Writing is a beautiful thing. It’s something that allows you to express yourself in an infinite number of ways.
Think of the options that we writers have in front of us. We can entertain, we can persuade, and we can inform. And we can do any of these with enormous passion.
What’s more, there are lots of different formats in which we can express our words. There are even formats that no one has discovered yet. Just think, a mere thirty years ago, there were no such things as a PDF document or even a text.
What will happen over the next thirty years?
A writer’s most significant dilemma
In a world chock full of opportunity for writers, there can only be one problem. “What kind of writer do I want to be?”
This is a very personal decision and one that really depends on who you are.
For instance, I prefer writing essays and articles myself. I’ve written several books – a few of them have done relatively well – but that’s not for me. Books require a massive block of time and many different activities, and you have to wait months to see if it succeeds.
I like writing a few articles every day and moving from topic to topic. It allows me to cast many nets into the water, whereas you have just a few nets out there with a book. However, one great book can make you very wealthy; it’s very doubtful that an article would ever do that.
The deeper need
Everyone has a more profound need, and it relates closely to our purpose in life. Whatever this is, it can only be undertaken by us alone – and no one else.
This is why we usually don’t succeed at something by following someone else’s blueprint for success. We’ve all seen them – the millionaire who shows you ‘exactly’ how he or she do it. Yet when we try following the blueprint, we fall flat on our face. This is because it’s their blueprint and not ours.
No one but us can undertake our purpose. The path requires our unique set of skills.
Sorting out your writing desire
The first thing you’ll want to discover is what you’d like to express in words. When you boil it down, writing can only have one of the three primary purposes, and we mentioned them earlier.
Your content can either entertain, inform, or persuade. To be more specific, we are talking about fiction, non-fiction, and copywriting. Sure, these can be broken up further, and there can be combinations, but in the end, these are the basic functions of writing.
One way to figure out what feels right is to pay attention to how you observe the world in a relaxed setting. Here are some examples:
- Sit in a mall or airport and do some people watching. Now try inventing a story around people that catch your attention. Determine where they come from, what they do, and what they are thinking about.
- While scrolling over stories in your newspaper or a magazine, trying selecting a small back story. Now use that topic as a basis for a story. What would be its central message?
- Take a nature walk or a hike. Observe the scenery and pick out a flower or tree that interests you. Now start drafting a poem in your head about how that makes you feel.
- Start perusing through images online or in a photo album. Pick out a photo at random. How does that image make you feel? What does it make you think about? How does it stir up your imagination? Write down your thoughts.
As you can see, all of these are simply arbitrary actions, but they are ways of tapping into how you think and feel about the world around you. When you start observing things in this way, it will become clear how you naturally express yourself. This is key to determine the kind of writer you are.
Discovering your writing medium
The next step in your writing quest is identifying your preferred format.
As I mentioned earlier about myself, I preferred writing articles and essays over writing books. And the reason for this is that I prefer completing smaller tasks over bigger tasks. In other words, I like getting smaller wins every day as opposed to getting one big win every six months or so. It’s the way my personality works, and I understand that.
Your task is to understand what best suits you. Your choice becomes much clearer when you know yourself. When you know your strengths and weaknesses, the best writing format will become known much quicker.
However, never forget that knowing yourself is a lifetime process because we also evolve along the way.
Nothing is written in stone
As you progress into polishing your writing craft, understand that nothing is ever permanent. Over time, you may discover that you don’t want to write non-fiction any longer. Instead, you’re yearning to write poetry. Or I might decide to write novels in a few years – who knows?
This is part of being human. Sometimes our life purpose changes; sometimes, we needed to travel one path to prepare us for the next one. So allow yourself to ponder and investigate occasionally – when the urge hits you.
One last piece of advice for writers seeking their proper path. Try to leave financial gain out of your thoughts. Whenever thinking is allowed to become monetized, it tends to become the objective itself and not genuinely use your talents.
Do not worry about finances at this point, as that will take care of itself. Besides, people have become wealthy in an infinite number of unexpected ways.