How To Be A Writer...byTara_Neale©
The title of this article is a bit deceptive. Writing is an art form, a gift, that you either are born with or not. Of course, even if you are, you must still polish that gift. Learn your craft. And practice it.
Practicing the craft of writing is what this article is really all about. Making time for writing in a world where people are constantly rushing...towards their deaths. Where there simply are not enough hours in day...days in the week. It is task that I have struggled with for thirty plus years.
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. The one time I got into serious trouble at school was because I was writing a fairy tale for my baby cousin...in math class. In high school, I took Creative Writing class...twice. And I even placed in a regional poetry contest. But then life...two marriages and six children happened. And writing got put on hold. But writing is something that kept raising its head and just would not die.
Then in fall of 2011, I had to take my young daughter out of school for health reasons. I became a full-time homeschool mom and carer for a special needs child. It is exhausting work in itself. But I did not want to give up work (and independence) completely. So I decided that with the advent of e-readers and the explosion in self-publishing that I would give this writing dream a real go.
This article shares with you some habits that I have learned in the past six months, work habits that can take your writing from an occasional hobby to a career.
1) Treat it like a job.
I am lucky, besides caring and educating my daughter, writing is my job. But for many of you, this simply is not possible in the short term. See it instead as a part-time job. But it is important that you still see it as a JOB.
Why you ask? Because you do not blow off your jobs. Jobs, even part-time ones, are not something that you do when you feel like it...and don't do when you don't. A job is something that you show up to...because you made a commitment.
Of course this is not to say that sometimes you do not miss work. We all have sick days. We may even take 'mental health days.' But with a job, you think carefully about calling in. It is not something you do lightly.
So begin right now. Make that commitment. Become a writer.
2) Make a schedule.
Most jobs have scheduled hours, even part time ones. You know in advance how many hours you are working and when. Of course, as with most part-time jobs, you have some control of this. You decide when you are available.
So sit down with your day planner or whatever you use (even if that is just kept in your head) and decide what your available working hours are for your new job.
Be realistic though. Do not try to cram too many hours of writing into an already full schedule. Because if you do, then you will end up feeling stressed and not keep your commitment...basically you'll quit your new job without giving it a real chance.
3) Consider how you work best.
Writing is perhaps one of the hardest jobs there are. There is very little more frightening than to stare at a bright white, blank screen. You know you are supposed to fill it with your brilliance but staring at that emptiness is daunting.
For me, I am a morning person. I am lucky too that most mornings my daughter likes to sleep in. So I set my alarm clock and get up two to three hours before she does. Which leads me into my next point...
4) Consider your work environment.
I need quiet...and clean/organization. With my daughter in bed, it is easy to get that first one. But after a long day of writing and homeschooling, I often lack the energy to clean up the house before I fall into bed at night. So I moved my office/work into the spare bedroom...that rarely gets used and is never messy. What do you need to work your best? Where?
5) Invest in your tools.
What tools could you possibly need to be a writer? Well, the obvious one is your computer and the software that allows you to process your words into sentences and stories. Or perhaps you may be the pen and paper type. But increasingly there are tools that allow writers to take their craft on the road. Tablets and smart phones can add hours to your writing time if you know how to use them.
Which is to say...that your tools can also be your knowledge/continuing education. Taking classes in writing, graphic design, computer technology and even time management/organization can help you to maximize your potential in this part-time job.
I have an odd tool as well...a cup of hot, black coffee with extra sugar. It gets my muse up and going each morning. She sometimes requires three, four or even more of them. Other writers speak adoringly of chocolate. What might you do to feed your muse?
But the most important thing of all is to just do it. Take that plunge, that leap of faith and decide that you are a writer. Use the suggestions here as a starting point. Then develop your own (and please share them with me...I am always interested in learning new ideas). But as the saying goes...