Lots of people say they want to be a writer, but what kind of writer? What’s your definition of success?
Do you want to:
- Become a bestselling author?
- Have your book featured in a national magazine?
- Write short stories for teenage women pushing that beauty is on the inside, not the outside?
- Write a book series based on a dystopia world you’ve thought about for years?
- Write for People magazine?
- Write for The Journal of Infectious Diseases?
- Become the world’s leading expert on the tsetse fly?
- Share your experiences as a dominatrix in Salt Lake City?
- Contribute your acquired knowledge of 40 years as a high-school teacher?
- Be paid to fly all over the world to give stadium-filled speeches?
- Bring life to a children’s book series you’ve dreamed about for ten years?
- Prove to your high-school English teacher that your ideas are not weird and lots of people around the world find them fascinating?
- Prove to your psychiatrist that the voices in your head are so real you wrote stories about them?
- Ghostwrite for a bestselling author?
- Contribute to the Margaret Mitchell franchise?
- Write a story that Morgan Freeman will pay you to let him narrate it for Audible?
- Write a math textbook designed specifically for math-hating kids?
- Write a pop-up book?
- Make a million dollars a year as an author?
- Make $100,000 per year as an author?
- Make $10,000 per year as an author?
- Make $1,000 per year as an author?
- Make $100 per year as an author?
- Make $10 per year as an author?
- Create something no one has ever thought of?
- Write for your family and friends?
- Write for your industry?
- Simple write?
Don’t settle for your first answer or your second. Dig deep to discover the real, genuine answer because this is what you’ll draw strength from when the going gets tough.
Have your answer? Great! Now you can think about where to start, what to focus on, what type of business model to establish, what you may have to give up, what you may have to do, etc.
“I want to be an Indie author publishing my own books and make a living doing it.”
Cool. Are you working a full-time or part-time job? Don’t quit yet.
Think about your business model. Research what indie authors make and how they do it. Research costs related to indie publishing. Research how to market and promote your books. Then, based on your research, develop a basic business plan so you have a realistic viewpoint of how to make a living as an Indie author publishing your own books.
Do you know how to write a book? If not, consider taking a class or two. If you know how to write a book, then write one. Remember, this first book may never see the light of day. This could be your trainer book.
Write a second book. Get it critiqued, edited, beta read, and published. Yes, that will cost money. (Hence, the earlier don’t-quit-your-day-job remark.)
Write a third book and go the critique, edit, beta read, and published route again. Write a fourth and follow the routine. Write a fifth… and so on. Depending on how much time you have to write, manage, and promote your books, this timeline could be from three to 15 years.
Want to make the process happen faster? Consider giving up cooking gourmet dinners. Consider counting back on your marathon training. Consider getting up early every day to fit an extra hour of writing in before work. Consider using a laptop to write during your kids’ soccer practices. Consider cutting your weekly Girls Night Outs to monthly. Give up TV. Give up social media. Consider whatever it takes to give you more time to write and manage your budding career.
Remember, most indies don’t break even money-wise until their fourth or fifth books. Why? Because that’s when readers buy an author’s backlist.
But don’t get all fat and happy yet. Keep writing. Keep publishing. Keep promoting. Keep looking for other revenue streams to fund your writing career, i.e., mugs, t-shirts, speeches, workshops, etc.
Could you quit your day job at this point? Only you can answer that. Hopefully, that’s something you thought about and planned for when developing your business plan.
“I want to write for my church.”
Okay. Does your church have a newsletter? What articles do they prefer to publish? Do they have website? What do they publish there? Do they accept articles from church members? Do they have any topic restrictions? Do they have any preferences? Any restrictions?
Do you know how to write? If not, consider taking a class or two. If you know how to write, pitch a few article ideas before expanding the topic into articles. Be prepared for input and direction, based on your church’s guidelines and preferences.
Let’s say your church loves your writing, how often and how fast can you contribute? Is there a point where you’ll want to get paid for your musings? Keep these thoughts in mind as your plan to write for your church.
“I want to write a book that becomes a movie.”
Hollywood loves making movies based on bestselling books because of the built-in audience and working story. So, you’ll need to write a bestselling book. First, you’ll need to research what makes a book a bestseller. Then, develop a driving plot with a solid narrative arc that could spark Hollywood interest. Don’t forget to develop dynamic, three-dimensional and compelling characters. Craft a visceral setting and show your story (rather than tell it) so Hollywood doesn’t have to work too hard to turn your story into film.
If you traditionally publish, your agent and/or publishing house will help you sell your story to Hollywood. If you indie publish, you may need to hire an agent to sell the rights.
“I want to simply write for myself.”
Awesome! Go for it. Whatever you want to write and however you want to write it, do it and enjoy.
What do you want to do with your writing? How are you going to make that happen?
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