My favorite villian is Grant Morrison, The Writer from The Suicide Squad. His super power was writing, and he wore a laptop strapped to his chest. Whatever he wrote on this laptop became reality – essentially he wrote his own future.
While The Writer was defeated in the end by a fatal case of writer’s block, in regular life we seldom have a deadline looming over us quite so viciously. Every writer, however, has the power to write their future.
Writers have a carte blanche in society. They can move in circles that would otherwise be closed to them, and only because they wield the power of the pen. A few well placed words can make or break a hero, give a voice to the oppressed and set the past in stone. As propaganda writing can lend super villian powers to the ill intended. At it’s best, a writer can lift the spirits of the world.
Unfortuneately, we can’t simply write that we are successful and have it be so. Many talented people let their passion grow stagnant because they are waiting for the perfect time to start. They say when they get a better computer, or get an amazing idea, or their own little work nook… then they can start. Their talent and desire festers inside them, and no matter what they do, they can never quite feel fulfilled.
The other thing that is true of writers is that they need an audience. I know that many reading this will shake their heads at this point, and mutter to themselves that they do it “for art’s sake”. If that were so, save a forest and just keep your thoughts inside. For everyone else, I want to see you set the world on fire with words.
The wonderful thing about literature is that there can never be too much. There will always be room for new perspective, new thoughts, and new words. The time to do it is now, as soon as you finish reading this. I started out writing with no degree, with no writer’s nook and no special equipment. Here’s how I made it.
Step one: Do (almost) anything for a byline. Unlike models, no one is going to see you sitting in a coffee shop and discover you. A writer with no writing can’t get paid. In the beginning, you need to show your talents off anywhere you can. Look in the publisher information of every small magazine and local paper you can get your hands on. They are usually looking for material and are glad to publish new writers. This is your ticket to getting noticed, and having real work to show prospective editors. You probably won’t make much, if anything, but getting your byline out there is worth it.
Don’t forget that your signature on every letter and email you write is just as important as your official published byline. Never miss a chance to send a compliment to the editors about a story or writer they’ve recently published. Everyone loves to have their work noticed. I once landed a $1500 a month position writing all because I took the time to write a letter to the editor complimenting him on his great publication. Empty flattery is worth little, but a well written and honest compliment is always welcome, and your signature is as good as a byline.
Step two: Hoard your clips. The first thing I ever got published was a small opinionated letter to the editor. It was only a few words, but at the end it had my name printed boldly against the newsprint. I clipped it and saved it. That was my first official clip, proof of my work that I could show an editor. Smaller papers are often looking for “stringer work”. Stringing is just doing storys for a newspaper that the regular reporters don’t have time for. I’ve made from $20 to $50 per article that way, photographs are usually worth an extra $5.
Clips are like your license as a writer. I save mine in a big artist portfolio so they are kept safe and can be paged through. It doesn’t matter if you were paid for them or not. All that matters is you have published peices of paper with your name on them. Now that so much is on the internet, your links are also your clips. Have a folder where you keep the title and link to everything you get published. I keep mine on my blog on my author info page.
Step three: Share your talents. Give your talents away to everyone who will take them. I have had so many doors open up because I volunteered to lend my writing for a good cause. I’ve written press releases, contracts, business letters, edited school assignments, church bulletins, Bible studies, and written many, many articles to help a friend promote their business or explain their cause. To those that are intimidated by the act, a writer is a blessing. My rule of thumb is, if it involves words and doesn’t hurt anyone, I’ll do it if I can.
As a result I’ve gotten much paid work. I once started contributing small romance stories to a lady I met in a chat room for her website when she complained she couldn’t get enough material. I started out free, but she was so grateful she started paying me $20 a story. Even though romance isn’t my genre, I was having fun with it, and learning some new tricks. Getting paid for it is like someone paying me to get a massage, which incidentally has happened to me, again thanks to writing.
To sum it up, to be a successful writer then write, often and for everyone. Think of all the ways you can share words, and then share them well. Every piece of work that appears from under your hands should be as powerful as The Writer’s, whether you are creating it to tell someone hello, or writing to save your life. Writing is wizardry with words.