Thursday, August 1, 2013

Are you a writer? Be honest.

Be honest. Are you a writer? I mean, really a writer? 
What defines a writer? What exactly is the job description? I can't tell you how many times people have asked me, "So what are you doing with your life right now?" 
To which I reply, "I'm working." 
"Where do you work?"
"I'm a writer." 
Insert a slightly bewildered look here. Then, "What do you write?"
I have to pause and collect my thoughts. "I write novels. But I also write articles and travel reviews and press releases...and other stuff." 
And when you say it like that, my profession sounds remarkably boring, doesn't it? I write...stuff? 
No. I do so much more than just "write stuff." Being a writer encompasses a broad spectrum of descriptions, and for the sake of entertainment (and maybe an inherent desire to validate my profession to a world that may or may not understand what a writer really does for a living), you'll find the job description of my life as a writer below. 
It's pretty random. 

  • Novelist. A writer is, first and foremost, somebody who dreams of publishing a book. And not just publishing it, but selling it. Writers are always authoring new books. Always. We spend a few hours every day coming up with creative content, whether it's writing an actual book or outlining the plot of our next great written adventure. 
  • Content Creator. My very first job as a "writer" came when I was in High School. I worked as an SEO content creator for a company based in the UK. I had to write 500 word articles in three different ways, and at the same time, make sure the keyword density was just perfect enough to make it buoy to the top of search engine results lists. And I did it all day, as fast as I could, and everything had to be void of typos. It was a pretty stressful job, because the turnaround time on the articles could be killer. But it was a job, and it was in the field of writing. So who am I to complain? 
  • Journalist. Freelance journalism is one of those phrases that you hear and assume that somebody is hawking their articles to The LA Times. Not the case with me. I worked as a freelance journalist for about three years, which is basically like being an independent contractor. I wrote thousands of articles for clients all over the world. I wrote travel reviews, I typed up press releases for films, I covered the opening of the Alexander McQueen exhibit in New York City, I co-wrote an e-book, I wrote description pages for eBay, I wrote how-to articles for beauty websites and came up with catch phrases for businesses. Speed is what keeps you ahead of the competition in the world of freelance journalism. The faster you can research, write, source and turn around an article for a client, the more successful you will be. 
  • Publicist. As a freelance journalist, I also worked as a publicist for publishing and book tour companies writing - you guessed it - press releases. This was probably one of my favorite jobs. You're given a block of information and then you take it and make it entertaining - turn into an AP style article. It's fun. I do a lot of publicity these days, too, working for small publishing houses on a daily basis. 
  • Consultant. When you reach a certain level of success, you can start broadening your horizons. I work as a consultant for people who want to know how to write a book, how to plan it out, how to sell it and how to create a name for themselves on the web. 
  • Creative Writing Teacher. Perhaps my favorite part of being a writer is being able to teach. Anybody from adults to children are always interested in learning how to tell a story, and that's something I love to show them how to do! 
  • Screenwriter. Writing screenplays for Hollywood? Yes? No? Maybe? This is a fun, useful skill to have. It takes a little practice, but you never know. It might come in handy someday...
  • Social Media Manager. I've worked as a social media manager, too, believe it or not. It's basically an extension of being a publicist, but with more authority. It's all about coordinating things to get your client's name out in the public eye, and it always comes back to writing. 
As you can see, when somebody says they're a writer, it doesn't mean that they simply sit around at a desk all day and stare into space. Writing is the same thing as owning a business. There are a lot of subsections under the main header. And now, after reading this entire article over, I might seriously consider hiring a personal assistant to help me out. 
Anybody up for hire? 
Now, dear readers. Ask yourself the question, Am I a writer? And answer honestly. Be proud to be literary! Not everybody can be a writer. It's very special. If you are, you've been given a gift.    
Use it wisely. 


  1. Aw you made me feel super special. I am a writer. Mainly a novelist/poet.

  2. Amazing! As a former magazine journalist, I've done my fair share of freelancing.
    So how do you avoid burn-out and stay motivated?


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