Are You A Serious Writer? Here’s How You’ll Know.

By on February 23, 2017
Are You A Serious Writer? Here's How You'll Know. - Writer's Life.org

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping writing as that special hobby that gives you great pleasure, but you only do when you have the time, if you want to take your writing to the next level and get serious about it, there are certain things you have to do.

It’s all well and good dreaming of becoming a full-time writer and making a ‘proper’ living from it, but without changing your writing habits you can’t expect this to happen.

There are traits that all serious writers seem to have in common. Those writers who finish their novels, who get those publishing deals, or who secure those lucrative freelance writing contracts.If you want to be one of them, here’s what you have to do.

You write.

Yes, it might be obvious, but really, how much writing do you do? Serious writers are completely committed to their craft. They make time for their writing, and they make sacrifices in order to get it done. If you want writing to be your job, make it your job. Put the hours in, get things done. You can call yourself a writer all you like, but if you’re really only spending a couple of hours lazily writing each month then you’re simply not producing enough material to call yourself a serious writer. Make goals, make sure you stick to them, and when they become routine, try and push yourself even further.

You zone in.

If becoming a full-time writer is really what you want, you need to get focused. Don’t add it to a long list of things you need to do, or things you want to be. Make it your one, all-consuming goal, and make sure everything you do helps you get that little bit further towards achieving your goal. It’s super easy to get distracted by all manner of things, but if you are serious about your writing career, you just can’t let this happen.

You want to improve.

Writing is a craft and the more you work at it the better you will get at it. Taking your time to actually study the art of writing, experiment with different styles, genres, and points of view, and taking on board advice from critics, seasoned writers, and from books, can help you learn and grow as a writer. If you want to be on top of your game, you can always learn more.

You read.

Reading really does make you a better writer. The more you read the more your creative brain is becoming in tune with what it means to be a writer, what ingredients make a great story, what it takes to write a book.

You edit

Love it or hate it, editing is a huge part of becoming a professional writer. If you just write as a hobby, for the love of doing so, you are probably going to be far less obsessed with editing your work, and getting it into the absolute best state it can be. Polishing and perfecting, reading and re-reading, cutting out scenes you were in love with, killing off characters who you’ve formed an emotional attachment to makes the hardest part of writing. However, every serious writer knows it has to be done, no first draft is ever the finished piece.

You take yourself seriously

When it comes to writing do you really take yourself seriously? This is an important question to ask. Sure we all have an inner critic telling us that we are rubbish or that we can’t do it. But that’s not really what I’m talking about. Do you behave like a professional writer? Do you value your own work? Do you put your all into it? Taking yourself seriously means really caring about your work, never missing deadlines, reading submission guidelines carefully, taking criticism on board and seeing your writing as a proper business. If you take yourself seriously as a writer, you’ll be so much more inspired to dedicate yourself to it.

If you want to become a serious writer now might be a good time to take stock. What have you already achieved? What could you work on? What are your goals? Think about where you want to be in 12 months time, work out a plan and just get on with it!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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