Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Do You Have Time To Be A Professional Writer?

I was talking to a writer today and this person was talking about how the latest project had been going. The author said that nothing had really happened for the last year or so because "I had to focus my attention on my family." When I heard this, it really got me thinking about why so many authors just are not cut out for being a professional writer. It comes down to priorities and dedication.

Now, before I go any further, I do want to say that in no way am I saying an author should ignore his or her family. Things come up. There are times when the writing will simply have to be put on hold and it should not take priority over your family. I do this with the agency. Although there are times hen the agency takes a full priority, there will also be times when I have to put on the breaks and simply say, my family comes first.


Too often, writers start creating reasons why the story is not getting written or their writing is on a hiatus. These are not reasons, these become excuses.

Being a professional writer is to view this work as a job. You might already have a full time job, but now, as a writer, you have a second full time job. You can't just tell your boss you aren't going to be at work for a year and the same goes for you being a professional writer. This is even more important if you have an agent you are working with, or maybe you are working directly with an editor.

As an author, you have to find time to focus on your craft daily or at the least, several times a week. This means putting some work into that story. It means taking time to research the industry. It means taking time to at least do some planning. It also means, if you have an agent or editor, to keep that person updated on your projects and to not disappear off the map.

For some of you out there, you might be thinking about making the jump to be a professional writer. You have a great story. Maybe you have pitched this story to an editor or agent at a conference and this person is interested. Before you make that jump, you need to take the time to consider if you are REALLY ready to make this commitment. If you have a busy life with kids, a crazy work schedule, or outside activities that will make your writing only happen "when you have time" then you ARE NOT READY and you SHOULD NOT make this jump.

As an agent, when I heard this author talk, I got really frustrated. This author talked about how the agent had signed this person but really wasn't making much progress on selling that first book. The odds are, this agent has assumed, due to lack of work or communication, that this author is done, and there is no reason to pursue the book.

I always say that writing is for everyone. I say that everyone has a story to tell. BUT, not everyone is or should be a professional writer.

Today may be your wake-up call. Think about it!

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