Becoming a writer is never an easy task. And it's not the hard work involved with sitting down and getting it done that I'm talking about here. Nor is it the financial implications of you taking time off from more “productive” work to satisfy what others will call nothing more than a “whim”.
It's your mindset.
Far to the contrary of what people may think, writers are not born. They may have some innate talent, and some people are more inclined to write than others, but they all have to start somewhere. And until you get your mind right, you aren't going to.
And whether you believe it or not, this is the most difficult task of everything. And nobody can help you but yourself. But once you've made up your mind, you must realize that there's more than one way to go about this and although I can't generalize for every writer on the planet, I can tell you about myself and hopefully this will help all those who are thinking of writing, but haven't made up their mind as yet.
When I started writing, I had two options before me. I could write a fantasy novel that would become an immediate hit (sort of like J.K.Rowling) or I could start writing more mundane, down to earth stuff that would put butter on the bread for my family.
I chose to go with the latter. You could say that I took the easy way out by not giving in to my passion, but when you have a family with kids, your passion kind of takes a back seat to bread on the table. Also, although you may put up a front that you're as good if not better than Rowling, there's always that tiny voice inside you which says “You can fool everyone else, but not me. Do you seriously think that a greenhorn, an amateur, a person who's never written before like you, can actually become like Rowling. Come back down to Earth.”
Don't get me wrong. I didn't think I'll fail. If you anticipate failure before you start, take my word for it, you are definitely going to. I was however unsure of how successful I would be. And I wouldn't know till I started, right? Sort of like how you can never learn to ride a bicycle without riding one. It's all part of the “mindset” I was talking about.
And so I started writing articles for a living.
To be frank, I wasn't making much money, but I stuck with it anyway. My logic was simple. Whenever you change your career line to take up something new, you have to give yourself time to get to know the job. Only after that can you expect to start making money. This is why people don't like to switch careers because they will have to take a cut in pay when they do so.
Leaving aside the earning, I think that this is very important for every writer. It is only in very rare cases that people who have never put pen to paper can get success with their first work. Most successful writers have begun with failures. Even Rowling wasn't a stranger to failure and she probably suffered more than most other writers before her books came out. Just read up on her life on Wikipedia and you'll understand.
Although you couldn't very well say that I was a failure at writing, my starting to write articles came in helpful in another way. During the 4 years that I wrote for other people (including books that have become moderately successful on Amazon) I understood many things.
One of the most important things that I gained, was my writing style. Initially everyone copies others who they think write well, but over time, you kind of settle down to a style that is very unique to you.
The second and not too far distant from the first thing was that I understood what people wanted. To a writer of novels, this comes as failure where publishers decline to publish their work. To me it came in the form of people saying what they wanted out of my articles and being happy with what I gave them.
Not that I didn't make any mistakes, but one of the biggest advantages of doing my kind of work is that people are willing to work with you, especially if they feel that you have future potential. And so many of my clients sent me informative articles and even trained me to write better and it was all this that helped me polish my writing to a great extent.
The third thing is that you find out what interests you. During my writing years, I took up all kinds of work, writing cookbooks, health and fitness articles, product reviews, technical, marketing and so on. And when you write across so many topics you find out what interests you and what doesn't. To me it was health.
Once these became set, all it needed was a push in the right direction, and this push came in the form of an online psychological assessment that I took at strengthsfinder.com. This test is great and I recommend that everyone should take it whether you want to become a writer or not. If you're honest with your answers, it gives you an amazing level of feedback on the kind of person you are and also encourages you to form an action plan on your future.
It was this test that finally pushed me into writing my book and since the time I took the test, I've already finished one chapter in my book on Diabetes.
I'm not done yet, and I'll keep posting on my progress. I'll also be available to anyone who wants any tips from me, and if I can help anyone to start writing, that's more than enough reward for me.