“What do you do for a living?”
I’m a writer.
“Oh, I always wanted to become a writer.”
Well you can if you want to. You don’t have to get an English degree to become a writer. Most important is that you have decide to write.
“Well, easy for you to say. I suck at writing.”
The Only Thing Stopping You from Writing Is Yourself
Let’s hold it there for a minute.
This guy thinks the reason he can’t be a writer is because he thinks he is bad.
But aren’t we all when we start writing?
The truth is, if you want to be a writer, the only thing stopping you is you.
You have to have the confidence to choose yourself to become a writer.
And finally give yourself permission to be a writer.
Just like a person speaks, can become a speaker.
And a person who makes videos can become a YouTuber.
Anyone who has the guts and the smarts to be a writer can become a writer.
All you have to do now is start writing.
Write Quality or Quantity?
Now, you may have been writing for a while but without much luck.
You have been brainwashed and persuaded by different writers with different schools of thought.
You see one writer post weekly and her work is consistently great each time.
You see one writer who writes daily and his work is mediocre.
The answer? Create consistently good content each week. In a world of vloggers who show themselves going to the supermarket every day, great content is becoming scarce.
Everybody is doing the “be everywhere” strategy – create anything and make sure it’s seen everywhere. But how many of these actually make a good impression?
That’s why great content and thoughtful content isn’t as common anymore, because by definition – they take a lot of time to create.
Excellence is rare – the person who shows up consistently each time with great content, instead of the one who writes daily mediocre content or the person who shows up with fantastic content once in a blue moon.
The 4 Kinds of Writers
We are all quadpolar when we become writers. We experience different personalities in different parts of the journey.
Be the last type not the first three:
Procrastinating “Perfection” Peter
Peter knows who to write. For the last 10 months, he has gone through every writing system and template imaginable.
He’s scoured and read all the recommended books by Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi.
He’s a walking encyclopedia of “how to write” tutorials.
He knows a lot… he does very little.
He wants every post to be perfect since he has all the world knowledge on writing.
He ought to be the best since he knows so much.
But each time he tries to write, he faces resistance.
“It’s too hard” he tells himself.
And even if he manages to slug it out, he thinks he’s work sucks.
It’s not “No. 1 on Google” or “10K Claps on Medium” material.
He feels disheartened and discouraged.
This snowballs to the point that he writes periodically – only when he has something worth saying, he says.
But even then, his work isn’t perfect and he writes even less as a result.
Lucy doesn’t want to do the work. She feels entitled.
She thinks 3 years to go pro is too long
Deep down she knows she has earn it, but she feels her day job is “hard enough” and that’s why she deserves a break outside office hours.
That’s why if you look at her blog archive of 2017, you only see 3 posts:
2 about her cat.
1 about her introduction to the world of blogging.
And both if them were written in January!
Studying “Shortcut” Sally
Sally wants to know everything there is about writing.
She is still reading and bookmarking every Medium article there is about writing. She particularly loves watching “Writing Tip” videos from world famous authors.
She is still in search of that “unicorn hack” that will auto-magically turn her generic posts to outstanding pieces of work.
Heck, who can blame her – she tried a few writing hacks (link) from his bloke named Ben and it worked for her.
I’m sorry, Sally. I’m sorry.
I didn’t know it would end up like this.
Dan doesn’t like bullshit. He has seen this amateur behavior before. He stopped reading writing tips articles and deleted Pocket off his phone.
He unsubscribed from all the writing guru newsletters promising him “Six Figure Blog in 12 Months.”
He realized this when he was laid off back in September with children to feed. While looking for a new job, he tried freelance writing to make extra money.
He quickly noticed that he had all the skills he needed to write for a living.
All that Medium reading was for foreplay (NSFW – Don’t Google that).
He thought he wasn’t ready, but he was – a looong time ago.
Now all he does is read to research and write to publish.
Dan is doing a good job.
Dan is doing well for himself.
Be like Dan.
The Cold Hard Truth For Some Of Us
It can sometimes be very difficult to accept if we are good at what we do or just simply passionate.
While different schools of thought do suggest that all you just need is your passion to succeed – that is just downright bad advice.
I’m not stepping on your dreams, but I am suggesting ways to that drastically increase your chances of success.
To be successful at any craft, you need 90% effort and 10% talent.
The famous chart of Ikigai explains it:
Not only do you have to do what you love, you also have to good at it.
To make a living and eventually a profession out of writing, it would have to be the kind of writing you can be paid for and something the world needs.
I found mine in copywriting for business and publishing personal development writing that doesn’t suck.
Can one muster up the talent and get good at writing? Absolutely.
But just bear in mind that the road to greatness would take a little longer and a little more effort than the next guy.
If you are cool with that, then you are all set.
Go write something.