The creative writing industry requires years of struggle, so much frustration, and a ton of networking to simply break into, let alone be successful in the industry. With so many writers and so many stories written, it can be challenging to stand out, create something new, and build your creative writing career to be successful. However, luckily, getting your work out into the world is easier now than ever before, thanks to the rise of social media and the likes. Nowadays, anyone with an internet connection can publish their work for little to no cost.
In today’s post, we will be going over why writers struggle to begin with, the basic information on advancing your creative writing career, where you can start, and how to progress from there.
Why Writers Struggle
For many writers, there are three main reasons we struggle to break into the writing industry: over-saturation, lack of information, and personal fears and doubts.
As with many fields in the entertainment industry, there are so many people that it can be challenging to stand out from the ever-growing crowd. Unless you are already an established writer, it can be hard to find an agent, get your books published, or be “successful.” Despite the struggle, know that it’s not impossible. And, putting effort into furthering your dreams can be worth it—don’t give up!
The best way to advance your writing career and break into the industry is to put yourself and your work out there. Use the internet to your advantage and get started establishing your brand and sharing your creativity so that when you’ve finished a novel (or whatever you’re working on), you’ll have people who are already interested in your work. Anyway, we’ll look more into the how in the following sections, so I’ll leave it at that.
Lack of Information
A more straightforward problem is the lack of knowledge about getting started as a writer and turning your skills into a livable income. That’s where I hope to help, not just with this post but this blog as a whole.
Over the next few months, I will be creating a series of posts talking about how you can make money as a writer. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay notified when these posts are live.
For now, here are some past posts that may help you get started on your writing career:
Fears & Doubts
Perhaps more difficult than breaking into the industry is letting go of the fears, doubts, and worries that come with creative writing.
When I was in college, a professor said if you’re too scared of people stealing your work, you’ll never make it as a writer. And let me tell you, that has stuck with me ever since.
Let me preface this by saying there is real fear and possibility of someone stealing your ideas, your writing, your stories. It happens far too often and can be devastating. There are some steps you can take to prevent it from happening; but, not putting your work out for people to read won’t help anything.
You can keep copies of drafts, try to protect your work, but mostly you just have to get your work out there and hope for the best. At some point, you have got to let go of the fear. You won’t make it as a writer if you’re constantly worried. And besides, even if you did manage to make it with the fear and worries, writing wouldn’t be any fun anyway.
Look through your old stories and any writing you’ve finished. Go back and polish them; then, upload and publish them. Create a portfolio, blog, etc., to store everything and share it. Share your process, your struggles, your successes, everything.
Promotion and growth are key.
Branding yourself as a writer requires developing that brand, growing it, and promoting your work. Start this process as early as you can, and it will help in the long run.
The simplest, least time-consuming way to start branding is by creating a social media profile and periodically posting content related to yourself and your brand. However, if you want to see significant results, branding will require more effort.
The more detailed and cohesive the brand, the better. You want to decide what you’re about and who your ideal audience is. Create a short author bio or something similar to keep your brand streamline. The bigger you grow your online presence, the more accessible publishing (and gaining financially) will be. And, since these steps can take years, it’s best to start now.
Now is the time to decide if you want to go by a pseudonym and create a short summary of the type of author, poet, blogger, etc., you want to be.
Branding is a whole other topic, and there’s so much to discuss with it, so we will be diving deeper into how to brand yourself as a writer in another post.
A quick side-note:
With the advancement of social media, there are significantly more jobs for writers than the primary author, journalist, technical writing jobs. As this post is for those who want to develop their brand and become self-employed, we will discuss the creative-focused paths.
Where to Begin
Producing as much content which shows off your skills as possible is critical. The more work you put out, the easier it will be to grow your online presence and get seen. Since you can’t write a new novel every week, try to focus on one or two smaller writing projects. These should be things that grow your brand, are semi-easy to keep up with, and showcase your work and skills.
Some ideas may include:
- Starting a blog (It doesn’t have to be about writing; it could be about anything you’re interested in.)
- Creating a portfolio website (in college, we created portfolios using the free version of Wix.com. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but having a custom domain and site would help.)
- Starting a YouTube channel showcasing things like journaling, writing, etc.
- Freelance writing
PS: If you’re looking to create a blog or portfolio website, I recommend checking out NameCheap for a custom domain. They are the company I choose when creating Along We Write. And, it’s been great to have a separate domain and hosting platform for reasons I won’t get into in this post. Anyway, I recommend checking them out if you’re interested.
I have an affiliate link if you would like to use it. I make a commission off of the link, which helps to run this blog at no extra cost to you. You can always visit my disclaimers page for more information.
Where to Go
Once you’ve established your brand and begun to generate content to grow your following consistently, it’s time to move onto the next step: publishing.
Create eBooks and publish them to places like Kindle eBooks, Smashwords, etc. Some eBook publishing sites have fees, and some don’t; I’ll have an upcoming post all about the pros and cons of different publishers, so stay tuned for that.
Now is the time to continue growing your brand and create larger, higher-quality works—it’s your time to shine!
Advancing your writing career is all about getting your work seen and developing your brand. You need to let go of any worries and focus on showcasing your skills. While you grow your online presence and create novels, short stories, etc., you’ll want to focus on less intense projects that will get your work out and help to build your brand.
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