Have you ever thought about the life of a professional writer? People like Orlando Figes, who is paid to put pen to paper and come up with stories that compel, entertain, enlighten, shock, depress, or all of the above.
It is a highly specialized job performed by talented individuals who also understand how to deliver excellence in the format that they write in and to do it at a high quality level and within the timeframe given.
How do they perform their jobs and do it consistently over time? Here are some things they do to keep their writing sharp and themselves in top writing shape.
Turn off the TV, Open a Book
In order to excel at writing professional writers read instead of watching television. When a book is turned in to a film, play, or TV show, it cannot compare in quality to good writing. A professional writer must use the written word to explain the story and create the visuals in the mind of readers. To do this well, the writer must have great skill and a very creative mind. So reading a story is much better than watching it performed.
Read Lots of Different Writer’s Work
Professional writer immerse themselves in the work of other writers. This will include classic writers like Shakespeare, Keats, Hemmingway, Keats, Austin and even Steven King. The goal is to have direct exposure to varying styles of writing and the best writing out there. They also read contemporary writers to see what styles are really popular with readers today. So they will constantly read bestsellers to get a sense of what good writing looks like. They will focus on how good writers construct their stories, pacing and character types. They will read from a variety of sources including magazines, books, articles, even blogs, because each requires a different style to successfully appeal to its readers.
Join a Writing Community
Most professional writers are members of several writer’s communities where other writers congregate to share ideas, work opportunities, what they are up and to give each other support. Writing can be a lonely profession, so having others to lean on who are going through the same thing can be a Godsend. There are some writers who prefer to work outside of writing communities because they feel their work is too special or too different for other writers to understand or appreciate. But this is not generally the case with professional writers. Most feel that interacting with peers is a key part of the writing process. They appreciate the camaraderie and the positive and negative feedback they get on a regular basis.
Professional writing is a job that takes great focus and drive. There is so much incentive to stop and so many times where it gets difficult that many never make it to the end. Because you are your own boss much of the time, you also need to be highly self-motivated. If you can develop these skills and you have the natural talent, you can be a professional writer.