Wanting to Be A Writer is One Thing, But How Do You Know What to Write?
By Ruth Barringham
I always knew I wanted to be a writer because even as a child, I used to write stories. My parents were always really mean with money and wouldn’t buy me any notebooks to write in, so I used to wait till the end of the school year, tear the used pages out of my school books, and used the rest of them for writing in.
Sometimes, I even used to pretend I needed a new book to write in at school part-way through the year just so that I could hoard a half-used notebook for later. Sadly, my mother didn’t share my enthusiasm for writing, and whenever she found one of my story books, she’d throw it away. She used to go through my stuff regularly and get rid of anything she deemed unnecessary to keep, no matter how much I wanted it. I often came home from school to find my some of my beloved stuff gone.
But one thing I always knew was that I loved to write. But pre-internet, I had no idea how to go about being a published writer and there were no books about how to write, or at least, none that I found.
My first foray into writing was when I was in my late 20s and I did a correspondence writing course. The internet was only in it’s infancy then and most people didn’t even have a computer let alone an internet connection. So I did a computer course at my local college and a creative writing course by correspondence. I had to mail my work to my tutor who would mark it and make suggestions and mail it back to me. It was a slow process, but at least it was a start.
But once I got my own computer and got hooked up to the internet, I discovered so much information about being a writer AND about making money from writing.
So that was it. I couldn’t wait to find a suitable course about writing and making money.
I began with a course called How to Write a Book in 28 Days or Less, and got stuck right in and wrote my first novel, called Playing for Real, which still sells really well.
I also did a course on web design and set up my first website all about writing. Sadly, that course is no longer available, and I say sadly because it was SO helpful and easy to do.
But I still had a long way to go and I wanted to know how to make more money from my writing because I wanted to do freelance writing too. So I bought another course called Quick Cash Writing and immersed myself in it for weeks on end, writing and submitting work all over the world AND I made a surprising amount of money from it, which was a surprise to me because I was such a novice. But along the way I did find out that not everyone can write well. I thought being able to write was a normal thing and everyone could do it, but it turns out they can’t.
Anyway, I then read copious books about writing and publishing and all about the legal side of it.
And all this has lead to a whole life-time of learning for me because I’m still buying courses and books to help me to do more and earn more from my writing.
Currently, I’m immersing myself in learning about marketing. A couple of years ago I even sunk $2,000 into buying the Titans of Direct Response course which also came with a couple of bonus books, one of which was a book I’d been wanting to get my hands on for years but it’s almost impossible to get a copy. The book is called Breakthrough Advertising and it’s written by Eugene Schwartz who is one of the best copywriters of all time. So I was stoked to finally get my hands on a copy.
The reason for all my interest in marketing is because it’s no good writing books if I can’t sell them. So I need to know how to sell my books rather than pitch them at people like I was doing previously when I didn’t understand that there was a difference. I thought that selling was selling, but apparently, it’s not.
But along the way this whole experience has taught me what kind of writing I like to to, which is book writing. But I do also enjoy smaller project like writing articles and blog posts, etc.
So if you don’t know what sort of writer you want to be, my advice would be to learn as much as you can and do it the kind of way I did, and that is, to earn money from your writing along the way.
If you buy a book about writing or a writing course, don’t just read it, do the work. Try doing lots of different writing and eventually you’ll find that there is one kind of writing that you enjoy doing more than the other kinds. For instance, most people think they want to write books, but when they try it they find that they really don’t like doing long projects like that and are much happier writing articles or white papers or they prefer copywriting.
But whatever it is that you like to do, if you don’t know then try out every kind of writing and you’ll discover what type of writing you want to do.
AND you can make money as you write.
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