I once read this great story about a young writer named Amanda Hocking. Hocking writes fantasy stories and became a guru of self-publishing (translation: financially successful) before getting a pretty sweet deal from a publisher for a couple million dollars.
But that’s not what I like about Hocking. What’s cool about her is that even as a young writer, she was smart enough to work as hard as possible on her writing and sell it in any way she could. She said in the story I read about her with the NYTimes that she treated writing as a job, and wrote even when she “didn’t feel like it.”
That mixture of old school and new school is a magic combination these days. The new ways to get ideas and information out put the power in the hands of writers. If you really want to write and publish something, nobody can stop you except you. You could still flop, but at least you’d be writing and trying to sell your writing. It reminds me of street musicians. They are out there, performing, doing their thing, even though it’s just on the street. They might be making $50 or $100 a day, but at least they are practicing, performing, and getting better (hopefully) at their craft.
Personally, I love street musicians just because of that. They overcome who knows what to get out and perform for strangers. Writers have to do the same thing. It’s easy to write in a journal and be bold about what you are saying when you know nobody is going to read it. It’s easy to write any old thing on your blog and post it for the entire Internet-using world to potentially see. But to write professionally and with a purpose is different. To write as a writer, regardless of external forces that might make it seem unfeasible for you to work.
There’s a great TED talk by a guy named Gary Vaynerchuk, called Do what you love (no excuses!). My favorite line in Vaynerchuk’s talk goes something like this: “If you love Smurfs, Smurf it up!” Well said, man.