of them! Their heads are full of ideas, words, and stories. But nobody wants to pay them to be a daydreamer. It is a very sad reality. To be a writer (that actually makes money) you have to have something worth writing about that others want to read.
But here is the real secret about being a writer. It takes more work than any other job I have done. And you have to be prepared for more criticism than in any other job out there. I know you want to think that the words and dreams in your head are above reproach- we all do! But sadly, that just isn't the case.  Writing well means accepting edits and revisions up the ying-yang. It means looking at the baby you have poured your heart and soul into and having someone else tell you everything that is wrong with it. It isn't easy, but it is all apart of the job.
But again, above all, to be a writer, you have to have something to write about. It means becoming a subject matter expert in something else besides writing. So my real advice to the potential writers out there- don't worry about taking all of the writing classes out there. Learn about something else. Be able to write about something worth reading. Because the truth is, while you need to have decent mechanics to work with, the editors of the world will fix your mistakes for you. You have to know something to write something.
And that, my friends, is all I really have to say on the subject.

1 comment:

  1. Well said!

    I wrote for television for many years. And you are right about your piece being your baby ... then everyone tells you how ugly your baby is!

    Non-writers will never understand. When I took a gig writing for a half hour HGTV show, I found the transition from Fact-Based news writing to Compelling/story-telling very difficult.
    My dad asked me how the job was going. Great, I loved it... but I told him that the writing was really hard for me.
    Dad replied, "I wouldn't think writing would be that hard."

    After I sat stunned for a minute I replied, "Sure Dad! Coming from a man who doesn't even sign his name to my birthday cards... I wouldn't expect you to understand. Writing isn't as simple as reading. And, by the way - far greater writers than I have killed themselves over the process!! Yeah Dad, writing isn't hard at all!!"


Thanks for leaving a comment!

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

Keep Reading! Popular Posts from this Blog.