In the year and change since I launched this blog — and started writing full-time — I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in touch with lots of people who are interested in making room in their own lives for writing, sometimes as freelancers and sometimes just for fun. I’ve loved all of these conversations, not only because I typically feel an instant soul connection with fellow writers, but also because talking through the way that I’ve approached this whole journey so far usually gives me a chance to step back and think about what I might want to do differently moving forward. Since I work for myself, I often feel like I’m strategizing into a void, so talking about the writing nuts and bolts with people as fascinated by the craft as I am really (and selfishly) helps me get out of my own head. I give them some suggestions (or I try to!) and they make me feel like less of a one-woman show. Everyone wins, right?
In case there are other aspiring writers out there reading this who haven’t reached out to me directly (and you should feel free to contact me if you want!), I thought I’d put together a few basic tips that might give you the push you need to just dig in and get started. These are all really easy and should be helpful no matter what kind of writing you want to do. (If you like this post and want a more detailed edition in the future, please let me know in the comments below!) Keep in mind that I am by no means an expert. I have plenty of writer friends who might recommend different things, but when I look back on my experience growing as a writer over the last 15 months, this is what sticks out to me — either because I did it right or did it very, very wrong.
Here are a few things you can start with if you want to make writing (of any kind!) a priority in your life.
- READ, READ, READ. It sounds really simple, but I can’t overstate the importance of reading for writers. If you want to write, take the time you typically spend reading every day and add to it. Reading helps you develop your craft, but (for me, at least) it also offers a mental break from writing. Sometimes, I can’t help but get sick of the words I write myself, and I need to step away from that. Since I’ve started writing professionally, I’ve added more magazines, newspapers, and online outlets to my rotation, so I’m reading content outside of the (usually fiction) books that I’m always drawn to.
- Start a blog. Starting a blog doesn’t mean you need to have true Blogger-with-a-capital-B aspirations. It just means you’re setting up a space for yourself online where you can share your writing and ideas. Creating a more public platform will encourage you to write with some consistency, and if you’re planning to start freelancing at some point, it will be a great way for you to showcase your writing skills to editors early on.
- Seek out a writing community. One of the first pieces of advice I got when I decided to start freelancing was to find Facebook groups of other writers. Honestly, I hadn’t been a big fan of these groups before that, and I still struggle with some of them now (so many notifications! so much complaining!), but finding some way to network with people who are pursuing the same things you’re pursuing is obviously really helpful in the early stages. There are groups for aspiring freelancers, essayists, novelists… pretty much anything you can think of! If you need recommendations for specific groups, feel free to send me an email!
- Start with small chunks of time. Writing is a muscle, and if you’re not used to spending a lot of time doing it, it can take a while to work up to the point where you can sit and do it for hours (or days!) at a time. Set a timer for 30 minutes every day and spend that time writing in your journal or working on an essay. Even if you’re struggling with writer’s block for part of that half hour, don’t turn your attention to something else! It will get easier to put in the time if you practice sitting down in front of your computer and just. doing. it. This is an especially good tip if you’re trying to work writing in around a 9-to-5 job. Almost anyone can find 30 minutes to spare at some point throughout the day — even if it means waking up a little earlier : )
- Tell people. Just like anything in life, writing is a lot easier to take seriously if you have people holding you accountable to it. Make sure the people in your life know that you’re prepared to make writing more of a priority in your day-to-day routine. Hopefully, they’ll step up to keep you on track and give you a listening ear when you need one. When I’m going through a slump with working on my book, I commit to texting one of my friends a random emoji every time I spend more than 30 minutes on it. Even an extra dose of accountability for those baby steps is helpful!
I hope this helps! Again — please, please let me know in the comments below if you’re interested in more content like this!
In the meantime, don’t forget to enter this month’s giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a this gold infinity charm bracelet from The Shine Project. What’s not to love about this?
All you have to do to enter to win is comment on my last post. I’ll be drawing and announcing the winner here on the blog on Tuesday 1/30, so get those entries in ASAP! Be sure to spread the love and share the link with them, too. Good luck!