1. You’re not the only one writing about a given topic.
One of the toughest things I had to realize (and subsequently get over) as a beginning writer was that there are millions of other people writing on the same/similar topics.
It’s nearly impossible to find something that hasn’t ever been written about, and it’s foolish to be frustrated if you stumble upon someone’s writing that has similar ideas to yours.
Now, this isn’t to excuse plagiarism at all, because I have had my fair share of negative experiences in that regard. But it is, however, meant to remind you that your ideas might not be as ‘incredible’ as you think—and that’s okay! They are still valuable, you just have to figure out what makes them yours. And what that means in comparison to others.
The goal, as a beginning writer (and as you improve and grow) is to create a special niche for yourself within a larger network. No, you’re not always going to have writing that changes people’s thinking (and don’t try to do that, especially if it’s not you!), but as long as you strive to bring your best and most authentic self to the table, your work will be successful.
Share your story and your experience. Bring your voice into your work. Be real. And don’t try to emulate someone for the sake of views or reads. Remember you’re not the only one writing about something, but what you have to say matters.
2. People will try to take your ideas.
Since I started writing professionally, I’ve more issues with plagiarism than I can count. From smaller, independent bloggers republishing my content as their own, to a German writer with 200K+ fans taking and translating my words to another language and claiming as his writing and poetry (and still getting away with it!!) plagiarism is frustrating, devastating, and disheartening.
If you’re thinking about becoming a writer, this isn’t something you need to accept, but you must understand that it does happen, and take the necessary steps to copyright, secure, and battle for your work.
3. If you want to succeed, you need to work hard as hell.
I think there’s this perception about writers—that we go to coffee stops and sit around, that we spend our days ‘brainstorming,’ or even that we’re big drinkers that don’t actually do any real work, etc. (Or maybe this is just how the media portrays writers in movies haha).
The truth is, it’s the exact opposite. If you really want to succeed as a professional writer, you have to work really, really hard. You have to write every day (or close to it). You have to keep yourself inspired and accountable. You have to manage your own schedule (especially if you’re a freelancer!). You have to meet deadlines. You have to self-advocate. You have to pursue jobs, stay relevant, and learn the ins and outs of so many different formats, mediums, and social media guidelines.
It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding work. But to do well or make a living in this field, you have to work.
4. You will often have to fight for a worthy salary/rate.
Everyone needs a writer, but not everyone wants to pay that writer accordingly. This is the unfortunate truth about the industry. Oftentimes writers are undervalued, or paid without benefits, without bonuses, or at rates that don’t necessarily match the quality/quantity of work.
Though this is by no means every company (as many out there pay fairly!) but it does happen. And when it does, you’re obligated to fight on your own behalf.
No one will advocate or negotiate for you. You have to be your own spokesperson and speak up for what you think you rightfully deserve, with, of course considering other average salaries/rates in your area/industry.
5. You will have days where you just can’t write.
I’ve always said that writer’s block doesn’t exist, and I stick to this. I personally think that when we face writer’s block, it’s our own fear inhibiting our ability to create freely, and to fight it, we have to push back against the idea that we can’t.
Every writer, however, will face moments of pure ‘blah’ as I call it—moments of being totally stuck or uninspired. And it’s in those moments that we have to redirect (take walks, refocus, do something else for a few minutes), create/brainstorm a list, free write, brain dump (write literally whatever’s on your mind), or rehash an old topic or piece in a new way.
What will define and build you as a writer is your ability to combat and get through those moments of ‘stuck’—so keep after it. But don’t be discouraged by it. (In truth, it happens to everyone.)
Featured Image Credit:
Muhammad Raufan Yusup