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  • Writer's pictureChristensen

Next Stop: Writing Career

Discussion Questions: Besides honing one’s skills in writing (such as writing every day), what steps should a writer take to gain a full-time career in writing? Can you give a step-by-step approach to a career in writing?

“If you can write one short story a week—it doesn’t matter what the quality is to start, but at least you’re practicing, and at the end of the year you have 52 short stories, and I defy you to write 52 bad ones. Can’t be done.”

-quote attributed to Ray Bradbury[1]

I love the above quote! It gives me this strange motivation to keep writing. I say “strange motivation” because the reality is that, even if I write 52 short stories, they might all suck. That’s the reality, right? I might suck as a writer. Of course, I think my writing pen produces honey, but so do every other writer who hides in the dark recesses of their home and types away vinegar. So, besides writing, what can I do to improve my writing and make a full-time career out of it? Please comment either on this blog directly or where I have posted it or even in an email to me ( I am truly curious what I need to do to turn my private tapping on the keyboard into something that will help my family eat.

Should I try to get a teaching post at Cambridge? Is that one of the steps C. S. Lewis would suggest?

If someone came to me and asked, “how can I become a teacher?” I wouldn’t say to them, “teach and then teach some more!” Yes, that will help them to become a better teacher, but it won’t help them to become a gain-fully employed teacher. I would suggest that they get a BA in Education or something similar. I could sit down with them and talk about what they have done already and what they should do next. So, why is it that when writers get together and talk about what needs to be done to have a career in writing the main advice is “write and then write some more!”?

I don't think seclusion suits me! But is that one of the steps Emily Dickinson would suggest?

One film-maker I like, Nas, recently posted why he doesn’t take a day off (See video link below).[2] In short, he says that he makes a new video every day to practice his skills and get better at them. I do see the benefit of doing that, but I also know the story behind this guy. He took classes on how to make films. He didn’t just grab a camera and start. He learned the ropes before he started, and then he took the dive from those ropes. He was able to make a career out of his passion because he had a great idea, but I also know that a lot of others like him did the exact same thing and were not successful. So, what made him successful over the others? Was it just the idea? The hard work? The connections? Is he truly successful in that he might not be able to make these videos much longer? Will he be able to transition into something else?

I want to know how I can be successful as a writer.

What steps would Endo suggest?

I will put a caveat here. I have a full-time career already: teaching. So, I’m not looking to do any writing that is monotonous and cruel to my sensibilities. Maybe that is asking too much? But I can always hope. I want to write fiction, stories…worlds and places that I can live in all in my head. Like any field, I know I have to put in my time before I can be considered for any promotions. I must work in the basement mail room before I can be trusted to sit in the CEO’s office. Usually, this is how it works, right? There are sometimes fast routes to success, but usually you need to prove your mettle before you can be trusted.

In short, what are the ropes for creating a career in writing? Once I know these, I’ll be more sure of my dive!

This is me writing and writing and writing some more. I haven't gotten to that writing career yet! Soon...

Okay. I’m finished. If you got this far, that is my only question. How do you make a career out of writing?


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