I have received numerous messages from people who are seeking to make money as writers. Some are people who have been hit by the retrenchment bug and are desperately seeking ways to pay their bills. There is a lot of hullabaloo about online writing and everyone wants a piece of the cake. I would like to say that not everyone can be a writer, but there are some practices that can improve our chances of success in the field of writing.
Have a Curious Mind
To be successful in any field that requires creativity becomes a lot easier if you are immersed in it during most of your waking hours. To become a good writer, nurture you creativity. Observe what happens around you. Listen to stories of people around you; on social media, in public places, in the office; everywhere. These are normal day to day stories that are shared by ordinary people. Learn to be creative about what you observe every day.
Keep a journal
Do not trust your mind too much as it has a habit of forgetting stuff. Keep a journal. A journal helps you to have a record of so many stories and ideas that can come in handy in your writing career. Write in your journal every single day without fail. It definitely helps to have diverse ideas written down and which you can turn to when you need to come up with a piece of writing.
Keep a notebook with you at all times. Write a good idea as soon as it comes to you. Maybe you are sitting in public transport or queuing in a supermarket on a busy day and you observe something that awakens some idea in you. Don’t wait till you get home in the evening to write it down. Jot it down immediately so you don’t risk losing it. You will have time to expand and perfect it later.
Don’t take life too seriously; Have fun
Don’t take life too seriously. Have fun learning how to be become a writer. Put in the hours of practice by writing every day. Write stuff you enjoy to write about. The more you write, the better. Make sure to enjoy the journey. Success is not handed to anyone on a silver platter; the unsexy truth is that success does take hard work and sacrifice. So get busy learning how to become a writer and the best way to do that is to read widely and write, write, write….
“Write, write, write and write again and you will get it right.” – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Success Takes Thousands of Hours of Practice
To become an expert in any field takes thousands of hours of practice. Do you know the saying that genius is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration? That is true of everything including writing. Think of what it takes for athletes to become successful in their careers. Is it just about talent and interest? Is it all fun or is there some pain that comes with training to become an expert in any chosen field?
The Power of A Good Name
Build a good name, be a person who can be trusted to keep your word. Never, ever use shortcuts and cut corners in an effort to make some quick money. A good name is like a currency note; no one has much use for a fake one.
Be authentic. Do not try to be a copy of someone else. Write based on who you really are and what you have learned. Learn to empty yourself on paper and you will gradually become a good writer. A good writer has a unique style, a signature way of writing.
Find Your Niche
Don’t give in to pressure and accept projects that are not your style of writing. Find you niche and focus on becoming the best at it. That is the way to a successful writing career. For example if you are a non-fiction writer, do not bow to pressure and accept a fiction project simply because you have some bills to pay.
Every successful person is known for something specific. Try to imagine Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg promoting designer clothes or handbags and you will get an idea of what I am talking about. The saying ‘do what you love and the money will follow’ is true even in writing. Do not try to do something simply because you think it will make you money or because it is popular. Give yourself permission to be you; to have your own unique style of writing.
The key is not to begin your writing career writing for the market. Begin with what is in your heart, work on being good at it then learn how to monetize it. Being fake will kill your writing career even before it begins. Be proud of your own unique style even if it takes time to open the floodgates of the magic currency notes that fatten your wallet. Taking time to develop your unique writing style is like patiently watering the Chinese bamboo; it will give you long term success.
A writer is an artist. Every real artist has a unique style. Have you ever read a piece that is so real, so authentic it makes you cry, keeps ringing in your mind over and over again and just won’t be forgotten? Does that make sense?
A Mentor Shortens Your Learning Curve
Get yourself a mentor. Learning from someone who has been there, done that shortens your learning curve. Look for someone who is getting the results you are looking for and learn from that person. If you can get an opportunity to be an apprentice of that person by working for him or her, you will receive the best mentorship possible. A mentor does not necessarily have to be someone you know in real life. Technology has made dissemination of information very easy so you can learn from your chosen mentor’s published books, website, Youtube channel and other available information. Take advice. Accept correction with grace; don’t be defensive. The reason you are not yet successful is because you still need to learn.
A writing career can be extremely rewarding and can give you a reliable source of income even in your sunset years. Give it the seriousness it deserves and you will enjoy success for many years to come.
This article is written by Susan Catherine Keter, life coach, mentor, network marketing professional, freelance writer and Blogger.