Are You in Control of Your Writing Career?
An Interesting Question, Is It Not?
I’m sure many of you shut down completely when you saw the word “career” in the title. Fine! How about we change the title to “Are You in Control of your Writing Journey?” Now do I have your attention?
Let’s weed a few of you out right now. If you simply write for the pleasure of writing, and you have no goals in mind, then stop reading and go feed the cat. I can hear her stomach growling from here. The rest of this article, then, is for those of you who actually have a goal in mind. Maybe you want to write a book. Maybe you want to make some passive income on a site like HubPages. Maybe you want to work as a freelance writer and write copy for companies. Whatever the case may be, this article can help you if you let it.
I’m assuming, since you read the title, and read my warning, and you are still here, that you feel in some way that you are out of control of the writing situation. Nobody likes that feeling; nobody likes to feel they have lost all control. Ugly vibes for sure, and the sooner we get you back in control, the better.
So let’s begin. Take a deep breath and relax. Uncle Billy is here and all will be well.
Let’s Begin with the Goal
You have one, right? What is it? Give me one sentence that perfectly captures your goal in writing…but be specific. Don’t say “to earn money,” but rather say a specific amount. Don’t say “to write a book,” but say “to write a book within the next two years.”
If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, then you cannot formulate a specific plan, and without a specific plan you are like a rudderless ship in a hurricane called Katrina.
So sit down right now and write out your goal. Then take that slip of paper and tape it above your computer where you’ll see it each day. That is your guiding star, your true north, and you need to steer by it every day that you write.
Now It’s Time for a Plan
What’s your plan? Be specific. No la-la, nebulous b.s., please. I want to know how you are going to achieve the goal you just mentioned.
Sit down, once again, and write out how you plan on achieving your goal. Are you going to write two hours each day? Are you going to create a website to promote your work? Are you going to contact editors and publishers?
And what about your writing platform? Do you have one? Are you adding to it on a regular basis?
Let me tell you about this writer. Three years ago I quit a full-time teaching position and declared to the world that I was a freelance writer. Mind you, I had no training or experience, but I believed in myself, and I also believed in the saying “fake it till you make it.”
I had one other thing that has proven to be invaluable: I had a business background, with degrees in Marketing and Economics. I remembered my earlier training, and I sat down and wrote out a business plan. I was as specific as possible. I wrote out a timeline of small goals I needed to accomplish, and I have stuck with that plan. It was a five-year plan and I am just finishing year three, and I am right on schedule.
That’s what you need to do! If you are serious about writing then treat it seriously.
And Now It’s Time for Business Management
One of the many rewards of being a writer is that we have no boss hovering over our shoulder giving us orders and instructions. Conversely, one of the hardest things about being a writer is we have no boss hovering over our shoulder giving us orders and instructions.
Take this as gospel: it is not easy being a full-time writer and answering only to yourself. There are so many distractions during the day. Who is going to know if I decide to goof off this afternoon? Only me! Who is going to know if I fell short of my goals this week? Only me! Who is going to know if I’m really giving it 100%? Only me!
If writing is important to you, and you are your own boss, then it’s time to crack the whip. If you are waiting until tomorrow, then you have a major problem if tomorrow never comes.
If you are waiting for fame to find you, then get comfortable, because that wait will be a very long one.
And Now It’s Time for a Heart-to-heart Talk About Commitment
And that leads us to the matter of commitment. I have no time for excuse-makers or whiners. If you want this writing gig bad enough, then make it happen.
“But I can’t find the time to write.” How many times have I heard that nonsense? It’s not that you can’t find the time, but rather than you haven’t made the time. Get up an hour earlier in the morning. Go to bed an hour later at night. Watch less television. There are countless way to make time for writing, but you have to be willing to do it.
“But nobody believes in me, and nobody praises my writing.” Well, I’m sorry…I really am…and I’m so sorry that I’ll tell you right now that I believe in you, but only if you are willing to get up off the couch and actually sit down and write.
Writers write! Period! Make the commitment to write, and make the commitment to work through the adversity and be successful. If you aren’t willing to do that, then get yourself some chocolate, pull up your favorite chair, and watch some soaps this afternoon.
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- William Holland | Helping Writers to Spread Their Wings and Fly
Tips and discussions about writing
Are you in control of your writing?
And Now It’s Time to Do It
There are literally millions of writers in this world. It can definitely seem like a daunting task, being a writer and finding the recognition and success you seek. My goodness gracious, there have been days when I’ve questioned my sanity in pursuing this career choice, and there have been days when I have thought of quitting.
But I refuse to, and would you like to know why?
Because writing is in my blood. I love it! Writing makes me feel alive, and writing is a way for me to make a difference in this world, and how many people, working a job, can say that?
When I craft a perfect sentence, I am on a high no drug can ever give me. When I reach someone, and they comment that I have touched their heart, I actually get goosebumps. How many people can say that?
I am in control of my writing destiny. There are a ton of excuses I could use, but the bottom line is success or failure is dependent upon me and the amount of commitment I give to my writing.
And the same is true for you.
Are you in control of your writing career?
If so, congratulations! If not, maybe now is the time that you get control and reach for the rewards that are waiting for you.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”