There are differences between what some people consider to be a successful writer or author, but in most cases everyone wants to be a professional writer.
Question is: do you have what it takes?
If you ever had the courage to call yourself a writer, you probably saw the amazement and slight disbelief in your conversation partners’ eyes. A writer? Is that something that can actually pay the bills? What are you writing?
Many of us have this image of the writer: a person, who is doing something for a living, but she finds herself regularly typing away in her spare time, and after a considerable amount of time, she shows her writing to other people. And guess what, it turns out to be a best seller! And she has become a millionaire, within the blink of an eye. So finally, she can be a writer, because she now has financial security. She can write whatever she wants, actually.
And there the millions of others, who do the same thing, but fail at producing a best seller at the first try. Why? Well, obviously because they are not talented enough.
This is how we generalize. Simplistic, yes, and of course, could not be further away from the truth.
I have some bad news for some of you: talents actually do matter. If you don’t find writing easy, enjoyable, and if you don’t get positive feedback regularly from people outside your family (professors, editors, random people on the Internet, friends with decent tastes and honest words), chances are you are chasing a profession that is substandard (for you).
But with hard work, you can still get there. Problem is: it is real hard work and does require a certain amount of talent as well.
Because even when you get that positive feedback regularly, that alone does not get you where you need to be. There are a plethora of strategies to become a self-supplying, career writer – you can try your pen in journalism, translation, blogging, short stories, technical writing (and quite frankly, you should, but if you take your passion seriously, you will be forced to do all that anyway) – but all of them requires an audience with the economic power to lift you and keep you above the surface. And that won’t come easy.
We usually all think and say that the Internet changed the world for good, and made it easier for creative people to get to their audience, and that is true. However, it is the same for everyone. Thus: nothing really changed.
Huge opportunities await, with fierce competition. The playing field is leveled, which means you are facing the ones who play to win. The best creative talent the world has to offer, and gave Internet access to.
Running fast is good – running far is better. But your greatest enemy is not even competition. The writers’ arena is unlike gladiators’. It is more like a long, twisty, elaborate, grueling obstacle run.
Because what you need most, is consistency.
You need to go on your journey knowing full well that you will fail, many times, and even when you have failed a lot, there is no guaranteed success in the end, waiting for you. You will need to work hard even for a chance to succeed. A chance to get into that arena, and fight for it.
Writing is a typical dream job. Actually there are more people in the world dreaming about writing something once, than people who aren’t. And how many of them become a worthwhile writer? A few percent.
Facing the mirror and asking the tough questions from yourself is the only way to get ahead.
Because whenever you are giving an excuse for yourself, why you are not writing the next page or paragraph today, when you are let down by the lowly visit numbers your blog is producing, or another magazine turning down your short story, just remember, that you are putting yourself into that wide circle of those people who dream the dream, but are not working hard enough to turn that dream into reality.
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