At the suggestion of my loving wife, as put above, I’m writing a series of posts about my attempts to see if I can write for a living either entirely or at least in part.
I read an article recently about people changing careers during this year because of a number of reasons – redundancy, change in focus, or just a change of heart – and it made me think about my own position. This is not a tell all about me actually changing my career. It’s an exploration of my attempt to see if a change would be right for me and if I can actually make a living out of something that I currently do for my own personal enjoyment. This is hardly groundbreaking but since I’m hardly the first or last traditional “professional” to consider a drastic shift in gear, I hope it will be an interesting guide or contrast to others considering the same.
Where to start?
I write all day long, as do many of us – texts, emails, reports, memos – it’s endless writing on a laptop or phone with plenty of different styles friending on what you’re writing. In my current line of work, succinct and clear writing is incredibly important to be able to convey hours and hours of analysis and experience in a way that’s easy for your colleagues and clients to understand. So in one respect, I already do what I’m aiming to do for a living – job done?
Not quite, of course. My current writing are informative and I hope clear, but I would struggle to call them enlightening, entertaining or exciting. What I’m aiming for really is to write short stories, novels or some sort of non-fiction written in a more narrative style (a-la Michael Lewis).
For a while (as you’ll see on this site), I’ve written various different stories (mostly incomplete parts, some in full, mostly unedited), but in order to explore the next step I am thinking of taking a slightly more ordered approach.
- Research: always key, but less around how to write (I’ve read so many things on reddit, books, a masterclass – Margret Atwood’s and figured on structure and style from books I like) but on how to take the finished product and do something with it. I guess you can call this research into the business of writing. I know basically nothing and need to learn.
- Write: structured and unstructured. Make the time. Try ideas and throw them away. Find what fits with what I learn from the research above.
- Test: get some finished product and play with it. Try sending to agents, publishers, self-publish, promote. See what might work and try as many ideas from my research as possible.
- Goals: I’m going to set realistic goals for production rather than success. So I won’t set a goal to get published per se (though obviously that is a goal) but rather say that I’ll do this blog once a month, write once a week, enter X competitions, try Y channels and so on.
- Be realistic: it might be at the end of some time I realise this isn’t for me or I just can’t produce a quality set of stories that work both ways. If not, that’s fine. I expect at least I’ll learn a few things along the way.
So that’s it. If you’re interested then check in from time to time to see how I get on.