How to Become a Writer
"How do you become a writer?"
This is a question frequently asked by clients. I write two blogs each week and have also written a book so there is a presumption among these clients that I have an answer to that question.
And I do. The answer is: just write.
I don't consider myself a writer. I began writing a blog almost 10 years ago in the hopes that doing so would help me overcome a lifelong, near-paralyzing fear of writing.
The thought of writing evoked such strong panic for me that on several occasions just the thought of writing a business proposal was enough to convince me that the potential client was not worthy of my time and therefore, undeserving of a proposal. I am neither proud of nor certain of the number of potential clients I let walk out the door.
Clients inquiring about writing generally do so because they wish to use blogging as a platform to make themselves known in their marketplace and to grow their businesses.
As mentioned above, I've never considered myself a writer and certainly do not think of myself as a good one. What I have been able to acquire through writing is the valuable skill of knowing I can't please everyone, perhaps can't please anyone, and no longer concern myself with how others view my efforts.
The very most valuable lesson writing has taught me is to be far less self-critical and to understand that if I wait until each blog is perfect before posting, I would still be working on the very first blog I wrote in 2009.
Make a Plan
My advice to would-be writers and bloggers is always the same; prior to posting my first blog, I sat a goal for myself to write 500 words each day for 90 days.
Each day I scoured newspapers for interesting headlines and then, without reading the accompanying article, I would use that headline as my topic and write 500 words.
I quickly learned that both the Calgary Sun and the Calgary Herald lack any form of creativity in headline design. The National Enquirer, on the other hand, provided headlines that made the writing of five hundred words each day a fun task to look forward to.
I diligently wrote my daily 500 words, briefly scanned what I had read and then hit the delete button, thereby forever robbing the world of the opportunity to read poorly written nonsense.
After 90 days, I felt ready to write my first blog and I haven’t stopped since. This posting is my 747th blog and I think I still have a few more left in me.
Writing is for Everyone
Writing is a wonderful means of self-expression and provides the writer the opportunity to develop their creativity while at the same time sharing their thoughts, opinions and perspectives with their readers.
A few of my clients have followed my advice and, to their surprise, the results have always been positive.
For some, writing has led to unexpected business opportunities, for others it has brought new friends and good relationships into their lives.
I don’t think Hemingway has much to fear from me and Shakespeare can rest easy knowing I am not seeking his lofty position among the literary greats.
I am close to having a second book ready for publication. It has been in the works for some time now and it is my intention to have a completed by this fall.
I have no idea whether anyone will want to read it, but I do remember having similar feelings at the time of publishing my first book, only to be pleasantly surprised by the number of books I sold.
My point in writing this blog is to hopefully convince those who struggle with the notion of writing to simply “do it.”
To those I offer this sage advice, pick up a copy of the National Enquirer and go to work.
Who knows, they may hire you as a full-time correspondent.
Till we read again.