So, you want to be a writer. (Or you're already a writer, but here for a little moral support.) Hurray! That’s awesome!
I personally think you’re making a great decision to start (or keep) writing in order to pursue your dreams. This may be biased, based on my background and all… But from my experience, writers HAVE to write. They can’t not write. So good on you for doing it.
I can imagine there’s a little bit of hesitation on your end when it comes to putting yourself out there. And I completely get it. Pitching your work and writing something for the world to see can be a scary endeavor that leaves you feeling kind of vulnerable.
Trust me, I’ve been there many times.
But I can help quell your fears by dispelling some common myths about being a published writer so that you can overcome your fear of rejection and get yourself out there.
Myth #1: “I need to have a portfolio of published pieces before I can get my foot in the door with an editor.”
Being a published writer helps, for sure. But you absolutely don’t need to be an established or published writer before editors will look at your pitches. You can be brand, spanking new to the world of writing and it won’t matter.
As long as your writing is SOLID.
When I started pitching, I had NO social media footprint AT ALL. No public Facebook page, no Instagram account. I didn’t even have a website. Zero followers. No proof to show I was a ‘real’ writer. And I hadn’t been published anywhere yet.
I was starting from nothing and had nothing to show the editor I was pitching.
But the interesting thing was, it didn’t matter. I had a well-written article and I had a pitch email that worked. It wasn’t until I had the nerve to just write my first piece and pitch it around that I was accepted and my portfolio began to grow. Before I knew it, I was published on a big-time, well-known site in my field and suddenly, I felt like I was a ‘for real’ writer.
So basically, try not to worry about how established you are. The published articles will happen. You just need strong writing and a proper pitch email to make it happen.
Myth #2: “I need to have completely original ideas.”
I know sometimes we writers tend to think things like:
“That’s already been written, I can’t write it, too” or “I don’t know how to come up with new ideas that people want to read”.
The truth is, if we all had to come up with totally original, unique ideas to be great writers… nobody would be writers.
The best fiction authors in the world borrow from real life to get their ideas. Or they think of a classic fairytale and tell it their way. Or they borrow from a story they heard on the news. Or they retell something that happened in their lives with a bit of a creative spin on it.
When it comes to blogging, everyone has written about being a tired parent, or dealing with anxiety or healthy eating tips. And so on and so on. The point is, you can tell it your way just by making it uniquely you.
ALWAYS let your personality come through. People are looking for personality. They want to connect. The more real you make it, and the more YOU it is, the better.
And while you’re sharing your experience or letting your unique personality come through, try to remember to always connect your writing back to that universal idea. (Being a tired parent or overcoming anxiety or healthy eating tips, for example).
You want to have people nodding their heads and yelling out “ME TOO!” to their screens, or crying or laughing or feeling really intrigued while reading your work.
Myth #3: “I have no time to write.”
I know, I know. I’ve said it so many times too.
It IS really hard to find time to write. I’m not denying that. But the truth is, there are ways to make it happen. And if you don't write it, it'll never be published.
Does writing a lot at once seem too time consuming? Try writing just a paragraph a day. Or a certain amount of words per day. If you break it down into smaller tasks, you’re less likely to put it off and more likely to carve out the time to do it.
Does your day start at 6am? If you do your best writing in the morning, get up at 5am, when you’re likely to have a completely quiet house to yourself to write. There’s one whole hour of uninterrupted time.
I commute to work on a train and for a few months, I had been spending my time on the commute scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. One day I remembered that JK Rowling wrote her first book on her commute to her full time job and I thought to myself “What am I doing??” It was time I could spend writing. So now I do.
Try taking an hour each night to write if you’re more of a night owl--and put it in your calendar. Schedule writing time from 8-9pm, for example, and put it in your phone or wherever you keep track of your appointments and meetings. Set a reminder.
Keep a notebook with you at all times for ideas. Jot them down throughout the day, whenever something pops into your head. That’s still a part of writing, because you’re generating ideas. Plus, when you have a notebook full of material to write, it’s like a security blanket. The actual writing part is so much easier.
Everyone leads a busy life. It’s no wonder it can be hard to dedicate time to writing. But the truth is, if you really, really want to be a writer, you have to find time to write.
If you really wanted to be healthier, you’d find time to work out or do meal prep.
Same goes for writing.
Find one spot in your day where you can carve out a teensy bit of time to yourself and use it for writing.
So are you feeling ready to get writing and get published? I promise it'll be easier than you think once you just get started.
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