One Writer’s Journey

September 12, 2013

How Lucky the Full-time Writer

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:15 am
Tags: , ,

hard work“You are so lucky.”

When I tell people that I write full-time, this is very often the response I get.  “You are so lucky.”

Piffle.

I’m not a full-time writer because I am lucky.  If you want to be a full-time writer this is what it takes.

  • Educate Yourself.  When I decided that I wanted to write, one of the first things that I did was sign up for a continuing education class on writing.  I was in the last continuing education class she taught and learned so much from Pat McKissack.  Whether you take classes, get a degree, or read how-to books, you are going to have to learn how to write and write well.   I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to hone my writing skills on the job.  A writer I knew took over as editor of Young Equestrian magazine.  She invited everyone in her old critique group to write for her and every time she edited my manuscripts, I studied the changes.  I learned how to hook a reader, how to make a topic kid friendly and more.
  • Write, Write, and Write.  If you want to write full-time, you are going to have to write full time.  A lot of people talk about writing but they don’t actually spend much time doing it.  They are too busy doing other things.  If you really want to be writers, you need to write.  This might mean saying no to a few invitations or turning off the television.  Talking about writing isn’t enough.  Writing if you have time after everything else is done isn’t enough.  You have to make it a priority.
  • Step through Open Doors.  A lot of people go into writing wanting to do one thing and one thing only.  They don’t take advantage of opportunities.  When the editor of Young Equestrian invited us to submit, how many writers in our critique group took advantage of this opportunity?  One.  Me.  I wasn’t writing nonfiction before she suggested it.  I wasn’t writing about horses.  In fact, as much as I like horses, I knew very little about them.  But I saw an opportunity so I did my research, educated myself and started writing about horses.  This led to several other writing opportunities.

There is an element of luck in being a writer but you have to have the education, the skills, and the drive to take advantage of these lucky breaks when they come along.  Otherwise, your just talking the talk.

–SueBE

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6 Comments »

  1. Great post! I, too, am a full-time writer, and I can definitely identify with what you’ve said here. It’s not the easiest life in the world, but it’s the one we’re best suited for, it seems!

    Comment by Xina Marie Uhl — September 12, 2013 @ 3:35 am | Reply

  2. Oh, by the way, I’m fairly new here on WordPress and I reblogged one of your previous entries without realizing that some bloggers evidently don’t like reblogs. I apologize if I overstepped my bounds!

    Comment by Xina Marie Uhl — September 12, 2013 @ 3:36 am | Reply

    • Not to worry! WordPress let me know and I’m credited so no issues there. We all face a learning curve when we are new to blogging. Thank you for saying something and happy blogging!

      Comment by suebe — September 12, 2013 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  3. Essential too to writing is the self-discipline required to stick with the manuscript you’re working on, to keep at it even when it feels like your writing has hit a wall and you have a bout of self-doubt. It’s easy to give up, and often very painful, even tortuous to force yourself to sit down and write even when feeling totally blocked, or lost, or that your imagination has jumped the tracks to that miraculous inspiration that got you started. Never give up. It is always worth it in the end. Just to know you saw your book through to its completion, whether or not it finds a publisher, or these days, no shame in self-publishing. A number of notable authors who have had commercial success with their work have uploaded to the internet the projects that were not picked up by a publisher. That does not define whether or not a book deserves an audience. Madelyn L’Engels “Wrinkle in Time” was rejected by something like 40 publishers before an editor who “got it” put it in print and there it went on to win the Newberry Award for best YA novel the year it was published, which is only the most prestigious book award for young adult novels, which guaranteed endless reprintings and translations as readers around the world discovered the magic of the book, and a very lucrative magic at that, missed by dozens of other publishers too dull and stodgy and to recognize a masterpiece when it crossed their desk. But most fundamental and essential to this classics’s creation and world-wide fame was Ms. L’Engel’s self-discipline and perseverance.
    Keep at it and if you’re committed, eventually any struggles will give way and writing will become more like an addiction, and as with any addiction, you’ll get to the point where you can’t help but keep at it, getting hooked on the writer’s high 😉

    Comment by Otto Coontz — September 13, 2013 @ 7:56 am | Reply

    • Most definitely! I think one of the hardest things is to keep writing on a project, once he hit the wall, when you don’t have a deadline. If I have a deadline, I can hammer through because I have to do it. If I don’t have a deadline, it is too easy to simply start something new, something that is still unflawed in my imagination.
      –SueBE

      Comment by suebe — September 13, 2013 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  4. […] more than luck to succeed as a writer.  That was the topic of last week’s post titled “How Lucky the Full-Time Writer.”  In this post, I discussed learning your craft, making the time to write, and also taking […]

    Pingback by Done and Out: It Takes More Than Luck to Succeed as a Writer | One Writer's Journey — September 18, 2013 @ 1:11 am | Reply


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