“It takes ten to fifteen years to become an overnight sensation.” – Robert Herjavec
Just saw an excellent documentary called: “Learning To Live With Myself” about the life and times of Merle Haggard. What can you learn from Mr. Haggard about becoming a writer? Just about everything you need to know.
Number one: Don’t imitate others, develop your own style. The best way I found to accomplish this is through blogging. By maintaining your own blog you are basically becoming yourself in public. The rigors of writing so often and putting yourself out there constantly, is a joy and a scary experience all at once.
Your blog provides the perfect platform to write from your heart, and it feels so great when you begin to find what I call “your tribe,” those who want to read what you have to say.
Writing for money or for others removes the freedom you need to express the experiences you have had, and what you have learned along the way. It naturally limits your freedom as a creative person. To use a music metaphor from the film, “The world beyond the charts is much more interesting!” In writing today, “the charts” equals traditional publishing.
Number two: Know what works and trust your gut. Merle Haggard was often encouraged to bring his music to the masses, to mainstream his product, but always chose not to. He instead followed his own path by trusting in his gut that his form of simple, non-judgmental, compassionate music belonged to the common man and woman.
Number three: Tell your own emotional truth. The life you have now is the only one you truly know. It is the only one you can express with emotional honesty to the rest of the world. Know who you are, and then express that in the world.
Number four: Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it. Creating life circumstances where you have the time and money to devote to your craft can be one of your greatest challenges as a writer. So stop making excuses and WRITE!
I spent decades dreaming about becoming a writer, but it was only when I lost my nice secure career in librarianship that I finally got past the absolute certainty in my head that I could never become one. Don’t do what I did, start a blog today, and then never look back!