Writing is simply the ability to coherently organise your thoughts in a tangible form; whether it be on paper, your laptop, or even your iPhone. Writing can be in any format and really depends on what you plan to write: is it fiction or nonfiction? Technical or creative? What do you hope to achieve by writing? Do you aim to entertain people, educate people, or simply pass on information? Sometimes a particular piece of writing can cover all of the aforementioned agendas.
People write for different reasons; for some, it’s a passion and a hobby; they just love to write. For others, it’s a full-time job and they are not in it for the love of writing; some people just want to earn a living. But for other people, it’s therapeutic – writing can be a form of healing. Research has found that when a person writes about the pain of a particular experience, such as maltreatment, abuse, or divorce, they tend to find that it aids their healing process. In this context, it can also serve as an antidepressant.
For a lot of people, writing fulfills certain obligations. For instance, students write assignments and term papers which are graded and contribute to a certain percentage of their semester grade. Equally, graduate and postgraduate students write thesis’ in partial fulfilment of their various degrees. So for these categories of people, it is compulsory, regardless of whether or not they love to write.
Whatever your reasons are for writing, they are very much valid; there are no right or wrong reasons to write. But if you do want to commit to a career in writing and are wondering if this is the ideal life for you; read on.
A career in writing is incredibly rewarding, offering you life-long learning and income, particularly if you are highly skilled. A life in writing may also involve public speaking at talk shows, symposiums, seminars, conferences and more. It is common for writers to reach the peak of their careers through public speaking and the subsequent recognition gained from this.
Below are five key questions to guide you in making the decision of whether a writing career is ideal for you.
1 – Do you have a way with words?
This is at the top of the list: the necessity of knowing exactly how to arrange your words in a way that communicates your message with perfect clarity to the reader, painting a detailed mental picture in their mind. Readers who digest such writing are set in an Oliver Twist-like mode; they’ll keep coming back for more!
2 – Do you suffer from significant writer’s block?
Writer’s block simply refers to the inability to produce meaningful content over a range of time. It usually occurs when the writer lacks motivation and inspiration. For some writers, it could be days, months, or even years. If your writer’s block is on the high side, building a career in content production may prove difficult. This is because writing is a life-long process. You don’t necessarily have to write every hour of the day or write about hundreds of topics to pursue a career in writing; you simply require the dedication to continue producing content throughout the lows and highs.
3 – Do you enjoy reading?
This is as plain as it sounds. You may have heard the phrase “a good reader makes a good writer” – it doesn’t get truer! Most successful writers have spent a life time sifting through a wide range of books, materials and publications. Being a voracious reader of a wide range of topics is essential.
4 – Do you have good research skills?
No matter how vast your knowledge or creative imagination is, you need to carry out research to complement your work. In a way, writing is like a science, and you are the scientist. You have to make observations, carry out experiments, ask lots of questions, and provide the answers. This will not only make your writing stand the test of time, it will ensure your message is factual and reliable. People imbibe information they trust.
5 – Are you consistent and disciplined?
Building resilience and persistence will ensure you don’t fall at the first hurdle, or any of the other hurdles you will inevitably face. You might have manuscripts that are yet to be published, or constantly face rejection; the discipline to remain consistent will set you apart from the writers who fail. In the words of Richard Back, a professional writer is simply an amateur who refused to quit.
So there you have it. Deciding on your life-long career can be a daunting process – I hope this piece has provided some clarity on whether pursuing a career in writing is the ideal path for you.
All the best in your new venture.