What Successful Writers Do (Besides Writing)

Monday, May 02, 2016
The guy at the bank and I were discussing my business account when I said, “I’m my business. I’m a writer.”

He immediately leaned forward in his chair, eager to hear more. What do I write? Have I been published? Would he know any of the publications? People are often excited to meet a real live writer. I’m not sure why. Writing’s not that exotic, as jobs go. I mean, I love my job but some days, yeah, it can be a grind just like any other job.

And then the bank guy pulled up my account. I could see his keen interest suddenly turn to surprise, and I was pretty sure I knew why. People think writers make a ton of money. I’m not sure why about that, either. I mean, sure, Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, those superstar writers do make a ton of money. But most of us? Not so much.

At least, not from writing. But the bad news for writers is good news for wannabe writers. Namely, writers often want or need to supplement their income. And so they look for other ways to bring in the bucks. Like teaching.

Oh. My. Word. There are so many gifted writers out there who work as instructors in just about any field of writing you can imagine. Here at WOW!, you can find all kinds of classes, offered from all kinds of professionals. But we’re not the only ones offering courses so if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, just take a spin around the web. You’ll find more writing courses than you can shake a pen at!

And you know what else all those excellent writers are doing? They’re mentoring. There was a time when mentoring was something a writer was just lucky enough to find from an older and wiser writer who offered a helping hand. Now, chances are good that you can find a mentor who’ll happily take you on if your writing’s at a certain level—and you’re willing to pay a fee.

Search professional writing organizations for mentorship programs, or search by genre. You can even search plain, old "Writing mentorships."Thanks to the wonders of technology, mentoring doesn’t require face-to-face meet-ups. But make sure that you thoroughly vet a mentor’s credentials before you sign the dotted line and send money.

Oh! And don’t forget workshops! Many successful writers organize workshops, retreats, or conferences. You can get a ton of instruction in just a couple hours or a couple days, and you can meet like-minded writers, sharing a similar journey. Make new friends or even critique partners! (Or maybe find a mentor?)

Yep, the world is teeming with talented writers who offer lots more than just their latest books. And they offer their talents in a way that’s sure to meet any budget. There’s just no excuse for a wannabe writer not to take advantage of some of the best brains in the writing business. And then one day, you, too, can visit the bank and impress the heck out of someone.

Well, until that someone sees your bank account.

~Cathy C. Hall


Renee Roberson said...

Great points, Cathy! It makes me think I of a conversation I had at church yesterday. We were in a small group talking about our occupations, and one guy was wowed by the fact that I was a writer. He was joking about how he works in grocery store refrigeration system maintenance. I told him, "I guarantee you make a lot more money than me, so don't knock yourself!" It's funny how the notion of being a writer seems to glamorous to others, until they hear about our fluctuating bank accounts, and then they are stumped :-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

I had to laugh at Renee's comment. People think we're all making James Patterson-money. We aren't.

At least I'M not...

Cathy C. Hall said...

It's a funny thing, right?

I think I read where 90% of writers make less than $5,000 a year (from writing) and I was like...WHAT? And then I was like...um, yeah, that sounds about right. :-)

Linda O'Connell said...

Cathy, I state up front at the workshops I present, "Some years I earn enough money from writing for a beach vacation. Other times, I earn just enough for the gasoline to get us to the beach." It's a the writer's reality. Your posts are inspiring and REAL.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Another good one, but since I was so wordy at your blog, I'll just ditto Linda O'Connell's comment: Your posts are inspiring and REAL. You've been my Yoda a long time. I wonder how many other little grasshoppers you've helped along? Probably more than you will ever know.

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