Want To Be A Better Writer? Do It For A Living
You Won’t Look Back
I currently work as a content strategist. That’s a fancy way of saying that I create content, primarily written, for the company I work for.
As it turns out, writing for a living has already improved my writing in the short length of time I’ve been doing it.
Firstly, the more you write the better you get at it. That’s Writing Advice 101. Chances are, you’ve heard that little old nugget before and you’ve rolled your eyes and thought, “Well obviously, that’s common sense.”
I did the same. But since starting this job, I’ve written a lot. I write most of the day, and then I get home and I write some more. It might sound like its exhausting but the opposite is true. I feel like writing is easier for me.
Practice really does make perfect, or at least as close to perfect as I can get.
If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the reason writing a lot helps is that you’re more regularly in the right frame of mind to get stuff down on the page. I can’t sit around for hours without writing a single thing. I’d lose my job.
So I have to write. And because I have to write, I get better at it.
And the pressure of producing content for my employer brings me on to edits and feedback.
Every writer dreads opening up some feedback on their writing. It’s your baby. It’s only natural that you want to protect it.
But when you write for a living, you’re writing stuff for other people. They ultimately own the content you’re producing and so it has to meet their standards — regardless of whether they match yours.
At first, I must admit, the feedback hurt. It wasn’t bad, far from it, but the whole process of having your dearly constructed sentences torn asunder and cast out does, and perhaps always will, hurt.
Writing for a living won’t remove feedback. Course it won’t. What it will do is make it easier for you to deal with it.
I now have an almost reserved detachment from my writing. I don’t get emotionally involved. It’s work. That’s all.
I’m proud of it, sure, and I’ll always put the effort in, but I don’t take edits personally.
And this had bled through into my personal writing as well. Writing is work. Not a hobby. Or, at least, it isn’t a hobby to me — someone who wants to make money doing it.
That shift in perspective has helped improve my writing enormously.
I guess the moral of this story is that one of the main ways you can become a better writer is to write for a living.
You’ll improve and hone your craft, you’ll make some money, and what’s more — you’ll enjoy doing it.
It’s a win-win-win.
If you want any advice on how to go about getting a writing gig, then please do let me know in the comments below and I’ll try and help you out!
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