Let’s talk reincarnation for a moment. Were you Elizabeth l in a past life or were you a flea on her dog?
What the hell does this have to do with you wanting to write for a living and us lighting the way for you?
Good question, and curiosity may have killed the cat (or Elizabeth l’s dog), but it’s also what every good writer needs truckloads of. Likewise an imaginative ‘hook’ into the article, first line of the book, etc. that paints a picture with words and capture’s the reader’s interest.
Writing also requires a healthy dollop of self-belief.
There are oodles of courses out there if you want to learn how to write creatively, or the strictures of journalism and producing online content. You can research them yourself though, because ain’t nobody gonna spoon-feed you in the real world.
Plus research is every good writer’s undercoat beneath the brushstrokes of their masterpiece. That sentence was a bit on the flowery side wasn’t it.
Anyway, moving on.
Feed that hungry empty page
Editors are always looking to fill editorial space and it’s amazing how few wannabe writers actually have the gumption, nerve or whatever to get their fingers out and approach them.
Starting your own blog. Tick. Haranguing feature editors with what you’ve written. Tick. Being doggedly persistent. Being a charming pest. Tick. Tick.
You can’t beat some experience at the coal face, working to tight deadlines and learning not to be precious about your work, (irrespective of which writing discipline you’re aiming for) so start writing, writing, writing and ping as many pieces off until your fingerprints have worn away.
Practice makes you practically perfect in every way
Everybody reckons they’ve got a book in them but can they write it? Ghostwriting is something else you may want to consider because writing is a skill that even some of life’s natural orators don’t possess.
Writers must also be good listeners if they’re in the business of interviewing people and getting them to trust them enough to open up. It’s also often one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration, so there’ll be lots more deleting than usable words going down on the page.
This is as natural as the weather. Writer’s block happens. Get over it. Have your meltdown, smoke a fat cigar and then get back on the horse. Licking dead flies off of a number plate is often entirely preferable to reading what one assumed was a brilliant few paragraphs written the day before.
A worrying mind is often the comfiest bedfellow to the type of active imagination that fuels the urge to write, and other people love to read personal things that you’d perhaps rather keep private.
But what you feel is bearing your soul to an excruciating degree is perceived as you having a heaven inside to those readers that it chimes with.
Don’t go easy, Tiger
Writing for a living can be tough and as solitary as a tiger’s existence, especially if you’re freelancing, which you may have to be prepared to do in a world where increasingly fewer staff writers are employed full time.
And if you work from home you’ll have the cleanest place for miles because even wiping skirting boards seems preferable to getting those words on the page on off days.
Now stop reading and start writing!