When people say they want to be writers, that can mean many things; there are many kinds of writers to be.
journalism, technical writing, advertising. There are educational
materials and novels and poems, mysteries and biographies, memoirs and
instruction books, screenplays and short stories. At some point a writer
gravitates toward a genre and an audience.
Along the way,
writers also discover what they expect and hope for in terms of pursuing
commercial success. There are writers publishing their own work,
bringing out multiple books a year, figuring out how to get their work
edited and marketed and formatted. There are writers who publish poems
in a local newsletter for free and find it a happy addition to their
lives, but they make their living in other ways. There are writers whose
chief aim is to do something new with language or form, and writers
whose chief aim is to reach a large general audience.There are writers
everywhere along these spectra, writers with many different goals.
own expectations and desires have changed over the past few years. I've
come to see how much writing vs. everything else (editing, marketing,
selling, teaching, etc.) I want to do. I've come to learn where I want
writing to fit into my life. I've come to the point where what I have
and what I want are much more closely aligned. I've thought about how I
want to spend my time and energy.
Sometimes I read writing advice
about how writers have to do X, Y, and Z to be successful, when what
the advice-giver really means is that X, Y, and Z gave him the kind of
success he wanted. There is a natural variation in whether X, Y, and Z
will produce the same results for every writer who wants that brand of
success. But before that, a writer can ask: Is that the career I even
want? Or does my ideal career look somewhat different?