The lure of the writing life
I'll bet you want to be a writer. Or, you want to be a successful, wealthy author. You probably have a positive goal, and I'm sure you dream about the writing life. But what did people say to you when you indicated that you wanted to be a writer?
My mother first asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was five or six. I was ignorant, not arrogant. "A writer," I said, thinking about the beautiful stories I listened to and wrote at school.
"That's sweet. But, I mean, what do you want to do for work?"
"Umm, a fireman?" I said, puzzled. What was wrong with wanting to be a writer?
What is wrong with being a writer?
The answer, nothing is wrong with your goal, but you have selected a challenging one and must ask yourself how you are going to publish. While some may criticize my mother for not being more encouraging, I understand now why she failed to detect that I was serious.
Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons.
The problem and solution both lie in the power of our dreams. Frequently, writers are dreamers rather than entrepreneurs, but success in writing usually involves sharp business skills. Our dreams can create illusions about the writing life, but grounding ourselves in the reality behind the myths empowers us.
Writing myths that hinder your path to success
Consider these myths that we often believe unconsciously. Each myth has a link to some of the remedies.
1. Writing is easy, and everyone will enjoy my work.
You might believe this subconsciously because writing always seems easy and many people have admired your skills. Reality instructs us that writing skills are relative, and we are probably neither the best nor the worst. You must be confident in your writing, but also in your ability to improve. All the best writers practice and become better over time.
2. Writers make so much money.
You notice the ones who make a lot of money because they are famous. The trap lies in believing that they arrived at their position with out pain, work, or cost. Believing that writing is easy for you may lead to the idea that wealthy writers have acquired their position with ease. In most cases, success comes with hard work and persistence.
3. So much money is left to be made.
If you look on the book shelves or the internet and assume that all these writers make important money, you are wrong. I would guess that a majority of writers struggle to pay the bills, and many write for free. The idea is that writing for free promotes your name and leads, overtime, to success. This is right thinking, but in the marketplace, the quantity of writers definitely exceeds the amount of money available. Knowing this will motivate you to be generous with your writing and to learn endurance.
4. Google and advertisers will make money easy.
Google and other advertisers usually exploit writers. We provide free advertising and promotion for them 99% of the time because we are only paid if people click or purchase. The rest of the time, you advertise for free.
5. Few people enjoy writing.
Perhaps you know that writing is difficult and assume that most people will not want to do it. You would be wrong Do a quick search for blogs, novels, writing, articles, etc. You'll find that thousands write, and much competition is out battles for positions.
6. No one is writing about my brilliant topic idea.
Again, search your topic, and you will probably find that many are writing about it. Finding a niche topic, or one that is popular, but few people write about, requires work, effort, and searching.
7. Writing will fulfill all my needs.
You may find that while you enjoy writing, the work involved is not worth it for you because writing only fills a few of your many needs. Many of the best writers maintain another job and write on the side. This is a great approach, as you work to make success develop.
8. Others will facilitate my needs and dreams.
You must work to locate and nurture your audience, and there are always those who will reject it. You can fight this by focusing on your support circles, learning from your critics, and disregarding those who are ignorant.
9. A good writer requires no business skills.
Actually, entrepreneurial skills will lead a writer to success faster than great writing. If you are like me, this means that you have to acquire new skills to make yourself standout and direct you toward success.
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it.
I hope you find these ideas helpful in countering the myths that might hold you back as a writer. And, remember that the best writers earn their success by enduring longer and working harder than the weak. You can do it if you have the right frame of mind.
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What are some other myths that motivate writers? We would love to hear your thoughts and comments.