Taking Yourself Seriously As a Writer

When I first became a full-time writer, I got so upset with people who belittled me or my position. Since I worked from home, many people had it in their mind that I didn't have a job therefore I was available to do other things. For a while, this bothered me greatly. Finally, I discovered that others were not taking me seriously as a writer because I was not taking myself seriously. I treated writing as more of a hobby than a business. No wonder I wasn't getting any respect.

Below you'll find a few tips for treating your writing as a business:

1. Set up an office.
If you're going to work from home, you need a dedicated place for your writing. I understand that one of the greatest parts about being a freelance writer is that you can work from anywhere, and that's true. But you need a home base. You need a place where you can store your files, notes, and books. It doesn't have to be a large space, but find an area of your home and "rope it off" as your office. Whether you work from there or not is up to you, but you'll always know where to find your materials if you keep them in a specified place.

2. Set up a schedule.
Working from home offers a lot of benefits, one of which is freedom in your schedule. The problem occurs when you give yourself too much freedom. It's amazing how many things "come up" during the course of the day that will hinder you from your writing. Even though your schedule is flexible, it's still important to have one. Not all people are the same, so not all schedules are the same. You may be the type of person who loves a detailed minute-by-minute plan. If so, that's great as long as it works for you. For others, it works well to schedule a certain amount of time for writing or a certain number of pages to be written each day. Find what works for you and stick with it to the best of your ability.

3. Know what you do.
Another problem I faced when I told people I was a writer was that I couldn't answer their specific questions about my work. Many would ask, "What do you write?" In response, I would start rambling on about the different projects I had done in the past and what I planned to work on in the future. I had a lot of ideas, but everything was scattered and unclear. I couldn't answer their questions about my writing because I didn't know the answers. Take time to figure out what kind of writing you want to do. What does it mean to you to be a writer? Why did you choose writing as a profession? Find the answer to these questions so that you can relay them to others.

4. Hold yourself accountable.
It's easy to let things slip a little when you work for yourself. After all, there's no boss, so there's no one to answer to, right? Wrong! You have to answer to yourself. Make yourself accountable. If you didn't do any writing today, ask yourself why, and then determine if the answer is acceptable. If you don't hold yourself accountable for the work you're supposed to be doing, the work won't get done. I love to write, but there are days where I find myself doing everything but writing. During these times, I have to give myself a "kick in the pants" to get myself going again.

Being a full-time writer has so many benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. The biggest drawback of all is when you allow the many benefits to warp your view of your writing profession. If you're going to write as a hobby, that's fine. But if you want to write for a living, some major discipline and a change in mindset will be necessary. You can't expect others to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.

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