It’s a Real Job

Outtakes 54

It’s a Real Job

“I always thought about writing a novel. I think I could do it.” I hear that statement 99% of the time when folks find out that I’m a writer. I’m sure most authors have heard similar responses. If people really understood what it takes to write that novel, they might reconsider their responses. Do these well intentioned folks really think writing is easy?

What does it take to be a writer? Some would say talent is the key component. Of course there is a certain degree of talent involved. However, there are thousands of folks who have the ability to write, but never start. I have a nephew who has talent, but he doesn’t write. Why not? Because he prefers music to the written word. He devotes his energy to perfecting his skills on the various instruments he plays. Simply put, talent comes into play when the writer has the desire to write.

The desire to put words on paper propels a talented person to begin the journey. He buys the right books, studies the craft, experiments with a few ideas. He might join a critique group and a writers’ group. As he presents his work to his peers, he receives kind but honest feedback on his writing. He rewrites, but his critique group still is not satisfied with his efforts. Frustrated, he packs the first novel in a box and shoves it under the bed. The book is never completed.

A successful writer combines his talent and desire with bulldog tenacity. No one is going to convince him it can’t be done. He plans his writing time; places his backside in the chair and writes. He listens to other writers’ critiques and does the necessary rewrites to produce a better product. The writer risks rejection when he submits the finished novel to agents and editors. A writer doesn’t expect overnight success or instant wealth. Instead he will take the free short story publication to enhance his writer’s resume. He will volunteer to help at a conference or present a program to students. He keeps up with current trends in publishing. Deep in his soul, he believes he will be a successful writer and he works for it.

Writing is a real job.  It requires talent, desire, effort, a thick skin, risk, confidence, and tenacity.  No one component is enough. Even Snoopy concedes “Good writing is hard work.”

Cait Collins

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2 thoughts on “It’s a Real Job

  1. Writing is difficult, not because writing is difficult, but because being self-employed is hard. Keeping yourself working when at home and not letting life distract you is key to success. Not only writers go through this, but artists of all sorts do as well. Our lives are so different from that of the people that work for others in society that there is often little to no understanding about what we do and how we do it.

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