Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Your number one challenge as a writer

What is your main challenge when it comes to being a writer?
What is your main challenge when it comes to earning a living as a writer?

These are two completely different questions, yet each is as important as the other if you intend on making a buck as a writer. You should be asking yourself these questions annually, then make the proper adjustments in your next year's professional development plan and business plan. Yes, you should have two plans as a writer.

Challenge of Being a Writer

Make a list of your shortcomings as a writer. Do NOT make them general or they mean nothing. If you aren't sure what your flaws are, then speak to other writers who know your work, or join a critique group either online or in  person. In fiction I know that mine are transitions and a fear of the past perfect verb. I balk at too much conflict, then have to go back and insert more, and more, then more again. An editor had to tell me the first two. My online critique group taught me the other. So I intend to ask my critique groups to watch for these flaws in 2012. In my nonfiction, I tend to write fast and fumble with my point. As a result, I've worked hard at making hard, sharp points which means I, again, shortcut transitions. So I intend to focus on that flaw by sleeping on my work more, and reading it aloud to someone. In other words, slowing down and paying more attention to detail. Again, more critique group help and more proofing.

Challenge of Earning a Living as a Writer

I've shifted a bit more toward fiction in the last two years. Fiction, however, doesn't earn much of a living for writers. As a result, my income is down. In 2012, I need to define fiction and nonfiction time each day, while now I tend to write what I feel like writing. And in that pursuit of an income, I hope to prepare a nonfiction book, maybe a course, and a couple of e-books. By the end of the year, once I place dates on conferences and a few small book tours, I'll assign benchmark and final dates to these goals.

Like any entrepreneur, we love seeing our accomplishments. However, we need more emphasis placed on improvement or we cease to grow, and even become stagnant. If you intend to earn income as a writer, full-time or part-time, answer the questions posted below. Feel free to share with others on this blog.

What is your main challenge when it comes to being a writer?
What is your main challenge when it comes to earning a living as a writer?


Carol J. Alexander said...

I am challenged in perfecting my skills. I need a critique group, or at least a partner, but have been unable to find one in my rural area. Have discussed starting one with a few writers, but we can't seem to get out of the discussion phase. I think that is because of my other challenge...a family. The other possible group members and I are all moms with small children and our responsibilities and hearts are divided. I do have "office hours" though and enforce a quiet house while I am working and that helps a great deal. Thanks again, Hope for challenging my thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope,

I just recently found your blog and I'm enjoying your thoughtful posts.

I'm a "new" writer, unpublished, and have begun to ask myself similar questions. Like Carol commented, I need to find a critique group. (I can't seem to find what I'm looking for online. I have this gut feeling I'll truly benefit from a group that meets face-to-face.) Right now that's my main challenge: I need excellent, honest feedback from other writers.

As for making a living as a writer, the challenge for me is knowing the "right" course to take so that someday I will indeed be compensated for doing what I truly love to do.

Great post! Thank you!

Lee Cart said...

As a writer, I am challenged by finding enough time to write on a daily basis, the lack of a support group and that I forget to slow down--I tend to rush into a piece and rush out of it, forgetting to add what one person said "that fine layer of details that makes a good piece, great."
I have yet to be able to make my sole income be my writing-- I have a day job that pays for most of the bills and I supplement by writing--hopefully when I finish the two books I am working on, the day job will be replaced by writing but I know that is a ways away still--a freelancer's life is not easy but I prefer it to the idea of a cubicle.

Hope Clark said...

Take a look at my post http://hopeclark.blogspot.com/2011/10/where-to-find-critique-groups.html for ideas on finding a critique group. It's true that you have to hunt hard to find a fit, but it's worth the effort. Sometimes you can even start your own with individuals you hit it off with at other critique group. But critique groups are invaluable.

Kathleen Basi said...

These are really good questions. In the earnings category, I think my social media skills (i.e. my ability to promote) is tied with an ability to think creatively on how to find ideas for a wider range of markets. In the sheer writing category, it's that same second one (for nonfiction). For fiction, I'm worrying about whether what I *want* to write is what the market actually can sustain. I keep wrestling with that one. We need to look in the mirror sometimes to keep getting better.

Anonymous said...

Good questions.
As a writer, my challenge is to write interesting novels with authentic, believable characters and plots that inspire, intrigue and entertain my readers.

To support myself, my cats and my self-indulgent activity of writing, I teach on-line English classes at universities, teach on-line creative writing classes and copy-edit others manuscripts. I also publish my novels and am building my social media platform to market them.

Diva Jefferson said...

I knew I'd love this post.
My challenge is time management between writing (what I love doing), working (what pays my bills), and free time.

My main challenge to earning a living is that I cannot sacrifice my job until I know I can support myself writing, but since I cannot write without time, I don't have material to market.

Luckily, I've found idle time at work a most valuable place to write. Although, I have no resources to research and must write what I know, I can get at least three pages written in the course of a whole day.

When there is a will, there is a way in any challenge.

Thank you, Hope.
Good luck to everyone and happy writing!

-Diva Jefferson