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Are You A Writer With A Vision And A Plan?
WHAT IS A WRITER?
From Dictionary.com we have this definition of a writer:
a person engaged in writing books, articles, stories, etc., especially as an occupation or profession;an author or journalist.
a clerk, scribe, or the like.
a person who commits his or her thoughts, ideas, etc., to writing: an expert letter writer.
I was reflecting the other day on what it meant to be a writer. It has changed over the years, has it not? In the old days a writer either was a novelist, a poet, or worked for a magazine or newspaper. Before the internet changed the landscape, when one said he or she was a writer, it usually fell into one of those categories.
Boy how times have changed. Now we have blog writers, and freelance writers, and content writers, and corporate writers, and grant writers and on and on we go, and each one fits comfortably within that definition provided above.
I guess I have no problem with any of that….I guess. What I have a problem with is the bastardization of the job description “writer” and how the internet has over-simplified the job to the point where many writers do not work hard enough to deserve that job description.
Writing is a noble profession and it should be treated as such. To be a writer is to be an artist, for writing is part of the Arts. The internet has simplified the process and in many ways eliminated the hard work. It is all about instant gratification now, and anyone can publish an ebook and call themselves a writer. Anyone with an IQ hovering around one hundred can do content work and call themselves a writer. Hell, anyone can write a blog and call themselves a writer, but that does not mean they are good at it, and I think that does a disservice to the profession.
ARE YOU ARE WRITER?
So here we are at the first part of the title question. Are you a writer? Simple enough question, and if you fall under the definition, if you write books, articles, or stories, and writing is at least partially a profession for you, then you are a writer. By definition a content writer is a writer. Heaven forbid but it is true. What do I have against content writing? Nothing, really, since I do it three hours per day to pay bills, but while I am doing it I do not feel like Hemingway. Do you see my dilemma with this whole writing thing?
I guess I sound like a snob but I don’t mean to be. I just believe that writing is a noble calling and should be treated as such. If content writing is your thing then be the best damn content writer you can be, and don’t settle for 400 words of SEO with little value to the advancement of writing.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
Do you even have one? Do you see yourself ten years from now still doing content writing and blogs? Is that your vision? Is your vision just to earn some online money by doing Hubs for HubPages? Is your vision to have a publishing company publish a novel that you have written? Is your vision to work as a magazine writer, or have your own column in a newspaper? Is your vision to publish twenty books in ebook form and make lots of money?
I can’t answer that one for you. I have a very clear vision of what I want and where I am heading, and everything I do is with that vision in mind. I’m just curious if you can say the same thing, because I think it is crucial that you have a vision if you are serious about being a successful writer.
And what is a successful writer? Only you can define success as it relates to you. Again, without a vision it seems to me that success will never be found.
Elmer Leonard's Top Tips On Writing
- Take one part talent
- Add one part vision and mix well
- Add a healthy pinch of plan
- Continue mixing until perfectly blended and then cook on simmer until done.
AND THAT BRINGS US TO WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?
Once you have a vision then you need a plan, right? There are very few overnight successes in writing. The idea of writing a novel and being discovered and having riches, and it all happening in a year, is nonsense. It does not happen so if that’s your plan it is time to re-think your life.
I wrote an article a few days back about having a platform. In it I explained that, as a writer, you are your own advertising and marketing executive. It is your job to announce to the world that you are a writer of some talent. Now, how are you going to do that? Once you can answer that question then you will have your plan.
I have a very clear plan and I stick with it. Everything I do is part of that plan. Every blog I write, every article I write, every ebook and novel and submission that I write, they are all part of the plan. From my business cards to my Facebook page to my website, it is all part of a plan and I have to tell you, realistically it is a long-range plan.
There are no free lunches in writing. If you don’t like hard work then it might be time to change careers. If you don’t like the idea of working years for a single goal then you are in the wrong profession. I am encouraged that it took Steinbeck almost seven years to be published. He had no internet nor did he have ebooks nor did he have blogs. He had a pen and a pad and he sat down daily and wrote. No instant gratification for that man, or other writers like him. No being “discovered” by Blog Magazine and riding the online wave to riches. He sat down and he worked his craft and he became one of the all-time greats.
Let me repeat that last part…he worked his craft.
Some thoughts on success
Do you have a vision and a plan?
WORKING YOUR CRAFT
If you are a writer then your craft is writing. One of your goals should be to be the best writer you can be. All too often I see someone all excited that their blog has now been viewed 5,000 times, or that they received some blog award presented by another blogger. What does that mean? I think it is too easy to get wrapped up in the instant gratification of networking and forget that we should be trying to improve our writing.
Online views do not mean you are a good writer, just as a million YouTube views does not make one a great motion picture director. It simply means you have learned to play the online game well.
Now, what about your writing skills? Do you belong to writing forums where your work will be critiqued? Do you enter writing competitions to see how you match up against other writers? Do you go to writing workshops? Do you continually challenge yourself to be better?
I have nothing against the internet or blogging. I think they are useful tools for writers and should be incorporated in your platform and your plan. Having said that, I also think they offer instant gratification and tend to blur the vision. The great writers of the past and present never lost sight of the fact that they needed to continue to work on their writing. They continued to produce thousands of words a day with zero gratification. All that drove them forward was a desire to be better.
We could learn a few things by following their example.
What is your vision? What is your plan? How willing are you to do the work necessary to be a better writer?
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)