Seven Things No One Told You About Writing

30 Jan

There is a new feature added to Of Parchments & Inks: Yes, a Facebook Fan Page! Don’t forget to visit us at Facebook.com by clicking the badge on the right hand side. Once there, “Like” the page so that you’re always updated on what’s happening. Lots to come. . . So watch this space!

My lovely friend Connor awarded me with the Write Hard: Writers Who Inspire Me Award for which I am grateful to him. I wanted to receive it with grace while sticking to the rules. Connor asked me to share seven things about myself. But I couldn’t think of anything that was random and helpful to you, dear reader.

Writers Who Inspire

So I thought of a plan. Why not disclose the seven things I believe about writing instead? I still cater to the award-receiving rules, but with style and above all, purposefulness. After all, would you rather hear about some time-tested writing beliefs or about how I like to do my hair or how I hate to run? ;) (What? Did you say the hair? Umm. Okay. That’s a post for next time!)

So without further ado, presenting seven things about (my) writing life:

1. Being a Writer-From-Home is Not Always Blissful

If you thought writing from home is the best thing since sliced bread, think again. There is a common tendency among people, though unintentional, to treat your time and schedule as not too important. After all, how serious your can your work be if you are working from home? My close ones, luckily, understand this glitch and always regard my work as of prime importance. But there are others in your life who’d ask you to hang out despite your telling them you’re busy.

Freelancing is a funny thing: Sometimes, you must work during weekends too. But how important can “weekend work” be, anyway? As important as you make it to be. It’s tough but it’s a reality. So writers working from home must learn to say NO when necessary. Once you start to respect your work, people will start reciprocating in kind.

2. It is not Always Necessary to Have a .Com to Your Name

When I started our in March 2010, I scoured many guides. Most said that serious writers must have a registered domain name to look professional.

Though I whole-heartedly agree with it, I don’t necessarily believe new writers should go for it right away. Look at me: I still use a free blogging platform, but hey, I have enough work to fill my days with. This is not to say I won’t ever buy a website; I will, soon in the future. But I think unless you have something to say and a decent number of audiences to read it, you are better off sharpening your writing skills than owning a piece of cyber space. A personal .com might lead to an increase in freelance business but I don’t think it reduces your client base from what it normally is. If you present yourself with effective communication skills, rigorous honesty and a professional attitude, you won’t be short of projects.

3. Content Mills are not Always a Bad Joke

New writers are all at sea when they enter the field of writing. If you are to professionally reach out to a number of clients, either be published in print or online. However, to first get published, you need to have what are known as clips or samples. It becomes a unending notorious cycle: To get published, you need clips. To have clips, you need to be published somewhere. Wow. Talk about frustrating! But fret not, my lovely reader, because there is still a door left: the door of Content Mills.

Content Mills are websites which make a profit by providing cheap or free content to anyone who seeks it. The catch for writers is that they are paid very poorly. But, when life throws lemons at you, what do you do? Right, you make lemon juice and have a gala time! Same is with Content Mills. Use them to your advantage after you have exhausted all other options like using your personal blog and volunteered assignments as a portfolio.

4. Writing is Super-Competitive

Whoever thought writing was not competitive, think again because times are changing. The recession has led to a new reality: Almost all writing-related full-time, in-house jobs are now being freelanced. And what does that mean for you if you are an aspiring writer? It means you have to be more focused, more thick-skinned. You must differentiate yourself somehow in such a way that you become an asset for the client you are pursuing. In no time, you will see that it becomes the other way around: Clients start pursuing you!

5. Meditation and Writing go Hand-in-Hand

I cannot stress its importance to much. Meditation helps. Whether it helps because of the noted reasons you find in all meditation books and websites or it helps because the meditator believes in it, I am not sure. But it does.

I will tell you a secret. This is only one of many wondrous synchronicities and manifestations that I have met. If you’re a regular here, you’d know I was Freshly Pressed a while back. Now I know it may not as big a deal as winning a, say, $2000 writing contract–but it is a good thing to happen nevertheless because you gain readers and exposure. The day I got on FP, I was meditating specifically about my blog. I did no more than 10 minutes of meditation and the fourth day I saw my post on WordPress’ hand-picked stick board. I had never meditated on my blog before this, ever. Mind you, I was fairly a newbie in November (I started blogging in April) so my work getting recognised on a site globally at #24 as per Alexa was simply delightful! ;)

If you’re interested to know how I meditated for my blog specifically, let me know in comments and I’d consider doing a post about it soon.

6. Persistence is the Name of the Game

Goes without saying, doesn’t it? But yet, how many writers stick to their schedule, aggressively apply to meaty jobs, present themselves as “the best” of the lot and become a regular at writing something every day? Very few.

Therefore, it does not go without saying: Persistence is the name of the game guys! Stick to whatever you think is productive. Be persistent at what works for you. Try tweaking your methods; try changing that cover letter every once a while and personalise it to suit your receiver’s needs. Walk your talk!

7. You Can Learn a Lot About Writing

The debate continues. On one side are the creative souls who say that no, writing cannot be taught. On the other, there are experts who claim that yes, writing can indeed be taught. Who to believe? Where to go?

I tell you where: To the place that is most beneficial and in alignment with your goals, passion, ambitions and present situation in life. Don’t go anywhere else. Seek what you feel works. At least I do.

If you ask me whether writing can be learnt, I’d say yes and no. You can learn the technical aspects like a meaning of a new phrase you just read. Use the thesaurus and keep oiling your grammar wheels. Don’t take spell-check for granted–employ it to create neat and effective queries, emails and juicy spiels describing yourself. Read what others are doing and learn from them. The Internet hosts so many awesome writers who are self-sufficient. There’s a lot of interesting material all over the web. Every single bit counts, so keep exploring. So yes, you can learn a lot about writing, overall.

The minor aspect (which plays out a major role) that I feel cannot be learnt is the passion to write. Even Stephen King or Paulo Coelho cannot teach you how to ignite that fire. That, my friend, is solely up to you. For the rest, we are all here to help. Just ask! :)

Have any personal truths of writing? Why not share it with the world via the Comment Box?

As a token of thanks, I award each of you reading this post a Write Hard: Writers Who Inspire Me Award! Congratulations to YOU. Feel free to post an entry and flaunt the much-deserved win on your blog!

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25 Responses to “Seven Things No One Told You About Writing”

  1. jannatwrites January 30, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    I’d love to read about how you do your hair or hate running, but I also liked your seven writing beliefs. Persistence stuck out for me because sometimes it is hard to continue without tangible results.

    One truth I found out in writing fiction was that it’s okay to admire authors, but I’d have to find my own voice. In the beginning, I wrote like my favorites without even realizing it. Writing blog posts actually helped me find my voice because it’s just my words talking to the screen – no ‘novel’ pressure. Comments from readers like you also let me know when I was on the right path, which helped too :)

    • Brown Eyed Mystic January 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

      Lol, that’s gracious of you Janna to want to hear about my mundane tidbits ;) Thank You.

      Wow. That’s quite an advice. I agree. Sometimes, we tend to lose our voices into another genius’s work. Blogging is one way to get back in touch. I am glad you found your voice–partly because it’s a delight to read!

      -BrownEyed

  2. Nicole January 30, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I completely agree with number 2. I so wanted yo get my own space but I’m glad I didn’t now. It’s taken time to find my feet and gain a following.

    • Brown Eyed Mystic January 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Hmm. You know Nicole, what bothers me is people claiming how doomed a writer is when they don’t own their space. Whatever the case, I am sure nothing can be THAT extreme. I have read blogs of so many successful writers and seen both cases: some have a .com while others still rely on free services.

      -BrownEyed

  3. nrhatch January 31, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Good tips, Brown Eyed

    Whether or not something I write resonates with a given reader depends on the reader. If I write honestly, my intended audience will appear while those who are not intended to be in my pool of readers will drift away.

    When we are enjoying the journey, we stop worrying about finding our intended audience ~ we trust that our intended audience will find us.

    There is only one trait that marks the writer. He is always watching. It’s a kind of trick of the mind and he is born with it. ~ Morley Callahan

    Whether or not you write well, write bravely. – Bill Stout

    No rules. Just write! Write hard. :)

    • Brown Eyed Mystic January 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Simply agree Nancy!

      I especially love how yo frame your opinion (and practice) about audience. If our writing fills a void for them, they will stay. Else they will drift away. I am a strong believer in this. Trying to please everyone is not the most intelligent thing to do.

      -BrownEyed

  4. Kristen January 31, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    Interesting post! These are all relevant, helpful tips, and I would like to know how you focused your meditation on writing.

    I would also like to hear the 7 things about you : )

    • Brown Eyed Mystic January 31, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

      Thanks Kristen lovely.

      I would love to discuss it myself. I will create a post soon.

      Haha. Sure. Coming up, Seven Things About BEM, right away. ;)

      -BrownEyed

  5. acleansurface February 1, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    This is very nice and useful.
    I did get a domain, after a time, just to make sure I was easy to find, and that no one else would use my blog name as a domain. My full blog address seemed unwieldy. I still think of myself as a WordPress blogger, though, and that address is the one I have on my cards.

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      I think you did the right thing, Rayme. You had a goal in mind (keeping your online name forever) and buying a domain seemed to be the only way out.

      I have nothing against people who have their own domains, and like I said, I should soon be looking at it myself. But what I find problematic is writers investing a lot of time into building their websites, re-tweaking them before they’ve had a chance to monitor the past tweak, and basically concentrating on the websites more than their writing. Especially for a new writer, he or she should always try to sharpen the writing skills first and then look for website-perfection. This can safely be done via a free platform.

      -BrownEyed

  6. Hema P. February 2, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    I love reading tidbits about my blogging buddies via awards such as these, but when it comes to writing some about myself, that’s when I freeze :).

    Great tips — practical and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      Hema,

      I love reading them too! And I am glad you like the tips. These are solely my observations and they may differ from person to person. But I think some of them apply universally too.

      -BrownEyed

  7. slightlyignorant February 2, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    I loved this – thank you. I really think that those seven things are absolutely right. And I’m going to save this page so I can come back to it when I feel lost :).

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

      Aww. Thank You for liking it ;) I do believe that these are true–for me at least. Feel free to take what resonates with you and leave out the rest, if it doesn’t in the future.

      -BrownEyed

  8. Ollin February 2, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    You know me, I’m a big fan of meditation. :)

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      I do know you and all about your love affair with meditation ;)

      IT’s fantastic, isn’t it?

  9. Tammy McLeod February 3, 2011 at 12:13 am #

    Interested in your thoughts on meditation. A couple of weeks before I was Freshly Pressed, I dreamed that it would happen – and then I knew it would.

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 3, 2011 at 11:31 am #

      Wow, Tammy. That sounds more like a premonition. Speaking of which, I just saw the movie Final Destination 2 yesterday. That’s a neat synch, don’t you think? ;)

      I love how the Universe keeps hinting at us every now and then. We just need to pay attention.

      Now that three of my lovely readers have asked me to, I will post about the meditation in an upcoming post.

      Thanks for your interest, Tammy.

      -BrownEyed

  10. Profound Writers February 4, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    Talent is overrated. A great article on CNN hilighted that hard work, practice, and persistance are the keys to success, not talent.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm?postversion=2006101714

    Which goes to show you, anything can be taught, if you want to learn.

    • Brown Eyed Mystic February 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      I agree; writing can be learnt but the passion to write cannot be. I somehow feel that with an unshakeable will to do something and a fire to do what it takes, miracles can be made to happen :)

      Thanks for the link.

      -BrownEyed

  11. brownpaperbaggirl February 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Great list of 7 things! Thanks for sharing!

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