Steering Your Career

Originally posted 5-Jan-2010

In the Novel Workshop's Workshop, I'm attempting to show others how to first choose, then steer, and then maintain their novel writing career.

That's a daunting task.

There's so much information to take in; learning your industry, understanding your market, reading your "competition", staying on top of trends, learning to socialize, and seeing if you even have what it takes to write in the genre you chose - more than the one book that took you five years to write.

I started the Novel Workshop nearly a decade ago and I've seen a lot of people fail because they didn't grasp the concept that this is a career. Investment is required, an investment of time and energy - lots of it. Or I've seen people who choose the genre they like to read, naturally assuming that this is the genre they'd be able write in only to fail because that's not what they see, it's not what they feel. Their chosen genre entertains them, but does not fulfill a certain need. Most of these writers haven't learned yet - they still very well could - that their genre might be different, that the stories they need to tell require a slightly different medium.

They failed. That was it. They were done. See ya later, buh-bye.

You don't want to fail. No one does. Well, that guy over there, he's okay with it, but it's called a psychological issue called a "well balanced" personality and I doubt it's true existence. If you're going to succeed, you literally have to sit down with yourself and ask some tough questions.

Can you see yourself doing this ten years from now?

Are you writing in a genre that will keep you motivated for another dozen years?

Do you need to switch to a subgenre?

Do you enjoy reading your competition?

Can you do this much work for this little reward for a substantially long time?

Are you constantly negative on yourself?

Do you cause yourself to succeed or to fail?

It takes a very strong person to be a writer. It takes a highly successful person to become a really brilliant author. Do you have what it takes?