What Makes A Writer?
Updated: May 29, 2020
I've been asked many times why I write? My answer is always the same, "It's my passion." Writers come in all shapes and sizes. All different ages too. There are also many skill levels and all types of different writing roles. But is passion enough to make you a writer?
Passion helps. Liking what you do everyday can assist greatly in the quality of your work. When you spend eight hours a day working, enjoying what you do is a plus. The thing about writing is, the more you do the more practised you are and this in turn improves what you write.
I didn't set out to be a writer, it found me. When I left school I had no idea what to do as a career, all I knew was I wanted to work in an office. The criteria for my career was that it had to be in the creative field. My interest in reading (I'm an avid reader - then and now), typefaces, story building and graphic design, meant I didn't want to work in a bank or some other mundane institution. Being lucky enough to land a job as a junior secretary at the local television station, I knew I had found my niche. Beginning in the sales department, typing up ads, then progressing to writing ads was where I encountered my first love. The written word.
This career path took me from my home town on the NSW South Coast to Sydney, where I now live with my husband, two adult children and our gorgeous dog, Sassie. I have never veered away from writing, however I did have a couple of dead-end jobs during the early '90s. One was selling ad space in a local paper. This was something I was not particularly good at and left after three months.
My advice to any potential young writers is go for it. You will find it impossible to stop the writing bug from taking hold. It's a persistent task master. The question is, what type of writer are you? The choices are broad and diverse, but many people think of writing careers only in terms of journalism or authors. Now with the internet, the writing universe has exploded. Unfortunately, not everything you read on the internet is good, or true, but the opportunities for good writers are there. Look at the bloggers and vloggers who are making a good living from writing and posting on the internet.
The first thing you have to consider is the course of study you will need to do so you can head in the direction you desire. Journalism, communications, creative writing - these are only the beginning of courses on offer. Trawl university websites and creative institutes and research all the possibilities available. You will have to invest three or four years of your time into these types of study, although there are short courses available as well. If you are straight out of Year 12, it might serve you well to invest your time in a longer course.
Opportunities for writers are everywhere. The corporate world is always on the hunt for technical writers, specialist financial and social media experts. Think about the industry area you would like to specialise in and hone your skills to suit. Medical writing is another field requiring expertise and companies pay well for good medical and technical writers.
My career has given me many rewards, not least the creative people I have met and worked with. Surround yourself with like-minded creatives and let them mentor you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and listen to those with experience. All of this will make a writer out of you and you won't regret a moment. I know I haven't and I still have many years of writing ahead of me, along with lots of cups of coffee. Drinking coffee really does improve my writing, but I'm sure you will find what suits you. The most important thing is to keep writing because the more you do, the more you learn.