What Kind of Writer are You?

Some years ago, I was hired by a local woman to help organize her computer files.   As I worked we visited and I learned she was a writer.   A paid writer.  And had been for over 50 years.

Not too long after, she hired me to do formatting for a company booklet she had been hired to create.

And then, she asked me to find some relevant pictures…and then, I passed on some research I found while looking for pictures that I thought was relevant to her writing project…

In short, I ended up helping her to write the booklet.

And I gained a mentor.

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This woman’s CV is amazing – which she sent to me to show me how it’s done.  Half-way through the first page, I was almost giddy with joy over my luck at happening onto such a talented and widely-versed mentor.

And she, in her own way, deemed me fit to take on for ‘developing’ as she said.   She had ‘developed’ many writers over the years and that she deemed me worthy was a huge ego boost – – at least for awhile…

Lesson #1 – If you are to be a freelance writer, you must have a high tolerance for financial uncertainty.

Check!  I’ve been married to a gambler, been unemployed and self-employed more times than I can count – No problemo…

Lesson #2 – Before you ever write a single word for an article, you will know which publication it is for, what their readers want, what their advertisers expect and which issue you will submit it for.

Whoaaa….. Lesson #1 was so easy – – but this, this sounds like ….WORK!    What are you trying to do?  Kill my muse?!?

I got many other lessons from her during our time together, but let’s suffice it to say that she was somewhat disappointed in my response to #2 and while she continued to mentor and hire me for various jobs, all offers of developing me into a freelance writer were cheerfully and gently declined.

Just not my style.

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I’m a prolific writer, and I can write on schedule if I have to, but why do it the hard way?   Some days, I write 5, 6 or 8 posts – then I take 3 or 4 days off – – why force it?

I can usually whip out 3 or 4 chapters a day on my various projects when the ole’ gray noodle has had plenty of contemplating time –  I do not bemoan the ‘fermenting’ portions of my writing journey – I simply turn my mind to other matters and let my subconscious figure out how the evil witch managed to get into the palace in the first place…

This is why I have five different manuscripts in various stages of completion…

I write everyday, just not always on the same project.

Why am I telling you this?   Because these past few months, I realized the way I go about writing and editing is often on the list of ‘no-no’s’ from those who Know what it takes to earn your living from your writing.

The few times I tried to ‘buckle down’ and commit to seriously earning my living from my writing, life became bleak and stressful.   As I hawked my wares, and responded to ads that wanted 400 words of web copy with 360 instances of various keywords, my soul died a little more each day.

So I left it behind and went back to what I knew and enjoyed.   Writing for the pure joy of it.   I decided if ever I earn a living from writing, it simply must be from book sales – because sending me through a checklist of writing ‘do’s’ is akin to hobbling a horse and asking it to gallop.

Just doesn’t happen….

Fortunately for me, there is a generous and kind writer’s community here on WordPress – I no longer agonize as much over the ‘what to do’ lists and question whether I am a writer or not…

For here, there is truly  ‘to each his own’ community support.

So I wrote this for anyone who may be questioning their own writing style – if it works and brings you joy – great.  If not, question what, exactly, needs to change.

It may not be you, at all – it just might be the venue you’re writing in/for…

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20 thoughts on “What Kind of Writer are You?”

  1. That was extremely useful to read. I like the way you think. There is a very fine line between enjoying writing and writing for a living but the differences in process are huge. When writing becomes a next ‘sale’ or a ‘monthly pay packet’ the creativity must surely be taken out of it? So is it better to create first (with enjoyment) and then sell it? Is that where books trump freelance do you think?
    PS. Would love to know where else/what else you write 🙂

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    1. Thanks for the visit and thoughtful comments, Sophie – 🙂 Yes, for myself, I’ve settled on writing for the enjoyment of it, but doing so in a way that formatting/outputting a printed or ebook is the natural next step –
      I’m currently finishing up all my copy for my new website (which I’ll share/announce the ‘launch’ of here), next on the list is a brief history of my local area that will be included in a Local Resource Directory I’m compiling for publication in 2016 – then, then, perhaps I’ll finally finish up my other works in process: Inheritances – Functional First, Pretty if Possible & All that’s Possible (and Probable)… 🙂 Rest assured I’ll be announcing them here as they are ‘born’ – until then, the archives here are the only current public works – 🙂 Thanks!

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  2. I am so with you there! I’ve tried to get myself into freelancing…and my passion just does not yet include all the crap that goes along with making money out of it. So I’ve still got my day job (which I love sometimes) and I write for self-exploration, creative expression, and fun. Maybe someday I will get more motivated to make money out of it, but I am not ready to risk losing the joy of writing yet!

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    1. 🙂 Over the years, there have been many instances where my ‘hobbies’ made me money – but I also learned that in some cases, turning the hobby into a money making venture sucked the joy right out of it – so I’m better now at determining what I should pursue as a business and what should remain free-time activities… 🙂

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  3. I’m with you on the writing. I’ve done some freelance work, but going with my own schedule is more productive. Sometimes things need to incubate before I write too. And, like you, I have at least four book projects in the works. 😉

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  4. This reminds me of why I had to get out of academia. I was good at the research and the academic writing but I did not like it. I did not fulfill me. I was killing my soul a little bit more each day.

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  5. Good post. I write for money and I write for enjoyment – often both. In my day job, as a technical writer (which I enjoy very much by the way), I have to produce work on schedule. In my freelance business, I have to do the same. When I write fiction, which is what I am trying to do now, in my ‘spare’ time, I don’t like the structure that I use for my paying gigs. I want to write when I want to write, but that is not the best way to complete a novel.

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    1. Boy, you are a writer 24/7! Or…do you sleep? LOL – This is what I mean about finding what works for you – you sound like you have successfully transferred skills from one type of writing gig to others!

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