Archive for February 23rd, 2011

How do you start being a writer?

I had this email today, and have to share it. ‘I am in my early 30s and took a degree in IT. I have had 3 jobs in the past 10 years and feel this is still not where I am meant to be. But it was drummed into me that you can’t get a career or financial stability as a writer. It’s all I ever do in my spare time. I borrow about 7 books from the library each week, I love to share what I see in the world with others. How do I take that first step? Jes’

Jes, you are starting the way all writers do, by doing it because you can’t help it and because meanings nudge you wherever you look. That’s what I did (you can read more about it here).

I’m sorry to say the naysayers about writing income are right. Most published writers don’t earn enough from writing to do it full time. But you can still do the day job and count yourself a full-blooded writer – that’s what the vast majority of published writers are already doing. So IT isn’t where you want to be – but it doesn’t have to define and confine you. It’s what makes your really important work possible. Here’s an excellent post on the mixed blessings of a day job from Joanna Penn.

As for careers? There are no guarantees that you will get a lucky break. Or that before then you will happen upon the right teachers. Or that when you do you will be receptive to learn. The only way is to start and see where your quest takes you.

But how do you take the first step? Keep reading, keep writing. Keep trying to find out how to make stories out of those half-understood murmurings, so that others can hear their importance too. And do you know what? You have already started.

Guys, how did you start being a writer? And what would you tell Jes?


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