There are all types of different writers. A journalist might be useless at creative writing; just as much as a commercial copywriter can find that their skills don’t apply in the field of intellectual reference books. If you are considering writing as a profession the first step you should take is to assess your talents realistically.
Developments in the publishing world
Before the growth of the internet, self-published books were known as ‘vanity publishing,’ and most reputable publishing houses sneered at this market. The spiraling popularity of online publishing means that anyone who wishes can see their work online. Of course you also want to ensure that your work is read. You can either spread the word through social media and a blog, or you can hire a firm that offers professional book publicity services and bring your work to the attention of leading reviewers.
Starting out as a writer
If you want to become a novelist, you don’t have to take a creative writing course, but these programs do help, especially if you want to extend your network of contacts. Some of these courses are expensive and that’s another problem when you are just starting your writing career. The New York Times and other major newspapers run a variety of competitions for aspiring scribblers and they also have many interesting articles on writing and writers. If you enter a competition and are short listed, you can add this to your CV, which may help you get published, or it might encourage more people to read your blog.
Finance and writing
At the beginning of your career you may find that money and writing are not compatible, and you may have to take on a salary-paying job just to be able to pay the rent and eat. This means that you will have to become organized. Most creative writers aim to write at least 1,000 words a day. You’ll also have to be prepared to edit, cross out and start again.
Reality can be tough
The blog The Adventurous Writer gives some useful hints about how to write and cope with everyday life. Even if you do see your book in print or your eBook has garnered some rave reviews, don’t expect the riches to come rolling in immediately. Publishers are notoriously mean with novice writers and you might have to see if you can find an agent who’ll fight your money battles on your behalf.
Talk to other writers
The days of slaving in your garret with quill and paper are gone. If you want the world to know about you and your talents then you’ll have to talk to others. If you’re looking for a job as a journalist or commercial writer, then pick up the phone. Editors delete hundreds of emails from aspiring journalists on a daily basis. A phone call proves that you’re resourceful and can communicate, which is always a good thing in this field.
Be prepared for rejection
For either creative or non-fiction writing there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your name in print, so never give up. Remember, the Harry Potter author, JK Rowling, was rejected 12 times before a publisher accepted her manuscript.