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.
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!