It’s so easy to try out different forms of writing and producing when you’re a creative person. And when you’re first starting out as, say, a journalist, copywriter or freelance book/script writer, you know there is pressure on you to earn regular money. Enough to pay for food, rent and going out.
In fact, when you’re in the process of “finding your voice” – that enigma which represents you as a person that all writers and publishers seem to talk about (and which, by the way, is constantly changing and always will do so until you die: it’s an ethereal language definer which is actually about how confident you feel about your writing at this particular time in your life…enough to share it with the world?) – you can quite easily get dragged into doing all kinds of different writing.
Just be wary of this though: as much as you can, try to stay true to the kind of person you are and the kind of writing you want to do. If you are passionate about wildlife and love writing articles about butterflies, I’d suggest you steer clear of architectural structures from the 19th Century. You may just find it too hard to wade through and put you’re all into writing about something completely alien to you.
Equally, if you’re obsessed with sci-fi writing, perhaps think twice about contacting Knitting Weekly to see if they’ve got any articles they need doing.
This all seems like commonsense, of course, and does apply to all kinds of professions not just writing, but so many writers – myself included in the past – find themselves in the desperate position of needing to write anything for money.
But I found this is a false hope approach to writing. Yes, you’re writing and that’s great. But are you truly being yourself in your writing and using your inner passion to do so?
The answer is: probably not.
What you will find is that you get stressed, uptight and find it hard to write because you’re churning out something about a topic you couldn’t care less about. This topic actually starts to become a block to the work you really want to do because your mind – especially the creative part of it – knows damn well what you’re supposed to be writing, yet here you are not doing that.
Writing anything for the money works for some people. But for true, talented writers – storytellers that is – you’ll only be able to do that for a short while. It’s just a matter of how long you can ignore the niggling inner voice, the rising levels of anxiety and stress your mind/body are showing you that it really doesn’t like not doing the writing you’re meant to do.
My advice is: before you make yourself too stressed trying to plough through crap you hate writing, decide to be true to yourself and only write what you want to write. Okay, so that might not pay the bills but I can promise you, you’ll feel a lot better, become happier, more confident about your writing and be far more productive.
And the more productive you are, the better writer you’ll become.
So hop to it: do what you love and love what you do.