5 Things Every Writer Needs To Hear

Matthew Donnellon

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Writing isn’t for everyone.

In fact it’s not for a lot of people.

In all honesty, it’s not for most writers. A lot of people will begin their writing career only to find out that it really was better suited as a hobby. Which is totally fine, not everyone needs to write full time to be a writer.

But if one wishes to become a writer there are some things to consider. And there are some things you should hear.

1. It’s Not Always Fun

Often, if you want to break into the writing game it’s hard to do it while writing the stuff you want to write.

If you want to start making money as a writer it can be hard to do that with fiction or poetry or the other fun things people want to write. Often to start out you write boring things. Really boring things. Business correspondence. Editing journal articles. It’s not fun. It’s often tedious. But it’s a way to get your foot in the door.

To be honest, even when you start writing the stuff you want to write it can get boring too. Once the excitement of getting paid for stuff you like doing wears off it will go back to just feeling like work a lot of the time.

2. Don’t Stop Reading

If you want to write then you need to read, and keep reading. I’ve known a number of writers that stop reading and focus solely on their work.

If you stop reading and stop taking in new information you run the risk of your work stagnating.

Plus, if you keep reading you can be inspired by other writer’s work. And, you can stay abreast of new trends or what people are reading. I wouldn’t advise writing to trends and would never argue to write what you think people want to read, but it’s helpful to know what’s going in your industry and staying informed helps keep you at the top. The more information you have at your disposal the better.

And I don’t think I should have to say this but if you don’t read and want to be a writer then you should really start reading. I’ve come across a number of people who want to write a book and don’t read. Like at all. So start reading then write. Walk before you run.

3. People Aren’t Going To Like Your Work

It can be rough but once you get outside the initial group of friends and family that tell you your work is good no matter what you will run into people that don’t like your work.

Like at all.

You’ll find people that no matter what you do they will find something wrong with it. They might vehemently disagree with your premise. They might think your story is dumb. They might hate the characters you created.

And they will tell you about it. Boy, will they tell you about it.

But, you have to just learn to grow thick skin and not let it bother you.

Because if that’s going to stop you then you’re better off doing something else as it will happen to everyone.

Sidenote: It can be a god sign that people are disagreeing with you. If no one ever does it means you aren’t taking risks and it’s vital to do so in order to grow as an artist.

4. It’s Okay To Quit

Sometimes you’ll be writing and you’ll come across a project or an idea and it just won’t work.

No matter what you do the words just won’t come. The writer’s block is so heavy that it’s not going anywhere.

It’s okay to quit. Sometimes you have to just let it go.

If it’s your own work of course. If you’re doing work for a client then you need to buckle down and get it done.

But if it’s not you can drive yourself crazy trying to finish a story that just isn’t working. You’re far better off abandoning and moving onto something else. Often, you’ll find that if you do this you’ll have an epiphany and then you can go back to it. Sometimes you just need a little space and time to let the idea marinate.

5. Don’t Give Up

It’s hard.

You’re not going to like doing it.

There will be way more losses than there are victories. Way more losses. It could weeks, months, even years before you have your first success.

You might never be able to write full time. And you might never get published. Think about every writer you like and all the books you’ve read. Most of them have considered quitting at one point.

It took me nearly a year to get my first paid writing gig. At that point I was so close to giving up that I thought I’d give it one last shot and then I’d find something else to do. Luckily, that worked out and now I’m here writing six years later.

So, keep writing. You owe to yourself to give it everything you got.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI
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