Becoming a new Writer

Picture the scene my friends. You’re out having a drink or  dinner with friends.  You have a glass of wine in your hand and they say “So, what are you doing nowadays, hows work?” You freeze, knowing that they expect you to regale them with stories from a front line nursing career. When you were a nurse, everyone would tell you what a worthy career you had and how they could never do that job. Now you have to say that nursing is a thing of the past and that you have a new job.

 

“I’m not a nurse anymore” you say to them. You sit and watch everyone’s reactions. They are all looking at each other in shock. After all you never told anyone what you were doing. You took a chance yourself and made that proverbial jump. The silence ends with you asking “ so do you want to know what I am doing now?”. This seems to bring the room back to life and everyone leans in to hear your revelation. You say “I’m a writer” and hear everyone have a sharp intake of breath.

Here’s my tips for becoming a new writer.

  • Remember that you have to work hard.
  • Its not the highest paying job in the world!
  • You need to force yourself to write even when you don’t always feel like it.
  • Opinions of others: Listen by all means but all that matters is whether you are happy.
  • Keep trying. One rejection is not a failure. A rejection is just a way of saying you don’t know how to do it right yet!
  • Learn from mistakes.
  • Listen to and ask for constructive criticism.
  • Ask advice.

Lets look at a few of those in more depth.

Opinions of others.

My friends and readers get ready, because everyone will have an opinion. There  will be those that tell you it isn’t well paid.  Some will ask you why on earth you chose that. Friends will  make you doubt your own choices even when you know they are right.
Well, heres my opinion on it, Trust your gut. There is something to be said for the old fashioned gut feeling.

Rejection slips.

One stress of becoming a writer is the dreaded rejections. No one wants them but we all get them. Rumour has it that J.K. Rowling had numerous rejections before her Harry Potter success. From the start of my new writing career I made it a point to submit something, somewhere every week. The good side of that is that you learn your craft by taking note of comments made. The bad side is the increasing number of rejection slips that you are likely to get.

Getting a rejection can mean several things. Your writing is not suited to that publication. Your writing may not be of a high enough standard. Whatever the reason, the trick is to take the criticism and work with it. To give you an example: I wrote a piece on becoming a widow. It was rejected with some advice on how to write in the future. I rewrote the piece and submitted again. Its now immortalised in their online magazine as my first published article.

Acceptance slips.

When an acceptance slip comes your way, you will be the happiest person ever. Trust me I know, she says smiling to herself! The trick with acceptances is not to expect them. Don’t hope for them. Easier said than done I know. Submit your work. Step away from your keyboard and learn patience. Its something I don’t have and I find this incredibly hard but in order to be a writer you need a degree of patience.

Acceptance slips will make you want to jump from the rooftops.  Enjoy them.

Achieving success.

When you see your article on the internet, when you hold your book in your hands…nothing can beat that feeling. Enjoy that feeling. Share and celebrate that feeling. Shout from the rooftops!!! I changed career wanting to be a writer. I educated myself through a diploma and certificate in professional and creative writing. I wrote and wrote and wrote and submitted whenever and wherever I could. I started a blog and used that to document and improve skills. You know what….

I’m sitting here now with seven published articles, two books, a ghost-written book, a third book underway, a Diploma in Professional Writing and a Certificate in Creative Writing as well as a freelance writing job. I have a second poetry collection building up nicely.
I worked hard. I did it and it sure feels good.