“How hard is it to become a successful writer?”, is a common question. The answer is simple.
Firstly, I think it’s a question posed in a very general way, which makes it hard to define really what a person means when they ask this question. “How hard is to…”, is a common question from people who don’t know much about an activity. And that’s just fine. We all want to know what is expected of us in order to achieve something difficult.
Asking precise questions is very hard. People just want answers, and they seldom think to ask a specific question. So, they get generalisations in return.
Writing is hard. I’ve written hundreds of articles, short stories and one novel. The novel is finished and sits deep in my hard drive awaiting a long editing process.
It could be that you ask how hard is it write a novel? Or, how hard is it to stay the course and continue writing?
How difficult is it to sit alone at a desk all day, every day of the week, and think and type, drink coffee, all at the same time?
Outsiders tend to see other peoples’ work superficially. They see that business people meet people and spend all day chatting with other people, and somehow they make money like this.
They see that writers sit at their desks wearing creased pyjamas, drink coffee, and type on a keyboard. Writers clatter, clatter — it’s the only noise they make. Then one day, they stop, their face lights up, and they realise that they’ve finished their writing. Then, they start all over again. How hard is that?
Every aspect of writing can be hard. It depends on who you are and how you write.
I absolutely love to write stories and articles. Both give me enormous backaches, so I have to push myself. But the desire to turn a thought into a story, is so great, the backache, and the head scratching is no big deal.
The hard part about writing is the part where you have to make up a story.
Personally, when I’ve thought about how hard is it to be a successful author who makes a living writing fiction, I honestly think it’s about as hard as it is to build a business from scratch. There is a catch in both activities.
Writing requires that you really love to write, and that you know what you want to write. Those two things go a long way towards predicting success as an author. They don’t tell you anything about whether you’ll be financially successful. They do tell you whether you can do it, or not.
Drive, ambition, and determination, are all necessary for a writer.
It’s not a dreamy business, and there are no days that you can fritter away on thinking about ‘stuff’.
In business, it’s the same; you need to know what business you are in, which product, and who your customer is — then you do everything to find a market.
A writer must create their own work from nothing.
A business person must go into the fray of the marketplace, and do business with other people.
They always look busy, and that alone can ensure a successful day. Business is about making money, writing is about creating stories.
As a writer it’s good to know who your target audience is, it helps you write at a certain level, and with “voice”.
If you know who your readers might be, then you can talk to them at their own level. Style, voice, and grammar create atmosphere in the space of the pages.
The bottom line is to think that everything in life that is worth achieving, is hard. But it is possible.
You know you can achieve it because others have gone before you, and have reached success, both successfully financially in selling books, and as a writer sitting at a keyboard all day.