So you want to be a fiction writer.
Maybe you currently work as a checker or at a bookstore. Perhaps you’re in school for graphic arts or work at a law firm. You know you want this writing thing to happen, but it will have to occur in your spare time.
I say wrong.
I say, if you want the best shot at becoming a fiction writer, you should make a switch as soon as possible to copywriting. These are both types of creative writing, and they work together far better than you might imagine.
Self-discipline is hard in any field, especially as a writer. Not having that skill, I believe, is one of the biggest hurdles non-professional writers have to face when it comes to their fiction.
It’s just really … freaking … hard … to make yourself sit down and write 2,000 or 1,000 or even 200 words. This is true for all types of creative writing.
But if you’ve already written 8,000 words that morning for your clients? Meh, it becomes way less of a big deal. Your fingers and your brain are already in what I like to call Aggressive Typing Mode, so you’re good to go.
That’s not to say it’s always fun. Once you make it to the point where you’re writing every single day, all day long, trust me: The thrill fades.
If you don’t yet write for a living and desperately long to, I understand the belief that if you could only get there you would never complain about work again, because I felt that way for so many years. And don’t get me wrong: I’m in seventh heaven most of the time I’m at work, really and truly.
But you will complain about work again. That’s not what’s so great about becoming a professional writer. No, the great thing is you learn to write each and every day even when you don’t want to.
And in most jobs, that’s just not true.
Take it from someone who writes copy, blog posts, nonfiction and fiction: Your voice arcs across genres.
Learning to write humorous content for clients is a very good way to train yourself to be funny in fiction. Likewise, developing a unique writing personality marks your work as yours, which is equally crucial in all types of creative writing.
Clients are awesome. I love working with them and helping their visions come to life, each and every day. It is my deepest honor and blessing (no sarcasm) to get to do this as a job.
Clients can also be total dicks. Like, real jerks.
And that’s a good thing.
Because you know what? Book readers are even bigger jerks. Again, most of them are lovely and supportive. Most people who don’t like a book will finish it or stop reading in the middle, shrug, place it on a shelf and move on.
Most of them. But not all.
You think you want to be a fiction writer? Better grow yourself a way thicker skin, so that when someone gives your book a one-star rating on Goodreads with the explanation that they “got distracted after Chapter One” … you will smile and go about your day instead of writing them hate mail and eating ALL THE DIM SUM. (Guess which approach I took?)
I’m always amused when people turn up their noses at outlining, as though it’s some dread task that no one should have to do once they graduate high school.
This confuses me. Outlining is seriously the best. It helps you organize your thoughts, whether you’re crafting an argument on the merits of veganism (meritorious) or writing a new sci-fi novel about our alien overlords (probably already on their way).
Plus, it gets your brain juices flowing hours or days or even weeks before you need to write something, which is a bigger boon to your creativity and output than you might think.
(If you’re curious, btw, I offer my complete outlining system for free in my Resource Library.)
Yes, it’s true. I been sayin’ it, Imma keep sayin’ it: All types of writing are alike because writing is inherently a creative act. Every single type of writing contains:
Those stories might be nonfiction stories, perhaps marketing narratives designed to motivate a sale or scientific summaries of new research. They’re still stories. Perhaps the characters are made up, or perhaps they’re real-life luminaries. Perhaps the character is simply the reader, who needs help and has come to you/your client to find it.
Setting, plot, emotion: they all exist in all types of creative copywriting, not just fiction. That means if you want to excel as a fiction writer, there’s really no better way than to start working as a paid writer today.
I can help by teaching you one of the most sought-after writing skills today: direct marketing. Head to the course page to check it out, or feel free to email me for more details.
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