It has been said that if you can find what you love doing and then determine a way to make a living doing it then you will never have to work a day in your life. So, why do you write?
I woke up determined to take on the day. It was pitch dark in the house because we live in the woods and there are no street lights around us. All of the house lights were off. Dawn was still a distant idea.
But I was awake and determined. I marched into the dark headed towards my office to “get things done.” One thought rang through my mind, “Do not go softly into that dark night . . . rage.”
I had gotten up prepared to rage – not only against the dark, but against anything that dared to stop me from pursuing my dream of being a full-time writer.
I ran smack into a closed door. Nobody ever closed that door – EVER! That morning . . . or night . . . or dark, the door was closed.
The dark had blinded me from the unexpected barrier and because I was confident in my surroundings I barreled fact first into that barrier. The force I hit that door with should have been enough to dent it or crack it. The noise I caused should have been enough to wake the house (even my sleeping stones – because nothing . . . including a tornado years down the road . . . wakes my family). I should have suffered some damage myself.
The only damage was to my pride, and even that was just a small ding. I had moved forward into a dark space without any knowledge of what was ahead.
I looked at the door for a moment – like I was going to be able to see something in the dark that I had not seen before. It occurred to me what I was doing which made me smile. I opened the door and went on about my morning . . . a little more cautious for the encounter.
| Learning from a Door Encounter |
I had no way of knowing that might be ahead of me. It was dark. I knew what had been ahead of me in the past, but there was no perfect way of knowing in that moment. I couldn’t see.
I couldn’t see because I had no light. I was moving forward with instinct and with the guidance of my past experience. I had no judgment for what was right in front of me because I had not been there yet. I got quite a jolt for moving forward without being able to see.
Flying blind is never a good place to be. If I want to get to where I need to be – even if that place is the next room – then it’s a good idea to shine some light on the journey. Even a little light will go a long ways towards shoring up my steps.
| Shining Some Light on the Writing Journey |
What does a dark space, a hard wall, and my stubborn determination have to do with your writing journey? It reminded me that when we shine some light, then we can see what needs to be seen.
Answer These Questions
- Do you love to write? My husband is a good writer. He can write when he has too. My youngest son is a creative writer. He can write when he wants to. I LOVE words – and there is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t write something, outline an idea for something to write, or talk about what I am writing.
When you love words, and you love the art of words, the craft of words, and even the feel of words, then you probably love to write.
- Do you have a talent for writing? More importantly, do YOU BELIEVE you have a talent for writing? An editor friend of mine complained recently that writers were requesting an edit and a critique at the same time (and they are two completely different processes that happen at different times of the crafting journey). I told her that some people want confirmation of their skills. “That’s an expensive way to get confirmation,” she replied. The truth is that no matter what others say, if you don’t believe you have a talent for writing then you won’t have a talent for writing.
- Do you write fast? You don’t HAVE to write fast to build up a full-time income as a writer and that is all you have to do. If you are also managing your home, balancing the homeschool, and anything other than writing then it benefits you to be able to write fast. This is where ART has to be the focus. Write without editing. Yes, you read that right! Write without editing all the way through – and then go back and do the editing. If you will practice writing without editing then you will develop the ability to write fast.
- Do you have connections? When you think about writing for a living, you often think first of publications – like magazines or newspapers. In this world of internet everything, almost every field or industry is making use of writers in one form or another. Do you know someone who owns a company or manages a company or you may know someone that knows someone? Make a list of your connections and then begin to talk with them about your interest in writing.
- Are you willing to learn? No matter where you are in the writing journey, there is more to learn. You can learn from sharing with others (as a leader or teacher). You can learn from attending writing events and conferences. You can learn from other industries. Building a full-time career as a writer requires not only a willingness to learn, but a hunger as well.
- How much are you willing to invest? It is work. Whether you want to write one book, become a best-selling author, or build up a freelance career. Writing for a living is a business and will require substantial investment to make it happen.
Before you step into that dark night and ram into your own closed door, shine a little light on your path. Working through these questions will help you determine if you have what you need to build a successful writing career.
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