photo credit: tnarik
“I want to be a writer.”
“But you don’t even know what you want to write.”
“Well, I can always find a topic to write about.”
“Are you really?”
The truth is being a writer is difficult. For some people, writing is natural. Writing is like eating rice to me. Writing is like taking a bath every day. When writing is natural, getting writing jobs would be easier.
However, for others, writing is like having to bungee jump or jump off the cliff, way too difficult and way too dangerous.
Too difficult because you will have to find your way around looking for jobs that might be paying peanuts and too dangerous because if you have no full time job on hand, and without consistent work from your clients, you won’t be able to earn enough to support your expenses.
Why you need to think through before becoming a writer?
You need to have the right skills in order to have a career in writing.
By scoring an A in the English exam (I.e. SPM or STPM in Malaysia) is only the first step. There are many more steps to come.
Writing is ‘easy’ for me not because I scored an A for English exam and definitely not because I was born to write, but because I spent countless of hours learning English since I was 12.
My History of English Learning
I have scrapbooks with cut-outs from the newspapers (specifically the sections that highlight English learning).
What I did was, scan through the newspapers, look out for the articles that interest me and cut them out, before I pasted them in the scrapbooks.
I have different scrapbooks for different purpose.
For example, I have a book specifically for Proverbs and Idioms.
After so many years, I have collected quite a lot of cut-outs and therefore, I have learnt as much as I could when I was in school but learning never stops.
Quit your job or not?
Yes and No.
Yes, if you can earn enough to support yourself.
No, if you are financially dependent on your full time job. Write part time and work your way up one step at a time.
How can you join the writing industry?
Listen and Learn. Listen to the people who are experts in the writing industry. Learn every writing skills you need for your work.
If you love to write novels, you will have to learn how to write a novel.
If you write about general issues, you will need to read up on the latest issues.
When can you join the writing industry?
It totally depends on yourself.
“When do you want to join?”
What you need to do / prepare in order to join in the writing industry?
Resume, portfolio and a professional email address.
You can have the same resume you use for job application or you can create a new one. Make sure it is simple and clean.
This is a showcase of your work. Whatever you have done in the past. If you have not written anything, you will have to write now!
No one likes to hire someone with an email like this: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or similar email addresses.
Get something like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or even email@example.com. (replace ‘your name’ with your own NAME).
The best email addresses would be a paid email address although this is optional.
Once you are ready and prepared, it is time to hit the job market and apply for jobs.