Some wisdom from the trenches.
My meeting the other day with a wannabe writer made me realize that there are a lot of people out there who want to write but simply don’t have a clue about many of the basics. So I thought I’d start a new series of articles here. The idea is to share some of my insight with the folks who understand that they don’t know everything and that they can learn from other writers.
I realize that this sounds sarcastic, but I think it’s pretty close to the mark. So many wannabe writers simply don’t understand the basics of writing — or writing for a living. They have this glamorized idea of what it’s like to be a writer. They think it’s easy. And while it may be easy for them to write, it isn’t easy for most folks to make a living as a writer.
And that’s what it all comes down to. As a commenter here said, writers write. But if you can’t get paid for your writing, you’ll probably have to work a “real” job to earn a living. And that might not have enough time to write. So the goal of anyone who wants to be a writer should be to get paid for writing. Then they’ll have plenty of time to write.
My goal in this series is to not only provide tips to help you be a better writer, but to help wannabe writers or new writers understand how they can make a living as a writer and what that living might be like.
I’ve already written a number of posts that you might find helpful if you’re interested in learning more about being a writer. I’ve listed the ones that I think are best here:
- On Being a Professional Writer (Sept 22, 2004)
- Freebies (Dec 6, 2004)
- Software Isn’t Always the Answer (Feb 20, 2005)
- More about Writing Software (Feb 21, 2005)
- Fifteen Years as a Freelancer (Jun 6, 2005)
- You CAN Make a Living as a Writer (Sep 30, 2005)
- NaNoWriMo ’05 (Nov 3, 2005; also available as a podcast at this link)
- NaNoWriMo Expanded (Nov 8, 2005)
- Contact Negotiation (Nov 28, 2008)
- On Deadlines (Jan 13, 2006)
- Blogger or Writer? Not Both? (Apr 21, 2006)
- Why Write? (Jul 24, 2006)
- On Blogging (Nov 17, 2006; also available as a podcast at this link)
- 5 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts More Readable (Jan 14, 2007)
- Death of a Manuscript (March 3, 2007)
- Royalty Statements (Mar 31, 2007)
- Copyright for Bloggers and Writers – Part 1: Why Copyright is Important (Aug 4, 2007)
- eBooks (Aug 7, 2007)
- Copyright for Writers and Bloggers – Part II: Creative Commons (Aug 7, 2007)
- Copy Editing – Part I: What Is Copy Editing? (Aug 8, 2007)
- Copyright for Writers and Bloggers – Part III: Fair Use and Public Domain (Aug 12, 2007)
- Copy Editing – Part II: My Experience with Copy Editors (Aug 13, 2007)
- Copy Editing – Part III: Editing for the Sake of Editing (Aug 20, 2007)
- Pro Writing Fundamentals: Editors (Aug 29, 2007)
- Grammar Is Important (Sep 8, 2007)
- Question: When does an apparently fun way to earn income become a job? (Oct 5, 2007)
- Why Writers Write (Nov 1, 2007)
- What to Write About? (Dec 22, 2007)
- Article Length (Jan 11, 2008)
- Thinking Outside the Book (Feb 27, 2008)
- BE a Writer (Sep 27, 2008)
I learned two things in the hour it took me to compile this list:
- The list is a lot longer than I expected it to be. I wrote a lot about writing since I began blogging nearly 5 years ago. This list doesn’t include all the posts in the Writing category, either.
- Before writing Saturday’s post, I hadn’t written anything worthwhile about writing since February 2008.
I urge you to read any of the posts listed above that you think you might find interesting. Comment on them, too. Your comments will help me develop ideas for new posts about related topics.
In the meantime, I’ll use the “Writing Tips” title for a bunch of short new posts that cover some of the basics. I promise not to be too chatty.