Becoming a full time writer is one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life.
Sure, there have been downs to go with the ups. But the chance to be creative, to travel the world, to talk to so many different people has been incredible. Not to mention, the ability to send invoices in my pyjamas without anyone getting upset
Writing is my dream job. It’s also hard but I could have made life much easier for myself if I’d realised these seven things from the beginning.
That’s one of the reasons I set up the course Write Better, Right Now. Aren’t we all taught to learn from our mistakes? Well, what better way to do that than to teach others how to avoid them.
If you’ve missed the memo, registration is open now.
Write Better, Right Now is an online course that strips away the mystique of writing and provides a blueprint to tackle the blank page. It’s turned formers students into professional writers and given them the confidence to follow their dream careers.
So, what do I wish I’d known before becoming a writer? Here goes…
The world is full of romantic notions about writers. And top of the list is the idea that writers should go it alone. They should hide away from the world, scribbling furiously, until their masterpiece appears, fully formed.
Well, that’s just wrong on so many levels.
Don’t get me wrong. I quite like my time alone. I need to get in the zone to write well and I love to spend time with my ideas.
But that’s not enough.
Not only do writers need friends and a reminder to wash every once in a while. They need colleagues, editors, interview subjects and, most of all, readers.
These days, it’s easier than ever to find company, both online and off.
Writer friends will forward job opportunities, help when you get stuck, commiserate with the parts of the job that suck and much more besides.
That’s part of the reason why I set up The Social Footprint Café, to serve as a meeting place for creatives. Because I wish I’d realised sooner that I shouldn’t try to go it alone.
Recommended reading: 30 Minutes to Become a Better Writer: FREE Online Mini-Course
Really, it isn’t. It’s an essential part of life and certainly a creative life. In fact, if you haven’t been rejected, you’re probably not trying hard enough. Not everyone is going to like what you write. Not everyone will be able to hire you. And that’s all A-OK.
When I began writing, I thought it was all about inner creativity and skill. I would either have it or I wouldn’t. And if I didn’t, then nothing could save me.
Not true. Sure, talent matters. And talent can compensate for a lot.
But it doesn’t compensate for knowing how the system works.
Talent is left in obscurity if it doesn’t use the scaffolding and structure that others have already worked out. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
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I’m going to be careful with this one. You can throw good money after bad. But investing in yourself is the sensible thing to do. Instead of spending hours and days trawling through Google, trying to hack your way around “free” products that don’t do what you need, or trying to network from your bedroom alone, make an investment.
Don’t spend thousands on nonsense. But do go to the meeting, sign up for the course, or buy the software when it will help you on your way.
Again, I thought that being good at writing was “a thing.” You either were or you weren’t. That looks rather basic when I see it written down.
But of course, even among good writers, people have different strengths and skills. Some tackle service writing well, putting together tips and information in a clear and structured form. Others are more poetic. Some write great screenplays, others were born to blog.
Some of the most useful feedback I had when I was starting out came from other writers in my course. They pointed out the strengths (and weaknesses!) that I had struggled to see. Which brings me right back to point number one: don’t go it alone.
Sure, the basics of writing remain the same. You can’t interfere with the foundation. But tastes and fashions change. So, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, does technology.
The way that writers earn a living today is completely different to a generation ago, ten years ago or even three years ago.
My old job as a doctor had continuous learning built in to its ethos. It took me a while to realise that the world of writing was just the same.
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Gah. In my early days, I used to spend ages before I sent out an email. I was paranoid about making a mistake. I would rewrite paragraphs and passages because I couldn’t find out the accepted way to talk about a collective noun or something else just as ridiculous.
Yes, grammar matters. We should always aim to send out technically correct work. But that’s not where the heart of good writing lies.
We can’t ignore it. We shouldn’t ignore it. But we shouldn’t get stuck on it either.
So, behold! I give you permission to start a sentence with “but.” Next up, we’ll talk about when and where we should “boldly go.”
Have you found any of this helpful? I certainly hope so. And I also hope you’ll join our small and private class Write Better, Right Now.
If you’ve just scrolled down to here, I get it. Here’s what you need to know:
Registration for Write Better, Right Now is open now for registration for $200 USD plus tax. The combined value of the lessons, workbooks, bonuses and one- to-one feedback totals over $650 USD. So, take advantage of them all being bundled together, a saving of over $400 and sign up now!
Happy writing everyone,
See you soon, Abi
Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.
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