One step at a time……

In Step-by-Step on September 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I chose to begin writing this blog for a number of reasons, one of them being that I hoped to help beginning writers find their way in this often confusing industry (after all, I’d want someone to do the same for me).  So what better way to do that than to help answer one of the most confusing questions for new writers: So what do I do now?  I frequently still have to ask myself that question.  And in this career I don’t think I will ever be able to stop asking myself this question.  In fact – “what do I do now?” may even be a fact of life no matter what carer path you choose.  But for now I will deal with helping you answer this question as it relates to your writing career.

First I should make it clear that there is no one path for writers to take.  And my word is not the end all & be all in the writing industry, I’m still finding my way in this crazy world of writing just like you.  But I can share with you how I have chosen to model my career thus far, and hopefully you’ll be able to draw from my experiences to carve out your own unique career path.

In a previous post I’ve written about my “first step” creating a writing community callied Mommy Writers. But today I’m going to backtrack even further than that.

Step 1:

Is a writing career right for me?

So you’re curious about a career as a freelancer writer – or perhaps a staff writer.  Maybe you don’t even know the difference, all you know is you fancy yourself good with words and you think the world around you would benefit from what you have to share in writing.  So now what?  You do your reasearch.  You want to figure out as much as possible about this career before you quit your job or invest countless months just to figure out this isn’t for you.

That was my first step.  I had been writing for as long as I can remember, and had some experience writing for my high school newspaper, but no professional experience.  I went to the library and found all the books I could on the freelance writing industry.  One of my favorite books that will help you answer this question is Get a Freelance Life:’s Insider Guide to Freelance Writing written by Margit Feury Ragland.  It is also listed on my recommended reading page.

Here is a quick summary of the factors Ragland suggests you consider before taking the plunge, in the first chapter of her book:

  • Writing can be lonely work.
  • Do you have any professional writing experience?
  • Can you afford it?
  • Do you hav a fairly flexible schedule?
  • Can you stick to a budget?
  • Are you Organized?
  • Can you separate work & life?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Can you sell yourself?
  • Can you say no, and handle being told no?
  • Are you interested in the world around you?

Try not to use the above list as an excuse to talk yourself out of your dreams.  If you’re certain writing is what you want to do with your life then use it as a tool to know what you should expect; you can expect that you will have to be able to find interest in the world around you, you can expect that there may be some lonely days, etc.  But if you’re not sure that writing is right for you then use this list as a guide.  If you’re not self-motivated then think long and hard.

Stay tuned for step 2 next week!

  1. […] on September 23, 2009 at 2:44 am Last week I began a series I call Step-by-Step, with the post One step at a time.  This week I’ll be breaking down the steps even further, into steps and phases.  Phase 1 […]

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