There are many times during your writing career where you might feel less than awesome. But as long as you keep these negative thoughts at bay and continue to work consistently through these low times, you’ll truly be on your way to becoming a badass writer. Yes, badass. Because being a badass writer isn’t all about getting in drunken bar fights or constantly fighting your demons like the romanticized versions of writers depicted by Hollywood.
You see, writing is a hard thing to do—a lot of people say they want to write a book, but how many actually do? Talk is cheap, but if you actually finish something you’re working on, you’ll feel amazing and get a great boost of confidence for actually accomplishing what you set out to do. When it comes down to it, if you can make it through these six problems, you’ll become a badass writer in no time. Or at the very least, a drunk one.
6. Painful Editing
Sometimes you have to cut out some of what you consider the best and or favorite parts of your work. No matter how much it might hurt, if something doesn’t fit the story you’re telling, it’s gotta go. It sucks, but if it just doesn’t work it doesn’t work.
Knowing what’s best for your story and what you need to remove can be a hard thing to do. To get it right, sometimes you just need to go with your gut. But it never hurts to get a second opinion either. This is why the beta reader process is so important. Your beta readers will tell you if something isn’t working and needs cut or changed. Whether you like it or not, you must be willing to make these change for the sake of bettering the overall work. Don’t get caught up on single moments. Instead, focus on the story as a whole or you might end up with an unfinished work of art.
5. Knowing When To Finish
It can feel impossible to know when to finish your story sometimes. It doesn’t matter if it’s how to finish a chapter or if that dialogue for your character is just right. But at some point you must have confidence in your work and put it out there for consumption.
A lot of writers fall into the habit of starting a manuscript only to abandon it before its completion. You must learn to persevere through tough spots and set a solid finish line. This finish line could be a preset ending of the story, specific final word count, or a self-imposed deadline. Knowing where you’re going to end up is just as important as the journey. After all, you don’t normally hop in a car with no destination in mind. The same applies to a story. You must know how and where it ends or you’re just driving around aimlessly.
4. Finding An Agent Can Be Scary
Cold querying can be one of the scariest things you do as a writer. It’s like going door-to-door to sell something they already have a ton of, but you’re trying to convince them that whatever you’re hustling is better than the others.
It takes a lot of courage to find yourself an agent. It’s not even the research and query letters that are hard; it’s facing the very real possibility that they’re not interested in you or your work isn’t up to snuff. Remember, though, any feedback you can get is good feedback. Learn everything you can from your search and work towards improvement. If you’re work is good you’ll score an agent. If it’s not, just keep getting better until it is. It’s not a fun process, but it’s a necessary one.
3. Getting Rejected But Still Carrying On
There are so many forms of rejection when it comes to your writing career. It can vary from agents, publishers, yourself, or family members that make you think you’re wasting your time in this writing game. But moving forward and accomplishing your dream of becoming a writer in spite of failure is a tremendous thing to do.
It’s damn easy to give up and never write again after being rejected. For instance, you can spend a solid year writing a book, another six months editing it, then find out everyone who reads it hates what you’ve created. It’s a real kick in the gut, but it’s something all of us writers experience. It’s very rare to nail your first major effort. Usually, you’ll write a few novels and a bunch of stories before you get a good one. The important thing is to not get discouraged, learn everything you can from criticism, and work hard to get better. Every writer gets rejected. Even the best in the business. Never take it personally.
2. Getting Paid Well To Write Is Harder Than You Think
A common misconception is when you get an advance for your book it’ll be a life changer. This myth doesn’t really hold water. Especially for an up-and-coming writer who’s trying to make a name for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like you’ll get paid in pennies and postage stamps, but you’re not going to be able to retire off of your advance either. Unless you’re a Stephen King level writer, you won’t get paid decently for your efforts. This is especially true when you first enter the game; you’ll most likely keep a day job while you pump out books.
To be blunt, the print industry is dying. Being a writer was never a steady financial career unless you work for a magazine or news organization, and it’s even worse now. You’ll be lucky to get a 10k book advance and paltry royalties for said book from a major publisher. A small press won’t pay jack-shit and self-publishing can be risky as well. You can make great money through self-publishing, but you’ll also work harder than you ever anticipated to make it happen. So, be prepared to do a lot of freelance writing if you want to keep your head above water financially as writer. Or if you’re lucky, you’ll score a full-time writing gig somewhere, but that’s becoming less likely in this day and age. Especially in the dying world of print.
1. Accepting That Making It As A Writer Isn’t What You Thought It Would Be
For most of us we grow up reading the works of our favorite writers. At some point, we realize we like telling stories and decide we want to become writers; it becomes our dream. But like so many things in life, the dream of being a writer is much different from actually being a writer.
You grow up thinking anything is possible. Why can’t you be the next Hemingway, King, Rowling, or any of the other famous and well-paid authors of the modern era? All you must do is learn to write and tell stories. And many of you can do exactly that. But that doesn’t mean you’ll make it as a writer; you’ll also need luck and the determination to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.
But if you are truly a great writer, you put out work consistently, and you build a steady and or rabid fan base, you can finally call yourself a successful writer. But this is when you’ll need to overcome the final problem of becoming a badass writer; real life as a writer.
As I stated before, writing isn’t a steady or secure field. It’s a dying art and making it in the industry is damn hard. But just as difficult as making it is holding your spot once you do. There’s an enormous pressure to produce when you live the life of a writer. Just ask George R.R. Martin. And while you might be a financial success, it’s really easy for people to forget about you unless you put out legendary work.
If you want to embrace the life of a successful writer, you’ll need to do some things to insure your success doesn’t fade:
- Invest your money wisely. The more secure you are financially, the longer you can take to finish your work.
- Produce consistently. If you take too long to finish projects, however, you’ll lose your spot as a valuable commodity.
- Become irreplaceable. If you create unique work that nobody can replicate, you won’t need to worry about some up-and-coming writer taking your spot.
- Don’t fear failure. If you’re scared to fail, you won’t take creative risk, meaning your work might go stagnant.
Well, there you have it. If you can overcome these six problems you can consider yourself a badass writer. Writing isn’t always fun, but it’s one of the most rewarding professions you can enter. Just remember, keep working, stay creative, and ignore the naysayers. You got this!
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