by- Tom Kubrak
“Wow! You’re a fan of them too? I didn’t think I would find one of my kind at this event.” Hector, someone you just met, says jokingly while sipping at his glass of whisky at the local networking event you decided to go to.
“So hey I haven’t even asked you yet…” Hector begins
“What’s that?” you ask.
“…What do you even do?”
You take a long sip at your own beverage of choice before responding with, “You know I actually do a lot of things. Lke for one I like to…”
ERRRRRRRRRRR – That’s the sound of a really loud buzzer going off. Similar to the ones on a game show indicating you just gave the wrong answer to a question but 3 times as loud.
Are you a writer or not!?
If you are a writer, you would have answered Hector’s question with three simple words…
I’m a writer.
3 words… that’s all you need if you commit yourself to this craft, to be able to answer the most famous cocktail question of all, “What do you do?”
If you’re in the first year of your writing career, or even the first few weeks, YES it can be very intimidating when somehow you manage to get in front of the leading editor of the magazine you’ve wanted to write for for awhile now. So maybe you get a pass if you can’t answer that question.
But… if you’re in your 2nd, 3rd or 4th maybe(i’m heading into my 4th year currently) and you can’t answer that question directly then you may not be a writer. If that is the case and you’ve begun to embark on this journey I encourage you to reevaluate what you want to do with your life because, as you may know, getting stuck in a career you aren’t passionate about can lead to some not-so-good-things down the road for you. Once you’re too deep it can be extremely hard to find a way out.
The good news is, even if you’re considering being a writer, you’ve found something that isn’t usually on a list of career choices. Your guidance counselor most surely didn’t have this on the list of careers to choose from in high school or college. Mine surely didn’t. So… if you found this career somehow, I hope to meet you someday.
Passion into a Career
If you’re passionate about writing and ready to move from just writing for fun and into the realm of “I’m ready to turn my passion into a career” then answering that cocktail question with those 3 words has now become vital. Because that person could need a writer and you need people who need writers so you can meet next month’s rent, put food on your table and go out for a drink with a potential client.
The Beginning After You’ve Committed
Sure, in the beginning it’s going to be rough. You may have a client or none at all. Maybe, you still have to work that part time job or that full time job. But now that you’re committed, the tough reality of first starting your writing career can become a little less hard. Because… well… you’re committed and there’s no going back. No matter what trials you may face, you know it’s part of the process, and you need to suck it up and deal with it.
How to Commit
Step 1- Ask yourself “Am I a Writer?”
Step 2- If you answered yes then get a pen and paper and simply write “I’m a writer” on it. Then sign your name and date it. (Save this piece of paper. Maybe put it on your wall or in your desk somewhere as a reminder of your commitment.)
Step 3- Repeat what you just wrote on that sheet of paper out loud and to yourself 3 times.
If you don’t get a little excited, jittery, and crack a smile when you do this exercise then maybe you’re not or maybe you’re just a writer who doesn’t have much emotion. (There’s plenty of different things to write about. If you’re that writer though, then that romantic drama film may not be the first thing you should write.)
Regardless, do this exercise periodically if you’re ever feeling down about your writing or not having clients, to remind you that ‘this is what I chose to do with my life. No matter how tough it gets this is who I am. I have no other choice but to write.’
The Writing Journey
Whatever success means to you and your writing career will become evident to you down the road as you continue to write in these early stages of your own writing journey.
So you’re committed now… or you found out you’re not a writer? If the latter what next?
Start writing. Even if it’s just one minute a day. But do it daily. (I do believe in taking one day off to recharge but that’s a personal choice.) I will go into more detail about this in the second strategy.
by- Tom Kubrak
IG & Twitter @tomkubrak