Getting Started With a Writing Career

The first hurdle to beginning a writing career is, oddly enough, not the actual writing. It’s convincing those in your life -- including yourself -- that you have a job, and that job requires you to put in work hours that actually count, not ones where you're simultaneously holding a child, making dinner and folding towels, all while talking on the telephone. If you want to have a writing career, you have to run your work like an actual business.

MAKE AN INVESTMENT
Let’s say you decide to open a frozen yogurt shop. You’d probably need to visit a bank for some investment money, and then you’d do everything you could in that first year to recoup your investment. Since you’re building a writing career, you’ll need motivation to keep going, and recoup the investment of time (and some expense) you’ll be throwing into your work. So, decide on an investment amount, and work towards it. It can be an arbitrary number, or a goal of three bylines by next Fall.

GET PROFESSIONAL
Get a good computer, high speed Internet access if you can, fax capability, a printer, stationery, business cards, and the like. Decide on a look and feel for your writing career. Build a website. Make everything integrated and make your business your own color. Decide on a name, even if it’s just your name.

FIND SPACE
Whether it’s the second floor study in your million-dollar mansion, or a card table in the corner of your studio apartment, find a place for your stuff and make it your office. You need an area that is all yours, used only by you, for writing.

MAKE A SCHEDULE
If you are building a writing career on the heels of another one, you might work in the evenings or on weekends. Some of you may work while the kids are at school, and others may craft out a more traditional workweek. Whatever your situation, decide how many hours a week you are going to devote to writing, then schedule the exact time you will work on a calendar. Distribute this calendar to family members and make it clear that during these times, you will be working, and you are not to be disturbed unless the house is on fire. (And even then, if you're in the middle of a really good paragraph, you might need to be left alone)

SPREAD THE WORD
Inform friends, family, acquaintances and strangers of your new writing venture. Practice saying, “I’m a writer.” “I’m writing now.” “If you ever need a writer…” You’d be surprised at the number of leads this can generate once you’ve gotten the word out.

ALLOW YOURSELF VACATION
If you worked for someone else, you’d get about 2 weeks a year (and a whole lot of hassle). So allow yourself that time to spend with your family, on holidays, or just taking a “mental health day.” But keep track of your vacation time, and don’t stray far from your schedule.

WHAT TO WRITE



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QUOTE
WRITE to be understood, SPEAK to be heard, READ to grow.
Lawrence Clark Powell