Tips for Aspiring Writers

I’m sure that my fellow writers will enjoy this guest post from the talented Katheryn Rivas. What are some of your tips to make the writing journey easier? Please share in the comments.

As a kid, when someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, did you proudly declare “I want to be a writer!”? Did you spend countless hours clinging to your notepad scribbling thoughts and words across the page? If any of this sounds familiar, odds are you went on to do what numerous other writing hopefuls have before you. You grew up, went to college, earned a degree in English or Journalism and are now, given the terrible job market, immensely regretting your decision.

But, as hopeless as it may be seem at times to try to make a living using the craft you have spent years perfecting, I’m living proof that, while it may be a bit of a challenge, it is in fact NOT impossible. Below are some tips and things to remember as you strive to make it in this world as a writer.

Pick a Direction
The first you have to do if you are trying to make somewhat of a living as a writer is to choose your direction. I don’t mean this as choose which part of the world you would like to live in as you hammer out thoughts on a keyboard, I mean which WRITING path do you see yourself best suited for?
Are you the creative literary type? A poet? Journalist? Copy? There’s no right answer here, just a matter of determining where you would like to see yourself going. If you don’t have an end game in mind it’s pretty hard to establish any sort of plan of attack for proceeding, so once you have that figured out you can really get to work. Now, I want to stress that you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to just ONE of the above. Feel free to try your hand at two, or three–whatever works for you, as long as you incorporate it into your plan.

Don’t Be Afraid to Venture out of Your Comfort Zone
Although you just went through all of the soul-searching trouble of deciding which direction you want to take, I can’t stress enough how important it is to not be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. This might seem a bit contradictory, but the fact of the matter is, the job market is not good for anyone now–especially writers. So if you are offered a job that will pay you to use your skills, you should take it, even if it isn’t something that would normally appeal to you. Now, I know this might sound like settling, but it really isn’t. It’s a form of self-preservation. Plus, challenging yourself to get out of your normal routine/schtick can help you grow as a writer in the long run.

Plus, depending on professional contracts and agreements, you can usually still pursue freelance work on the side, meaning you don’t have to stop chasing your ultimate dream. It’s just a matter of balance. Also, you never know who you might meet in this unfamiliar position. I once worked for a company that forced me to churn out meaningless copy hour after hour for various random companies. Although it was mind-numbing at best, I was surrounded by people in the same position as me. People who longed to write and were just toughing it out while they worked toward something more in their spare time. Although technically each other’s competition, a sort of camaraderie was formed and we were able to help each other along the way. A contact here, a good word in there, until one day those who wanted to were able to pick up and move on to bigger and better things.

Stay Dedicated
As frustrating as it may be to get that rejection notice, or to send yet another submission that will go ignored, keep at it. If at your core this is really what you feel you were meant to do, you should be willing to fight for it. It won’t always be easy, the pay is going to suck, you will encounter writer’s block. It’s only when you persevere THROUGH those things that you can earn the title of professional writer. If you back down at the first sign of a challenge, you can never expect to progress or develop into the person you’re supposed to be.

So, as you set forth to make your way in the written world, leaving behind you a college campus or unfulfilling career, remember these simple things. It may seem like cliche, oversimplified advice, but believe me, it’s coming from someone who’s been there; I get it.

Katheryn Rivas is a freelance writer and resident blogger at onlineuniversities.com, a site dedicated to distance higher education. Thrilled she gets to write for a living, she welcomes your comments at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

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