Following your writing dreams

I regularly receive an email newsletter about writing called “Writing World.” It often has excellent articles about writing, the writer’s life, being professional and hints and tips useful for writers.

I have kept one article written by editor Moira Allen in my inbox for several months. Here is an extract:

Writing IS a rewarding, exciting career. As long as I have to work at all, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. And becoming a freelancer offers a number of benefits that go far beyond money.

Freelancing teaches you how the writing world works — that acceptance and rejection aren’t, for example, mere whimsical events that depend on which side of the bed an editor rolled out of that morning. You learn what sells and what doesn’t, and why, and when something doesn’t sell, you learn to spend less time moaning and more time hitting the keyboard.

You learn that one can’t afford to wait for the “muse” to drop by
before you start to write — and that, even if you don’t feel the
least bit inspired, you CAN write whenever you force yourself to
sit down at that keyboard, and write well. You learn not only
how to meet deadlines but how to set your own. Over time, you
begin to build a name for yourself, and a portfolio — both of
which can be helpful when you ARE ready to start that novel.

And best of all, you see your writing skill improve, month by month
and piece by piece. In short, you learn professionalism, discipline and skill — three essential ingredients for the writing life. When you DO decide that it’s time to start following your dreams, those ingredients won’t guarantee success — but the lack of them will almost certainly guarantee failure!

[The whole article can be read here.]

Three Essential Attributes for Writers:

  1. Professionalism: Treat your writing seriously; if you treat it like a hobby it will always remain just that, a hobby. Treat your writing and your time as if you are going to a job in an office, school or factory.
  2. Discipline: This is a tough one. The more time you have available for writing, the more time you have to waste on non-productive activities. Set some firm goals – and stick to them. I set a minimum number of words per day and month as well as a minimum number of blog posts and hours devoted to my writing.
  3. Skill: There are three basic steps to becoming a better writer: Practice, Practice and more Practice. There is no easy way. It is hard work. Lance Armstrong didn’t get up one morning, mount his bicycle and say he was going to win the Tour de France seven consecutive times. For every kilometre he rode in the race, he practised for hundreds of kilometres in preparation.

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