I am off in less than an hour to the local high school to talk for Career Day. They want me to talk about being a novelist; I think because it is “career” day, I will talk to them about being a writer instead.
I have wanted to be a writer my whole life, and I have been able to make it happen because I was willing to write in other areas–public relations, news, features–while still writing and learning how to write. I also learned to write what other people wanted rather than just what I wanted. When it came time to getting published in magazines, I found the same thing applied. As I tell my students who ask how to get an A in a class, the secret is simply giving the professor–or the editor–what they are asking for.
Being a career writer means being versatile. It’s something I am trying to help my students accomplish, and appreciate. And I know it is the key to career survival. That and dependability. A writer who is dependable but maybe not so talented is worth much more to an editor than one who is full of talent but doesn’t meet deadlines.
So I will probably burst a few bubbles with my talk today. But I firmly believe it takes a great deal of tenacity and dedication to make it as a writer.
Whatever “make it” means.