When you first take the plunge and decide to write as a career—or at least a side hustle—you start by asking yourself several questions. What is a semicolon, anyway? How much money can I expect to make? How much should I be writing?
I started taking writing seriously as my career three years ago. That meant writing every day. See, when I was starting out, one of my mentors lent me a copy of On Writing by Stephen King, a prolific writer and renowned proponent of writing every day. I took this book as my bible and ran with it. For a long time, that meant my method was to write 2,000 words a day, every day, including weekends and holidays. One year, I even wrote on Christmas—Mom wasn’t a fan.
I was able to keep up that routine long enough to finish a novel, but after that, I faltered. My daily word count went up and down, and sometimes I spent months without writing anything.
Is this starting to sound familiar? Have you gone from prolific one day to completely exhausted and beaten down the next? Maybe you’re still finishing a piece that you started, but it doesn’t feel quite good enough.Continue reading
In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell states that being a world-class expert requires 10,000 hours of practice. David Eddings, who wrote more than 20 fantasy novels, believes that a writer’s first million words are just practice.
There’s a reason so many authors write every day; they need the practice.
When I first set out to become a best-selling novelist (still chipping away at it), I chose to emulate Stephen King and write 2,000 words a day. That work ethic led to three attempts at a novel and hundreds of thousands of words written. I’m not sure if I’ve reached the 1 million word mark yet, but I’m getting close.
I used to think that getting a day job as a writer would eat away at my creativity and motivation. After all, how could I write my own projects when I’d just spent eight hours working on someone else’s? So I labored in unskilled day jobs, from working inventory in a retail store to testing video games.
Then recently, a friend mentioned that his company was looking for a marketing copywriter. The decision didn’t take long; I’d just left my previous job after a bad management experience. And the pay was good.
Now that I’ve been working at this job for almost six months, I realized something. My writing’s actually gotten better. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s not. Here’s why.Continue reading
I write in a bubble. I’m so obsessed with reaching my daily word count, improving my craft, and looking for opportunities to sell my work that I rarely reach out to other writers. Sure, I’ll scroll through Twitter like most other writers, but I don’t build lasting relationships with them. I just don’t have the time. I’ve got enough work on my plate.
At least, that’s what I used to tell myself, until I started paying more attention to what other writers were doing.Continue reading
The notebook is such a classic part of the writer persona that nearly every single stock image with the keyword “writer” has a notebook in it.
And why not? They’re useful. Daydreaming is a crucial part of the writing process, and you’ve got to put those down somewhere or they’ll get away from you.