By Andrea Gouws
Pursuing a writing career can be intimidating at times. Self-doubt, writer’s block – it’s all part of the process! Here are 6 helpful tips to drop those insecurities and jumpstart your career as a successful writer.
Writer’s tip #1: Gain experience and exposure
Yes, it’s easier said than done. How does a writer gain experience with no experience at all?
- Write articles for charity. Many organizations rely solely on volunteers for their articles.
- Start a blog. This is a great way to refine your style, niche and track your growth.
Writer’s tip #2: Surround yourself with a positive community
‘Sometimes the writer’s most dangerous enemies are closer to home.’ – Anne R. Allen.
Jim Rohn, a well known American entrepreneur believed that we become the average of the five people we spend the most time with. His findings were revolutionary at the time, but have been reviewed and noted that the influence might stretch far beyond those five connections. Nevertheless, as a writer, you need to surround yourself with a community that will positively affect your creativity.
Success is influenced by our relationships. Choose your tribe wisely.
Writer’s tip #3: As a writer, you will encounter rejection and failure
Yes, it can be nerve-racking waiting for a response from an editor. Your article was like a baby nurtured for several weeks, and then comes the editor’s reply: ‘No’.
But as much as it might sting, the truth is, all writers fail.
In a speech at the Harvard University commencement in 2008, JK Rowling admitted that a few years before her big break, she hit ‘rock bottom’. She was poor, divorced, had zero success as a writer and viewed herself as the biggest failure she knew. In fact, moments away from her successful turnaround with ‘Harry Potter’, she received twelve rejections for this concept before a publisher was finally on board.
And, well, 500 million copies later – and the rest is history.
Writer’s tip #4: Set achievable writing goals
In an article published by Writer’s Digest, script magazine editor Jeanne Bowerman mentioned the importance of setting realistic goals. Based on her experience, she’s convinced that goals are vital if you want to limit disappointment in your writing career.
‘You’re better off taking smaller, consistent steps than blowing off writing for days and then doing a massive word vomit to keep on track with your goals,’ Bowerman says.
Point is, if you’re not working towards a set of goals, you’re setting yourself up for a loss. To gain confidence as a writer you need to establish what is achievable today and what is not.
Steady pace wins the race!
Writer’s tip #5: Enrol in a writing course
This is a game-changer.
Let’s face it: the pros know all the mistakes we’re about to make, and exactly how to avoid them.
Learning from the experience of others is invaluable to our careers as aspiring writers. If you jump straight into submitting articles to editors, you might never be aware of your mistakes. A writing course provides a safe space for you to receive the feedback you need to become a better writer. It’s the first step in taking your writing seriously.
We have a variety of courses here at the Writers College and our tutors include some of the best in the industry. To find out more, read our article on 10 Reasons To Do A Writers College Writing Course.
Writer’s tip #6: You are not an aspiring writer
Stumbling upon this article, you probably felt insecure about your new venture. And honestly, that’s never going to change. Your amount of published work doesn’t define your description, only your level of experience – so go and gain some more.
You’re not aspiring to be a writer, you are a writer.
Now, deep breaths, and get to work.
About the Author
Andrea Gouws is a pharmacist by day and a writer by night. She’s passionate about health and wellness and her inspiration is fuelled by her first-hand experience in the pharmaceutical industry. If she’s not working, you’ll find her either seated beside her piano somewhere in the mountains of Stellenbosch or enjoying a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc.