Nowadays it seems that everyone wants to be a writer. In a recent issue of EVE magazine a survey asking readers about their career goals stated that the number one dream job was that of bestselling author. In a highly competitive industry the stakes just got higher! It would seem that so many people are looking for a publishing deal; contacting editors, publishers and agents, working away at a novel, screen play, poetry collection or children’s book as they wait for their big break into print. The urge to become a writer is now a very fashionable dream, but the current popularity of this dream does make me wonder how many people really know what they could be getting in to?
Unless you become a huge household name the fact is that writing, journalism and editorial are not the best paid professions. It could even be said that writers and journalists are hard done by when it comes to the financial rewards for their work. The truth is that for every JK Rowling, Helen Fielding, Stephen King or Terry Pratchett there are thousands of working writers just trying to make ends meet or who are making a modest living. Many more use writing as a paid hobby and work in other jobs to support their family and pay the bills. So if you want to be a writer because you think it is the best way to make a fast buck or achieve instant fame then you might as well put down the pen. The majority of authors fall into what is euphemistically known as the mid-list. This basically means that they are regularly published and their books sell well, but that they have not yet reached the highest level of commercial success or the millionaire status. This is especially likely to be true if you want to write specialist non-fiction or you fall into a genre with a low shelf turn over. If you want to write for the popular genres such as romance, fantasy, horror, crime or children's books etc than be aware that millions of other writers have exactly the same game plan and the competition will be fierce. The houses who publish in these genres will also be quite ruthless in sifting the wheat from the chaff.
It could be that this fashion for becoming a writer is a passing social phase due to the exposure of high profile authors who make it seem so easy; an idea arrives in your head (naturally this is always fully-formed), then you simply write the book, find an agent, obtain a publisher and a film deal and you’re away with the celebrities… the truth is somewhat different from the dream however and there is nothing like the thud of a pile of rejection slips and form letters landing on your doormat to bring about a very rude awakening. Some of you reading this post will already be aware of the pain a rejection can bring. Keep the faith!
I am by no means trying to put you off; I am living, breathing proof that persistence and determination can eventually lead to successful publication and work as a full time author. I also believe that the need to pass on information and tell stories is what makes us human. Some of us simply could not get through the day without writing! The question is; what do you want to achieve from your writing?
An Audience; this one is easily achieved. If you feel you need to pass on information, share anecdotes and so on with people of a like mind you can simply set up a blog page and begin to share your work right away. Some bloggers have even won the attention of top publishing houses.
Validation; perhaps you prefer the validation of a publishing deal? This will boost your confidence in your talent and ability, but it should not be viewed as the winning post - rather, it is where the hard work begins.
Financial Gain; if you write well you will eventually be paid for your work. It might not be a large enough income to support a growing family though, so you should keep hold of your main job. You might be one of the lucky few who do make it to the big time...its always a possibility! But sadly, not every writers destiny.
Fame; while some level of recognition is inevitable when you become published, it is likely that your name will be known, but not your face. However, if you can get a great agent, top publisher and you have the personality to self-promote like a super-star...who knows?
Once you have decided what you want from your writing you can begin to work towards it - not everyone wants to be published; some people just want to share what the they know. The bottom line is; writers write. There are some who talk about being an author yet never send work out, or they give up after the first rejection. They are more concerned with having the appearance of being a writer than getting down to the task of the job. For those of you who have the determination to succeed here are a few affirmations to keep you positive when the going gets tough.
TIP: Use the following affirmations to get you into the right frame of mind.
I am totally committed to my writing
I find the time to write something every day
Each day brings me closer to my goal of becoming a writer
No-one else will take my writing seriously until I do
Today is my first day as a committed writer
I make this pledge that I will serve my writing in the best way I can
Actions speak louder than words and so I pick up my pen and write…