“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”
—Ray Bradbury, WD
I'd love to have a pleasant career as a writer; but, from the writers I know, it's more work that pleasantness, more rejection than acceptance, more reality checks than pay checks.
Why is that?
Here's what I think. I think there is a time to pay your dues. A time to build your career. Just like any other occupation, you don't start at the top - you climb to it. Climb like your driven to see the summit.
Here are three steps (of the many thousand) to making that climb:
1. Learn to write well. No matter the size of your natural talent there will a learning curve. Take a class, attend a conference, read on-line helps and buy books.
“It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
I love that quote, because invariably, there will be people who think you are so talented - let them think that!
2. Find good readers. You need people that will tell it like it is. I recently had a person move into the neighborhood who turned out to be a writer. We decided to exchange manuscripts. I can't tell you how valuable her comments were because she didn't care about my feelings. She's awesome!!
3. Read. Read everything. Stay in love with the written word. When you are searching for a phrase or pulled the story out of the deep, painful hole it's buried itself in you need to remember why you love what you do. Reading can keep that love fresh.
What dues have you paid? How many years did you write before your first book was published? What was the best thing you ever did for your career?