What Writing “Full Time” Looks Like.
Romanticized images of writing flash before your eyes?
I’m here to let you in on the truth and one of those truths is that your desk will most likely look a lot messier than the one in the photo above… Since I’ve decided to write full time I have realized that there is a lot more to do than just write. In order to become a successful writer there are so many things that you have to keep in mind and they aren’t all enjoyable per say but all are worth it to be able to write and make a career out of your passion!
- You actually have to write. I know this sounds obvious or even silly but seriously. You cannot just write a few poems or one blog post a week and be done. You need to spend a few hours writing everyday to be able to create content to share as well as for any other projects you might have going on such as a poetry book or NaNoWriMo, for example.
- You need to have a social media presence. Whether you’re a novelist or a poet… You need a platform to share your work! You need to bring awareness to yourself and your work and the easiest way to do that is to have a website, an Instagram, a twitter, a tumblr, a Facebook page, a Pinterest, etc! Having some kind of blog or space where you can share about yourself, your work, your projects, etc, is probably the most important aside from actually writing.
- You need to be actively submitting your work to magazines, journals, presses, anthologies, etc. You can use Submittable to submit to tons of different places sometimes for free or for a small fee. Take advantage of this! It lets you search for the kind of projects that fit your needs which is super convenient and easy to use. Instagram can also introduce you to large communities of writers and publishing houses where you can get involved in a lot of cool projects, including anthologies. For example, Yellow Penguin NYC has an anthology as well as Untwine Me Philippines. These anthologies are already finished but checking them out could give you an example of how they are done! You can find them on amazon. These are amazing opportunities to collaborate with other writers and also make some friends!
- Promote yourself well. Do not be unprofessional or rude. I know this also sounds obvious but there are a lot of people who will go inside the comments of another writers heartfelt post and beg for a follow. The communities do not respect these kind of things so be sure to always be respectful and authentic in your engagement. Read the pieces, offer real thoughts, and make friends!
- Do your best to remain authentic! Remaining true to yourself and why you are writing and sharing your work is a big key! Whether that be because you feel you have an important message, because you love to write, because you want to make a career out of writing, or all three! People relate to people who are real and free of fake identities. So do your best to be yourself!
- Create a brand. I know this sounds opposite to “be authentic” but it’s not! It just means that you will have a clear vision for your pages. This also goes hand in hand with promoting. Who are you? What is your mission? What do you believe in? Why do you write? Etc! These are important as a writer because people are not just looking at your work. They are looking at you as a person as well. You as a writer are a public figure!
- Get creative! You’re going to have to get super creative when it comes to how you present your work and yourself. There are a lot of popular aesthetics but what sets you apart from the rest? Look for a problem that people have and try to solve it with your writing; your brand.
- Be prepared to write boring things or to hire someone to do it for you. Things like press releases, etc. These are important and honestly the most boring part of being a writer who does everything themselves. Although this is not a fun thing, remember that if you love writing and want to be able to spend your time doing it, the hard work is more than worth it!
- Network. Put yourself out there! Connect with your readers and other writers. This is one of the best things you can do when you are feeling isolated or lonely doing your writing journey. Writing doesn’t need to be isolating and becoming friends with other writers can also help you grow as a writer. Some ways to network could include going out to slam poetry nights, readings for newly published writers, etc! These are great ways to just meet new people and get yourself out there as a writer!
- Find balance. If you’re anything like me, this can be hard. There is no boss telling you to go home. There is no one to tell you when to take a break and you will always find something you could be doing… Writing a new book, editing one, or adding work to your social media accounts but taking time to breathe is so important. You’re not your best you without breaks and your work will not be it’s best either.
This is what writing “full time” looks like particularly and especially if you’re an indie author/writer. You can get rid of some of these things if you have enough money to hire a social media team and SEO person but if you’re just starting out and low on cash, it’s all you. It is a lot more than just writing but it is still living the dream if you ask me. It’s not always easy but if you’re passionate and love writing; it’s so worth it. I hope that you enjoyed this blogs and feel free to drop any questions below in the comments! I’d be happy to help you, if I can!