Readers, I’m delighted to feature fellow Tribe Writer and playwright Lindsay Price as my latest guest poster. This month she’s asking three very important questions any writer needs to remember — and I’m certainly filing them for future reference. Please stop by her website and say hello when you’ve finished the post. Take it away, Lindsay!
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Writers ask many questions during their career: How do I get published? How do I make a living? How do I sell more?
Writers who use social media to further their careers have even more questions: How do I grow my blog? How many times a day should I tweet? Which social media platform should I use?
With all these questions, it’s easy to lose sight of your writing goals.
I know. At thirty I felt lost at sea as a writer. I had no idea what I was doing or where I was headed with my career. Fifteen years later I have a writing life that I love with a clear plan for the next fifteen years.
Every writer only needs to ask themselves three simple questions to find career clarity.
What do I want?
It’s not enough to say, “I want to write.” You’ll need to be more specific. Do you want to make a living? Do you just want to finish something? Do you want to write as a hobby or a profession? What do you want to work on specifically? There are so many genres and subgenres of writing. Where will you focus?
Hone in on exactly what you want to achieve as a writer. This will affect how you work, what you work on, and how much time you spend writing.
Who is My Ideal Audience?
Who do you write for? Is it The Hunger Games crowd or those who love historical romance? Think specifically about your audience.
Write a description of your ideal audience member. What do they look like? What do they do for a living? How much disposable income do they have? What do they do in their spare time? Where do they hang out online?
This exercise will define every step you take with your career. A clear understanding of your audience will dictate the tone of your blog posts, what kind of material you write, what you retweet, and the publishers you approach. For example, if your audience is primarily on Instagram, don’t focus on Facebook no matter how much you like it.
Don’t cast a wide net hoping to find a hit. Instead, define your audience to create a focused career strategy.
What is My Purpose?
Why am I writing? This is a question many writers forget to ask and yet it is the most important of all. Why do you write? What does writing do for you? Does it provide you with artistic satisfaction? Does it quiet the voices in your head? Do you write to change lives? Challenge? Entertain? All of these are valid choices but what is the right answer for you?
A purpose will give you drive, help you find subject matter and help you out in your darkest writing days. When the question What am I doing? rears its ugly head, you’ll know.
When I was thirty I answered these three questions for myself. And it was the turning point of my entire career. I defined my want and my purpose. Instead of writing with an ill-focused hope of being published or produced, I started writing for a specific audience. I became the writer I’ve always wanted to be.
Answer these three questions:
- What do I want?
- Who is my ideal audience?
- What is my purpose?
Create an action plan for each answer. For example, once you define your ideal audience, write down five blog post titles that would appeal to that audience. If your writing goal is to be published by the time you’re 30, find five publishers who focus on your ideal market.
Your action plan will make your time more productive, your writing more purposeful, and your career more enjoyable. You’ll be taking steps to achieve the best writing life possible.
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