That’s not a trick question. If you want to be a writer, I believe you should know the why behind it. If you were going to be an airline pilot or a dog groomer or a car salesman chances are you will have pondered why, right?
If you’ve decided that the writer’s path is the one you want to travel, you need to map out a plan. Do you have one? Do you know why you are compelled to be a writer? Individuals decide they want to be writers for myriad reasons, but what is yours?
Have you always been penning stories and looking for ways to get them into the hands of the reading public? Do you have a particular passion for something — crochet, dog grooming, metal working? Do you fancy the idea of spreading the word about your hobby to the masses? Do you have a specific area of expertise that you want to hone more fully and share with your tribe?
Does your vivid imagination keep you awake at night? Do you spend time spinning yarns and constructing fantasy realms in your head and on paper? Are you able to draw characters who can perform in your stories, solving mysteries, finding true love or overcoming adolescent angst? Do you compete annually in NANO?
Do you dream of fame, fortune and a work-from-home lifestyle of a career writer?
Here’s the big question.
Do you believe the life of a writer is one of ease? One in which you spend the day watch television in your pajamas while munching on truffles and dashing off articles to eagerly waiting publishers and editors? Do you imagine that once you hit send large paychecks come rolling in?
Regardless of your dreams of becoming a writer, what you want to write and how you plan to get there, know that it isn’t as easy as writing something and popping a byline on it. Now that ebooks and self-publishing is within reach, everyone “fancies him- or herself a writer,” but it takes effort and hard work. You can’t rely on editors to fix your grammar and article flow techniques to make you shine. You certainly don’t want to publish a book and have your readers write a review that spends more time commenting on your grammar flaws than on the brilliance of your prose. NOTE: You WILL make mistakes. We all do. Own them. Change them. Thank the person who pointed them out and move on.
Unfortunately there are many people who believe that if they have a blog and post in it several times a week that they are bonafide writers. The proliferation of bad writing devalues the work of those writers who have honed their skill through taking writing classes and dedication and hard work.
If you truly want to be a writer — regardless of your reasons — never send your work to an editor or put it on your blog until you have made it the best it can be. In many cases — I will go out on a limb and say in every case — it is best to have your work read by a professional, especially if you’re planning on self-publishing or uploading your work as an ebook.
To earn money and make a living as a writer your every word must show professionalism and be grammatically correct — yes, that even means your social media status updates to Facebook and Twitter.
Are you putting your best words forward?