It came as no surprise to me to read this morning that, according to a survey undertaken by Remitly, (a financial services company for immigrants), being a writer is the second most popular 'dream job' of those surveyed.
Remitly describes how they came up with this information: "To find out, we looked at global search data to discover the dream jobs of every country in the world. To achieve this we looked at searches for ‘how to be a police officer’ rather than ‘police officer jobs’ to show the amount of people in the ‘dreaming’ stage of different careers."
I admit there is something attractive about the idea of being a writer although having been one for most of my life, the gloss wore off quite early on. I came to understand some tough realities, first and foremost that writing is hard work and takes discipline. Secondly, making money from it was going to be a challenge and taking it on for that reason alone would be a road to disappointment.
I also had to learn that being rejected, time and again, was all part of the deal.
So I suspect the people in the Remitly survey like the idea of being a writer and if they were confronted with the reality of that profession (i.e. being alone almost 90% of your working day, being paid about 5 cents per hour, no sleeping in or flouncing about, being at your desk on time to write for the set number of hours) they might choose the number one job on the list: a pilot.
You have to be into it for the love of it. You have a passion that you cannot contain, a compulsion that drives you towards it, a willingness to take the knocks and keep going.
I encourage people to write, to become writers. In these days of self publishing, you can put your work out there for all to see. You are not at the mercy of a managing editor who will send you a 'no thank you' rejection notice.
Go on. Write and produce your book whether it be in hard copy or online. Enjoy that achievement. You may not make a lot of money but the rewards of your accomplishment may outweigh that in spades because you are a writer.
You're not just dreaming about it.
Will 2023 be the year you write your memoir?
Maybe you'll finish the crime novel you started writing last year or begin a new project, perhaps a work of fiction, non fiction or life story.
A fresh, new year spreads out before you. How will you make the best of it with your writing? It's time to make a start with new energy, ideas and inspiration.
Best of intentions? Ah yes, often the way with a new year. We decide on a writing goal, take steps forward ... and then falter on the path.
How do we make a start and how do we keep going? Inspiration and consistent work go hand in hand. Journalist Peter De Vries said, “I only write when I’m inspired, so I see to it that I’m inspired every morning at nine o’clock.”
Author Barbara Kingsolver has some good advice about finding the right place to write and to write your truth without worrying about the expectations of others: "Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say."
Writing to a schedule that works in well with your day to day can provide the foundation for achieving your writing goals this year. It's often said that writing is 3% inspiration and 97% hard work and - I hate to tell you - this is very true. Set up your schedule, show up (even if you don't feel like it), and write.
It's OK to have a ritual that leads you into your writing time. Mine is coffee and a piece of toast with butter and Morello cherry jam. I cannot begin without it. It is rumoured that poet and critic Edith Sitwell lay down in an open coffin before starting her writing day. The take away here is: do whatever you need to do to get the creative wheels turning.
Keeping a journal can be a great way to build up discipline for writing this year. Sitting down with your journal at the end of each day can feel a bit like getting together with a good friend to chat about things. Journaling is also a very effective way to gather thoughts and ideas for writing projects and indeed the material within a journal can be used in memoir and life writing.
If you need some guidance and help to get started, let's have a chat. I have some mentoring options up my sleeve that can help kick start your writing project.
So let's begin. Get cracking. Tell that story. Make 2023 your breakout year!