In Part One of this blog post I shared how I grew up believing that having a career as a writer would be an uphill battle. That I couldn’t make a living as a creative person, that I’d have to make a choice between expressing my soul, my bliss, and, well, things like having a roof over my head or eating. But I eventually chose to replace those negative beliefs with some shiny new positive beliefs which helped me to go from being out-of-work with no future prospects, to supporting myself fully as a professional writer.
Three Key Beliefs to Being a Successful Writer
1. You already have everything you need to be a writer
You already have everything you need—right now—to be a writer. You wouldn’t have those creative longings within if you also didn’t have the means to make your writing dreams a reality. The “how” is inherent in the dream. So the best way to learn how to write is to simply do it. And read too. Much like an architect learns how to build a house by studying the blueprints of other houses, writers similarly can learn how to write by reading other writers.
And don’t let bad grammar or poor spelling stop you. That’s what editors are for. Writing is a creative and collaborative act between writer and editor; and it’s an editor’s job is to make your writing shine. Definitely enrol in professional development classes if you need to, work on your craft, but don’t let that be the reason to not write.
Besides, the more you write, the better you’ll get. And if you’re letting a thought like not being good enough stop you, you might want to ask yourself why. You have a distinctive view that no one else has, and a voice that the world is waiting to hear.
2. Writing is a growing, viable industry
Refuse to believe people who say you can’t make a living being a writer. Or that it’s too hard to get published, or that it takes too long. Those are their beliefs, their realities—not yours. Today, there are more places to share and publish your writing than in the history of our planet. And without content, none of the publications or websites would exist. Many sites need fresh content daily, or even several times a day.
And even though printed magazines and newspapers are shrinking in size and market share, most have an online presence. Remember, the audience isn’t shrinking. Neither is the need for content—there’s just a change in how readers consume their information—which translates into more markets, including book markets. Today, there are book publishing options that didn’t exist previously, or weren’t recognized as valid. Writing is definitely a growth industry.
3. You can be a writer right now—today
Even if you’ve never shared your writing publicly before, you can change that right now. This minute. You can stop reading and set up a blog in less than an hour. You could write an article to submit to your favorite magazine or website tonight. Got a weekend free? Write an e-book on your topic of expertise and post it on your website.
Not sure if you have enough information to fill a book? If you are a coach or a workshop leader and have enough material to facilitate a weekend workshop, you have enough content for a book. You also have the advantage of having clients whose stories you can use as case studies.
So just do it. Make today the day you do something towards your writing dream.
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This article first appeared in The Empowerment Manual (Visionary Insight Press, 2015). Read the third and final installment of Write. Share. Transform — Five Tips to Help You Sell Your Writing Now!