I have a set of rules I made up for myself when I first started to think of writing as not just a hobby but a possible career option.
It might not worked out quite that way, but I mean, dream big, right?
Part of these rules go like this, in no particular order – When feeling particularly uninspired, write about things which you are familiar with. Personal experiences are a good start, but at your own discretion of course how much you choose to reveal. They might also be topics which you are comfortable with, chances are you can and will produce great things out of them. Also, preferably let it be something you can make a decent presentation of. Be confident and be convincing. Further experience will naturally come as you write more. Start with things you feel in your heart, not necessarily things you think in your intellectual mind.
These rules are jumbled and all over the place, but in their entirety they are complete and I understand them, so that is all that matters.
I remember something one of my my older sisters asked me once, years ago in fact, when I already had a steady job but still was quite young and inexperienced in my chosen career.
She asked, “If you are not working your current job, what would you do?”
I thought for less than a minute, and replied, “I would be a writer.”
“Yeah?” My sister asked. “What would you write about?”
“Well, everything.” I answered only half-jokingly.
I wanted to learn about everything you see, but in all honesty I knew only a little, certainly not as much as I wanted to know. I had this insatiable thirst for knowledge, and still do.
But there being only so many hours in a day and real-life expectations to live up to, I had to make do with what I had and hope for opportunities for more in years to come.
That however didn’t stop me from having dreams and ambitions.
I eventually conceded, “Maybe not everything. I’ll start simple. I’ll write poetry and short stories. Perhaps children’s stories, ‘cos those seem like the easiest to write.” I nodded my head decisively
Before my sister asked me that question about my other career choice, I had already written several poems. Granted, my few earlier poems were childlike and fun in nature, but there they were. They will always hold a special place in my heart because they were my very first efforts, collectively.
You can find some of my poems here https://myreadingpoet.com/category/poetry/
Most of my poems were based on my own real-life emotions and experiences. Those poems, I found (and in fact still do) to be the ones closest to my heart, and the easiest to write in that I only had to put my feelings into words.
….maybe it’s not as easy as it sounds. I tend to over-think sometimes.
I also think that for many writers, finding the words to express themselves could be a real struggle, thus making the actual writing part to be the hardest part.
But I digress.
Aside from the poems, I had also written a short story for children. The story was in its early stages, a first edition, but I was quite proud of it. It was my first own written story, you see. It is like the birth of your eldest child, you know, and however it turned out, you feel proud of it.
You can find a few of my short stories here https://myreadingpoet.com/category/fiction-and-short-stories/
So, yes, quite confidently I said that I would be a writer.
My sister said, “Awesome. I believe in you, and that you would make a good writer.”
Well, she might be biased, what with being my sister, or maybe patronizing me a little bit, but it is great encouragement and one I needed to hear.
I have always wanted to write, did I mention it already? . I dreamed of writing dozens of books in many genres.
Many years later and at present time, I have my current job, one which I don’t plan on giving up any time soon; far from it in fact. It is a job which I love.
But I also still love writing, and rather than give up one, why not do both?
This is especially true and worth thinking about when you know that the writing field has huge competitions and it is very hard to break into the successful ‘club’ of renown writers and authors whose works have sold countless copies and are being read by literally millions of people. To be just a writer? It is overwhelming to think about.
So I had this very un-original idea to put my chosen career first, and my writing second. It is a win-win situation for me, because I love both, and they don’t eat into each other’s spaces. In fat, they share the space quite comfortably and helpfully.
But why one before the other, though, if I love both?
My reason is simple.
I put my writing second because I know my limitations as a writer. I am forever an amateur writer. It is not for lack of passion, determination, ambitions or desire for growth. No, I have those plenty, I believe. Rather, I know myself as a writer, I know me as a person, and I know that I will always have new things to learn. It is the hand I am dealt with, and I make the most of it.
I rather think that I am doing well with it, simply because I write because I want to, not because I have to. Writing to me is a joy and a release.
In relation to that, I know that my chosen career is always first because of the things I can do through it, is worth the focus and attention I give it. It is simply a matter of priority.
Also, I definitely had and has used my talent as a ‘storyteller’ in my chosen career. It works.
I teach, and a teacher tells stories sometimes to enhance the lessons. There were occasions when Jesus used stories and parables to enhance or to explain his teachings and sermons.
This is inspiration for me, too.
Many times, I draw inspiration from my work-experience as much as I do from my real-life.
When I first wanted to be a writer, I did not dreamed further than my love for it.
At the time I was so very young, literally a child of nine years old, and that was also the year when I wrote my first poem.
This sounds terrible cliche and cheesy, but I did not think of millions, even dozens of strangers, reading my work. I just wanted to write and freely express myself in and through my writings, especially through my poems.
So I only had dreams of getting my ‘voice’ out and maybe letting an exclusive few read them.
I do not think, aside from my sister then, that the rest of my family know that I love writing. They know though that I love reading.
Recently, my young niece found out that I had written a children’s story and she kept asking if I had finished the final product. She wanted to read it.
Surely now, however, I think that I want people to read my works, and maybe invest in them. It doesn’t have to be in the millions, just enough for me to know that my works have reached an audience which maybe would give me feedback on how I am doing.
Mostly, I just want feedback. Feedback means interest, no?
When you love something and you want to share it with people, you do want people to at least acknowledge your act, you know? Such as, “Yes, I see it,” maybe “good work!”, or even, “Wow! I hope you write more!”
Such simple words can go a long way for writers, because words mean a whole lot to them.
So, going back to what I said to my sister, in that I would write short stories, specifically children stories.
I actually have written several by now, and plan on more. I had fun writing and making the ones I already did.
This particular field I am quite familiar with, because for some years, I taught children in Sunday School, and I sometimes created my own stories.
I also have little nieces and nephews, so they nicely make up a ready audience on which to practice on.
Children love stories. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t love stories. You just have to sit them down and give them the stories.
So, whatever is close to you, that which is familiar to you, start with those. For starters, do not immediately want or expect people to buy your works. If that is your main focus, making a sell, it would still take time plus many other variables to consider. While we’re on that subject, we can just conclude by saying ‘time enough for those later’.
I do not think we should rush our best product, anyway.
Begin by loving what you do, and doing what you love. Hope for the best, and produce your best.
I have sold only a handful of different works, to date, but I have written literally a dozen books by now. Granted they’re Poetry and short Children Stories, and these two fields generally have not a wide audience willing to splurge.
But honestly, just seeing my finished products give me a great feeling of accomplishment.
Also, I still have my day job, so there you have it. After all, even a passionate, highly-enthusiastic aspiring writer needs to eat.
You can find my Amazon page here https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01M0I38QY