Since I can remember I have heard horror stories about people who have embarked on these adventurous journeys to become professional writers only to have their dreams ripped from them due to unrealistic expectations. This could be true and I don't doubt for a second that for many it is definitely their reality. But the truth is....
Most of what you hear are myths created by evil old trolls who like to suck the fun out of living. Here are 5 of the most annoying myths I have heard about writing and why I think you should ignore them...
Myth 1: Writing is easy for some people.
Let me tell you that is just about the biggest myth going. I have been writing practically my entire life and for the last 5 or so years I have bounced back and forth writing professionally. My creative circle and network is full of content curators and writers and I don’t personally know any writer that will tell you that writing is easy. If they do, they are a liar and you better not take any more advice from them.
Writing is brutal. It takes the very best of you and more than often the very worst of you do get the job done. In order to write effectively and connect with your audience you have to work extremely hard on yourself and there are times when I think it would be easier to simply open a vein as. However experience and practice can make many writing tasks easier. There are some writing tasks that I can almost accomplish faster than others (I’m talking my infamous Facebook posts because they require less form and work) and then there are others (such as this) that take longer.
Myth 2: Writing requires talent.
I won’t lie. Talent can and does certainly help and talent is what separates the great writers from the “Good” writers. But the truth is that talent is not enough to make a writer great or even good and talent is not a necessary requirement to be a good writer.
Writing is a skill that can be learned, developed and honed. If you practice your craft, if you read the writing of others to learn more about your craft, and if you seek and accept guidance and suggestions about your writing then you will improve and grow as a writer.
Dedication harnessed with talent can create amazing results but if I had to pick just one then I would go with dedication. You can always increase your skill level through dedication.
Myth 3: Writing isn’t an useful skill.
Bullsh*t. I have made a living as a writer for the last five years but even if you don’t intend to make your living with words you will need this crucial skill. There simply isn’t a profession that does not involve writing. I use my writing skills every single day. From drafting a motion to file with the court to drafting a media campaign outline for a client. Obviously, the form will vary, but written communication is the cornerstone in every professional field. Your writing ability will often impact landing a job as well as advancing in your career. Today written communication is even more crucial in professional and personal relationships especially now that social media has become the #1 recruitment center for jobs scouting new talent.\
Myth 4: You can’t make a living as a writer.
I remember when I told my mother that I wanted to be a writer and author when I grew up. She was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to support myself because it wasn’t a “real job” and one in a million people get the opportunity to make the best sellers list. The truth is that I have never had trouble finding a job and today I own my own business because of this flexible and important skill.
I never would have imagined when I was 16 that I would be able to use my love for writing and “running my mouth” as a means to pay my rent. I guess being a “know it all” paid off in the end. [dramatic camera stare]
Myth 5: Writer’s block is alive and torturing writers as you read this.
I’m not dismissing the difficulties inherent in dealing with writer’s block but whenever I talk with writers purportedly suffering from it they fall within two general groups.
The first group actually creates their own block by insisting on the perfect place, mood, or alignment of planets in order to write. This is beyond ridiculous. One of the many benefits I gained from years of blogging experience is the ability to write in almost any condition or mood. Deadlines and being the “first” to break a story or spark a discussion on a trending topic will teach anyone how to give writer’s block short shrift.
The second group I have more sympathy for as their problem really is internal in nature. Usually the problem is that the particular story (whether fiction or nonfiction) they want to tell is not yet finished cooking in their brain [this is where I usually find myself stuck]. In this case, while the writing may be stalled I don’t agree that it is blocked. The writer has to learn how to listen to that inner voice and respond appropriately. Sometimes the idea needs more time to percolate and sometimes more research and/or planning is necessary. Once the proper adjustments are made the writing will begin to flow again.
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