As a writer, the following thoughts constantly cross my mind. Do they cross yours? Not to toot our own horns, but writers have a pretty tough and powerful job. We make history, you know. We create worlds. We change lives with a few words. And we have our nagging doubts.
As a writer…you worry about getting a writing job.
The great thing about writing is that even if you’re not doing it for a living at the moment, you can still do it. Just keep writing, and use the non-writing job as an opportunity to gain experience and inspiration for your writing. And hey, if it’s an easy job with a minimal schedule, more time to write!
As a writer…you worry about getting the right job.
Just as I don’t believe that there is someone who is “the one,” (don’t beat me up about that now) I don’t believe there is a job that is “the one.” If an opportunity arrises, take it. Every position, however long you have it, provides some kind of substance that you take with you, even if it is an unpleasant job. Rather than try to determine if a job is the right job, look at it as simply a valuable experience that you can develop from.
As a writer…you keep thinking “I can do better.”
This kind of thinking is a weakness which is also a strength, and vise versa. It’s good to believe that you can do better; it will motivate you. But it’s important to keep this thinking and its effect in check, else it will quickly do the opposite. If you begin to notice that this thinking is causing you to doubt and give up, stop it in its tracks right there. Find better, healthier motivations.
As a writer…you can’t pinpoint your craft.
You’ve heard the question. When you tell people you’re a writer, they ask, “Oh, what do you write?” And you don’t know what to answer. Right now you dabble in different genres and formats. That’s great! You’re a writer; you’re not required to pick a genre. But I completely understand that you want to know what your style is. Well, just keep writing, and pay attention to yourself. What kind of story do your thoughts habitually drift to? And perhaps the biggest hint of your style is what you read. If your reading taste is mystery or fantasy or young adult or nonfiction, more than likely that’s your writing taste.
As a writer…you sometimes obsess about numbers.
I’m guilty of this, counting the number of people following my blog, or the amount of minutes I write each day, or the number of words in my novel. But I’m a writer. I work with words, not numbers. Numbers should not be our business, at least not obsessively. And, whatever you do, be careful of counting that one certain number that can really mess with you…money :-).
As a writer…you wonder what you accomplish with writing.
Any artist questions why they do what they do from time to time. An artistic career doesn’t often have tangible, spreadsheet results that one can share. The result of an artistic career is the creation of art, and art is something that the world cannot do without. Maybe to survive, but not to live. Whenever I question if my writing is accomplishing anything, I remind myself that what I am accomplishing is making art, which people need to live. And writing is a very powerful outlet. You can change thoughts, opinions, or decisions with what you write. Just think of that.
As a writer…you question your editing ability.
If you think your editing skills can improve, then there’s no harm in improving them! Read books, research web articles, take a class, interview an editor, whatever! A writer can always improve their skills, especially with editing. What also helps me is reading with a critic’s mind. Reread one of your favorite novels with the mind of an editor, seeing what makes it good and what could make it better. For now, if you want some good editing done on your writing, ask someone else to critique it for you. That’s what professional editors are for!
As a writer…you think you don’t read enough.
You cannot be a writer without being a reader. But luckily those of us who want to write have a natural draw and love of reading. Things like our life schedules can make it difficult to make time to read, or, if we are little more honest, the intrusion of cell phones and Netflix turns us into lazy butts. Just like what I learned with everything else in my life that I want to be doing, you have to make it a priority. Treat it as much of a demanding aspect as going to work. After all, it has its rewards. If you want to read more, then you have to discipline yourself to read more. Be patient with yourself. The point of discipline is trial and error. Let the desire to be a better writer motivate you.