A quick look at the many opportunities for writers today
I talk to a lot of writers. And a lot of them tell me how hard it is to get traction today. Sometimes agents are rejecting their queries. Or maybe book sales are not where the writers want them to be.
I totally get it. And I’m not ignoring those challenges. But here’s the thing: we often tend to focus on the negatives. It’s a concept called “critic’s math.” If you get 50 good reviews and two bad reviews, what do you focus on?
It’s human nature to focus on the bad. But before you know it, all you do is focus on the bad. And that’s so common today online. Just take a look at Facebook.
I say it’s time to take those lemons and make some lemonade.
There are so many amazing things at your fingertips right now. Today is actually the best time ever to be a writer. Join me and together we’ll dive into the positives — and maybe even give you some ideas too.
Reaching An Audience Has Never Been Easier
You can write for free and share your work with people all over the world. That keyboard you’re typing on has the power to connect you with billions of people.
And that’s pretty awesome. I know it’s easy to overlook.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re ignoring that it’s too crowded. It’s hard to reach an audience today.
Here’s what I have to tell you about that. If you haven’t connected with your peeps yet, that’s okay. Know it takes time. Focus on connecting with one person. When you try to connect with more than one person, it’s really easy to lose focus.
We all want to be liked, right? But the truth is that can make you play it safe. And safe writing is almost always boring writing. For example, we all have a favorite flavor of ice cream, like Rocky Road or Reese’s Cup Explosion. Very rarely does anyone want vanilla ice cream.
If all you have is vanilla ice cream, it’s going to be really hard to connect with the folks who love Thin Mint Cookie ice cream. The internet is made up of many, many different flavors. You need to figure out what flavor you want your writing to be.
Many Gatekeepers Have Disappeared
In the past, there were more gatekeepers than there are today. Agents, editors, and publishers were the ones who held the keys and could easily stop you from writing. J.D Salinger was rejected by The New Yorker over and over. When Catcher In The Rye was to be released, J.D. submitted part of it to be in The New Yorker. The editors said the book’s characters were “unbelievable” and declined to run any of it. (source) And he is only one of the greatest writers ever.
Just a few decades ago, the internet was nothing like it is today. The choices for writers included magazines, newspapers, or books. That’s it. Each option had people that would often stop you from publishing your writing.
You can write on Medium for FREE now and have your content rank right there with former Presidents and bestselling authors. You can even create your own website for free or for the price of a cup of coffee. This seismic shift is unprecedented.
Being a writer was once a possibility for the few chosen people who the gatekeepers let inside. Now, ANYONE can do it.
New Possibilities For Your Writing
There are many more options out there than just having your own website or self-publishing a book on Amazon. Now is a great time to use your writing to create content in other forms.
You can even read your writing on YouTube or on an Instagram story and create videos. If you have a book, you can spread the word about your book to people all over the world through video. You would have had to pay thousands of dollars for in the past.
A little camera shy? I get it! You can create an audiobook with your phone. I kid you not. I’m not saying this won’t take time. Not ready for that? You can even do a solo podcast with your phone. That approach is a great way to help you get more comfortable recording audio.
You Can Work With Anyone You Want
What do I mean? You can easily work with people on the other side of the world. I’ve met some fantastic writers over the years. For example, Kristin Talgo writes fantastic supernatural thrillers. But get this: English is not even her first language! Working with Kristin has become one of the highlights of my writing career.
A month ago, I was working with Adam in China as he needed some help with a speech. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of working with Mike Vardy, the founder of Productivityist, for several years despite living thousands of miles apart.
You too can connect with writers all over the world. Google Docs, email, Slack, and video chat have made things easier than ever.
Writing is now often a group effort that requires collaboration. Even writing a book actually requires a team. You need an editor, someone to help with formatting, and a designer for the cover. But get this: you now have control. You can create your own “dream team” with people you know, like, and trust. Pretty awesome, right?
You Can Change Direction Very Quickly
Let’s say you’ve been copywriting for a while. You decide you want to start writing novels. You can absolutely do that. I’m not saying you stop doing one altogether and move on to the other, but you can definitely get started. And make the transition. Realize you want to start helping authors with their book launches? No problem. Ghostwriting for financial institutions? Sure, you can do that. Realize you want to start another business altogether? You can do that too. Writing is an amazing skill that will allow you to pivot like nothing else.
You will still have to practice and do your homework, but you can do those things incredibly fast now. You can even hire a coach to get you jump-started and save you tons of time.
I’ve seen writers make huge strides in just a matter of months. Learning from someone else allows you to borrow their diploma as well as tap into her first-hand experience.
You’re In Serious Demand (Even If You Don’t Know It)
You can make really good money with your writing or you can settle for pennies on the dollar. It’s up to you. A lot of writers settle. Some don’t.
My best advice? Focus on yourself. Keep growing and learning. Never settle.
I can tell you first-hand to never pass up on a great opportunity. A few years ago, I took an intern position with a bestselling author I admire. The pay was low, but the opportunity to learn was great. I actually learned how to edit videos during this gig. Talk about a valuable skill! This same author spoke at an event, and I connected with the host of the event. Long story short, I actually did a workshop at this SAME event too. Pretty incredible, right?
Let’s chat for a moment about the other side of things. I’m not going to ignore reality. Will you always have great experiences as a writer? Of course not. You’ll get bad clients. You’ll get negative reviews. You’ll be ignored.
But know this: if you are creating high-quality content and telling good stories, you are always in serious demand.
Storytellers are the ones who have the power to change lives. Art is not a luxury. Communication is not a luxury. These things are vital. We need them now more than ever.
Learning as much as possible from every situation will always help you move forward. Keep in mind that conflict is inevitable. It’s a requirement of all great stories.
The more you practice something, the better you’ll get at it. Don’t let the fact that writing is hard fool you into thinking that it’s harder than ever to be a writer. That’s simply not true. You have all of the tools. There are countless opportunities right in front of you. Now is the time to make the most of it.