My Best Piece Of Advice For Writers
Something interesting is going on in my world: it seems like every time I leave my house, I’m approached by at least two babes who read my blog. I’m not sure why there has been such an uptick lately. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing this for almost eight years, but whatever the reason, I love it. (If you ever see me in the street, please come and say hi! It makes my day.)
That being said, it’s amazing how quickly you can get into a deep and meaningful conversation with a total stranger. What went down last Wednesday is an excellent example.
I walked into a shop in Soho, and had barely touched the first rack of clothes before the woman sitting behind the counter said, “Are you Gala Darling? I love your blog!”
We started to chat. The babe in question, Kristine, told me she was a writer, too, freelancing for a handful of well-known ladyblogs. We talked for a few minutes, and just as I was about to say it was nice to meet her, and walk out of the store, she stopped me in my tracks.
“Hey… Can you give me some advice on making it as a writer? I feel like I’ve hit a wall, and it’s really frustrating. I’m not sure what to do next.”
She gestured at the shop she was sitting in, and laughed. “I mean, not that I’m not loving working retail or anything…”
My advice is simple. Make your own opportunities.
The world has changed. We cannot wait around hoping to be “picked”. The days of relying on a gatekeeper to hand you a golden ticket are over.
This fact scares the shit out of some people, and thrills others.
If you are the kind of person who wants a reliable pay-cheque and a cushy job that allows you to coast through life, then yes, this news might be terrifying. The days of working mindlessly, being an automaton, a cog in the machine, are numbered. The future belongs to the people with the chutzpah to grab every day by the scruff of the neck. The future will be owned by the people committed to creating the kind of world they want to live in.
Our biggest hurdle is getting over ourselves. We expect to be served a beautiful life on a silver platter, but that’s not how it works. We need to get out of our own way, and stop waiting around for other people to recognise our brilliance. We have to go out there and prove how great we are. We need to make ourselves indispensable, and demonstrate that we are so charismatic that there is no substitute.
If you want anything in this world, you have to chase it down yourself. If you want to embark on a project, start! Worry about money later. Don’t ask for anyone’s permission: you don’t need it. Don’t pitch it: you don’t need approval. Just do it yourself.
Start a blog. Update it as often as you can. Use it to figure out the kind of content you want to create, and the people you want to create it for. Start a magazine, and feature all your favourite new writers. Write a book and self-publish it! The options are endless.
But crucially, write all the time. Write for pleasure, not assignment. Write the kind of stuff you’ve always wanted to write. Don’t waste your time helping someone else build their platform. Build your own, instead.
The truth is that being in complete control of your destiny means you will be challenged every single day. That can be hard, frustrating, and exhausting at times. But the reward — of living a life you absolutely love — is more than worth it.
Go get ’em, tiger!
Photo from Kontur Kontur.