Leaping into uncharted waters of a writer’s career comes with a lot of unknowns. How does a new writer get started? Are there any pitfalls to avoid? Hindsight is always 20/20 right?
Today we will go over advice writers need to hopefully make fewer mistakes while building up their name as a writer and their career in content services.
To get the best out of this article summarize the points and place them on your wall at your working station. Look at them every time you get in the zone and they keep you on the right track.
Here is a list of ‘don’ts.’
Don’t # 1. Be a ‘Know It All’
While being confident is required, being arrogant or believing that you are better than everyone else is not.
This is not a mistake because you might accidentally hurt someone’s feelings. It is a mistake because it will hold you back from learning and considering other points of view.
As a writer, the one thing we need to constantly work on is to keep an open mind. It is best if you understand that you are in constant competition with thousands of other writers, some are smarter than you and some are not. Therefore a good assumption is to place yourself somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and strive to become better than yesterday.
If you insist on thinking that you are better it will prevent you from taking criticism. Although being criticized is not fun, it is necessary to consider it because it allows us to understand how others perceive our content.
Besides, thinking that we are already the ‘best version’ of what we are capable of hinders us from improving and learning from others.
What will ultimately set you apart from other writers is your work ethic. Developing the muscle of ‘responsibility’ is imperative. Especially since a lot of writers work on a freelance or remotely.
Don’t #2. Avoid Emotions
You need to be a drama queen / king! You need big explosions of emotion (in your writing, not in your negotiations). Remember that people will not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Certain books have a ‘feeling’ that lingers on for years. They become part of you and your dogma.
How did those writers create their masterpieces?
If you do some ‘research’ you will find heavy emotion.
A lot of writers, especially at the start of their careers, avoid emotions. It is natural not to want to expose ourselves.
Go back and remember the reasons why you decided to become a writer in the first place.
Isn’t it because you want to help people?
Tell incredible stories?
Give yourself the strength to ‘voice’ the truth as you see it?
You need emotions to create page-turners.
Don’t # 3. Strive for Perfection
Don’t. Let’s clarify here that we aren’t referring perfection in the quality of your content, but rather your need to ‘win the content lottery’ and land the biggest clients right away.
It is ok if your story does not get published sometimes. Find out why and improve.
It is ok if your book receives 100 rejection letters from publishing houses.
Keep at it and start small.
Build your experience, and your portfolio and every time you get a new project aim a little higher. It is a step-by-step process.
Adjust your expectations before you start on this exciting journey and you will not be disappointed.
Many writers start their careers on the side. This means you might have to keep another full-time job for a while, or for a long time.
Image source: contentwonk.com/freelance-writers-survey/
According to Venngage, the average writer makes under $0.25 per word. This means there is a good chance you will begin in the area of $0.10 or under and move higher as you build your portfolio.
Don’t # 4. Write With A Writers’ Audience in Mind
We think as writers and instinctively we develop content thinking that other writers will read it.
Although writers are also readers, the majority of your audience are not writers. Unless you are writing for a writer’s blog of course.
Before developing your content, whether it is a book, a blog post, or a press release, take a moment and consider who is going to be consuming this content.
Where is your work going to be published?
What do those readers want to learn more about?
If you are developing a piece about financial services you need to write is so it makes sense to financial professionals first. If you keep it general, not only you will be removing any value from the piece, but you will also lose credibility as an expert on the topic.
Don’t # 5. Become a Loner
Writing can be a lonely journey.
It is the type of work that requires silence, time alone and a lot of focus. For these reasons many of us become secluded and this can have negative emotional effects.
Do your best to create a schedule that requires you to be around people, even other people that you can brainstorm and write together.
Having other writers as friends can offer you support, proofreading help, and the push you need to escape the ever-so-scary writer’s block.
They might even alert you to various opportunities to advance your career or pick up new projects.
Remember your network is your net worth.
It is always a good idea to pick a mentor, and also offer yourself as a mentor.
To sum it all up, keep learning, find other like-minded people and hang on to them, mentor someone, adjust your expectations, and tap into your emotions.
Are you ready to create your writer’s plan?
Write it out.
What are your writing goals for the next 3 months?
Where do you want to be as a writer 5 years from now?
Break the big plan in smaller tasks, and that is how you guarantee success.