A Few Thoughts on Being a Writer
For a lot of people, it seems like their identities are wrapped up in their jobs. When you meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions that gets asked is, “What do you do?” Or, if someone asks you what you’re all about, your answer will often be related to what do you for a living.
In 2 Days, I’m a “Teacher” No More
In two days from now when I teach my last class, I will no longer be a “teacher,” but instead, I think I’ll call myself a writer. Being a writer. Hmmm…that is a bit intimidating. And I don’t exactly feel entirely comfortable with it. But, how else to answer the question of, “What do you do?” To say that I have an online business entails explaining affiliate marketing, self-hosted websites and self-publishing to people who often have no idea that these worlds even exist.
I’m a writer. People get that.
Writing: I’m not Particularly Good at It
Part of what intimidates me about calling myself a “writer” is that I don’t think I’m particularly good at it. Sure, I can write a blog post. Or some sales copy. Even a few books that I have up on Amazon. But, if you want a long, flowery sentence or paragraph, I’m certainly not your person.
I hate self-editing and I may in fact be the worst self-editor I know. My eyes glaze over after about 10 seconds of it. The good news is that I have people who are good at editing to have a look at my books before I publish them. Blog posts, sorry. You’ll have to take what you can get from my very weak efforts.
If you want to check out what I’ve written:
Here are all my books on Amazon: Jackie Bolen’s Books.
And, links to all my websites where I write at can be found here: Jackie Bolen’s Main Site.
Being a Writer: Here’s Some Good News
The good news about writing is that you get better over time. It’s just like anything-practicing it will help you improve. And I most certainly am better than I was 10 years ago. I look back at that stuff and cringe at how terrible it was. I’m sure I’ll look back on this post in 10 years from now and do the same.
Can Anyone be a Writer?
Can anyone be a writer? Maybe. I think it mostly just takes a willingness to put your stuff out into the world, which can leave you vulnerable, open to critique and criticism. The stuff I’ve written has certainly seen its fair share of that. Although the really personal attacks don’t make me feel good, I think it usually reflects more poorly on the person making the attack than it does on me. When someone takes some ideas they disagree with, and then don’t address those ideas but attack, in a personal way the person who wrote them? That’s basically the lowest form of Internet troll there is. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself in my head. The “block” button on Facebook, which I use quite liberally helps as well.
5 Tips for Becoming a Writer
So, you want to be a writer. Here are a few tips for you as you begin your journey:
- Start. You may not be good now, but you’ll get better by doing it consistently. Sure, you can write in a personal diary of some kind, but nothing says “effort” like putting something online for people to read. That’ll make you better much more quickly.
- Experiment. Try different styles of writing until you find the one that works for you. Fiction, non-fiction, blogging, poetry, books, magazine articles, etc. Find your voice. Find what connects with your audience.
- Get Help. You want to write a book? Get an editor. It’ll make it way, way better.
- Block. Use liberally. IP addresses, people on Facebook, etc. It’ll keep the negatives vibes at bay.
- Find a Community. Start a mastermind group with other writers. They’ll get the process, and you. You won’t feel so alone, and it’ll certainly make you a better writer.
- Content Marketing. This is going to be huge in the next decade. If you can write compelling content, I have a hard time seeing how you’ll be unemployed in the years to come. Start doing it now, for yourself and you can turn it into a job later.
Let’s Sum This Up
My thoughts on being a writer: intimidating. But, I’m ready to not be a teacher anymore. I think I’m going to embrace it and keep striving to get better. That’s maybe the only way to really live life anyway. How about you? What are you trying to get better at these days? Leave a comment below and tell me!