You’ve made it — you’re a paid writer! Maybe you write advertising copy, video sales letters, memos and presentations, or greetings cards. You’re in this line of work because you love language and you were that child who always hung around the library: there was always a novel in you.
When your long term creative passion is an unpaid side-project, it’s tough to know if you’re moving forwards, treading water or just going round in circles headless-chicken style and never getting any better.
I don’t have an infectious disease but if I did, I imagine telling people you have one garners much the same reaction as telling people you’ve written a short comedy film. There’s normally some initial interest – even enthusiasm – but then a yawning chasm of social awkwardness opens as people think I might expect them to like the film or even worse – find it funny.
Indie authors might be revolutionising the publishing industry but bagging yourself a top agent can still make all the difference to your writing career. And that means you need to know to approach them, what they’re looking for and how they work. We asked Hellie Ogden from leading literary agency Janklow & Nesbit to give us a few pointers on what she looks for from a budding author.
At the time of writing, the top two trending articles on Buzzfeed are: ‘15 Struggles You’ll Only Understand If You’re Obsessed With Cereal’ and ‘The 15 Emotional Stages of Mobile Phone Ownership’. It’s safe to say that Cal Newport, author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, hasn’t read either.
Distractions like social media are enemy number one for the writer determined to finish. But distractions are only distracting because we let them – because they interrupt us when we’d rather be concentrating on the task in hand. Here’s our 5-step guide to keeping focused and beating your creative distractions.
Starting a new creative project is such a buzz, but sticking with it sucks. Some people seem blessed with marathon-level endurance needed to complete long-term goals while the rest of us flit from idea to idea. But, take heart! Research shows that perseverance isn’t something you’re born with, it’s possible for all of us to develop grit. Here’s how.
What keeps us going as writers? Staring alone at the blank page doesn’t always work; sometimes it’s about targets and teamwork. Christine Cochrane and Divyam Chaya Bernstein are two writers who recently completed the daily writing challenge NaPoWriMo. They tell us how they supported each other along the way.
Being creative makes us happy – that’s true – but not just because we just enjoy dreaming up new ideas and having flights of fancy. In fact, research tells us that what we really love about creativity is the daily drudgery – the slow and frequently painful trudge towards getting it done and mastering our creative persuit.
David Quantick is an Emmy-winning television writer, a radio broadcaster, novelist, journalist and author of the best-selling writing manual How To Write Everything. He has just published How To Be A Writer which features interviews with famous writers, performers and industry insiders including Jon Ronson, Emma Donoghue and Caitlin Moran. Here he interviews himself with questions selected at random from the book.