One of the things that I find so frustrating with advice for writers, is the sheer volume of task lists, buzzwords, and blog posts that infiltrate every corner of the space telling writers what they “should” be doing. You need to have a writer’s platform. You need to offer your work for free. You need to learn online marketing. You need to become an internet celebrity. You need to listen to other internet celebrities because what they say is “gospel” truth. You need to be careful what you say or who you say it to. You need to write in this genre because that’s what will sell.
For every piece of writing advice out there, including the bits that you’ll find on my blog, there are other articles that will say the exact opposite. Occasionally, you’ll even read other posts that will offer you data to support why one idea is better than another. These articles, including the ones that I write, are designed to be topical and timely and have a budding writer’s best interests at heart. Regardless of the content, advice is either based on a specific set of experiences or one person’s world view. The reality of this advice, is that it isn’t always good for what you need to do because it’s not tailored to you or your goals.
I can definitely understand how the sheer volume of writing and career advice may be very confusing for “new” authors. Back in college, there was a lot less noise for me because the writing programs I attended were a lot more heavily focused on the craft of writing as opposed to the business of writing. While the perfect course structure may include both, if you want to be a writer you can’t get away from…writing.
All the marketing, writing, publishing advice that’s out there won’t help you if you aren’t not sitting down in front of a computer or notebook and working out not only what you want to write, but how. That “what you want to write” may take the form of an autobiography or a short story, but that’s for you to figure out. No one else can tell you how to be a writer; while advice can help the only thing you absolutely must do if you want to be a writer is write, write, write and then write some more. Like anything in life, the more you write, the better you’ll get at it. Though even then, you will make mistakes. Everyone does.
The message I’m trying to express here, is that you really don’t have to “do” anything when it comes to developing your writing career, because you can’t have a career unless you know how to write in the first place. Once you learn that, then (and only then, in my humble opinion) you can sculpt, mold and formulate what type of a career that you want to have.
In other words, get back to writing!