This is a guest post from ghostwriter Grant McDuling. You can also listen to an audio interview with Grant on making 6 figures as a writer here.
As a full time writer, I get asked so many times by all sorts of people what it takes to give up the day job to become a full time writer. This was a question I too had pondered long and hard years ago.
You see, I had been dabbling in writing since a school boy back in the 1960s and always felt this inner urge or compulsion to write. But as time went on and I grew up, realizing this goal became harder and harder because I found myself going down a path I didn’t want but had to pursue because commitments came along that had to be tended to. Commitments like paying the rent, buying food, paying off a car, to mention but a few.
The road to becoming a full time writer seemed to be an impossible one to follow — until I couldn’t resist the urge any longer and decided to do something positive about it.
My experience in the business world convinced me that, if I was to be serious about it, I would have to treat writing just like any other business. I was going to have to set about developing a plan of action.
This I did, but mostly by relying on non-business-like behavior; a healthy dose of enthusiasm mixed with gut feel and a liberal sprinkling of trial and error got me to the point where I at least had a system to work with. And it was a system based on business lines.
This gave me the courage to take the proverbial plunge, and I have never looked back.
So what was my system?
In simple terms, it consisted of 7 basic steps:
(1) Take control of your own future. Here I am referring to assuming responsibility for your own future. And become accountable. Have a plan to get rid of debt. You can read more about this in my Kindle book Write for a Living in 7 Easy Steps
(2) Getting into the writing profession needs the right ATTITUDE. It’s about seeing yourself as a professional writer.
(3) Become a PRACTICING writer. Just like lawyers or doctors are in private practice, so too must you be. Understand and make use of the principle of leverage to achieve more with less. Syndication is a good example here.
(4) Concentrate on sales and marketing. Understand that, as a practicing writer, you should be spending around 50% of your time on sales and marketing.
(5) Setting up and running a writing practice is very important. Understand you need a vision, a mission statement and a set of goals to succeed in this business.
(6) Get clear about what editors want. You’ll never succeed in this business if all you do is cheese off editors by missing deadlines, writing for the wrong audiences or write articles that stray from the point.
(7) Be able to cope with common problems such as the lack of motivation that is sure to set in some time, keeping focused, and avoiding procrastination or writer’s block.
Launching out on your own in business – any business – takes courage and a great deal of faith in your own abilities. But it also takes a whole lot more; money, discipline, dedication and even, some would say, madness. But there’s another absolutely important ingredient that no university, school or college teaches, and that’s ATTITUDE. You have to think of yourself as a businessperson and not a writer. You are a businessperson whose business happens to be making a profit – through selling words.
Grant is a well-known ghostwriter, having written for a range of clients all over the world, Many of his books are now international best sellers with sales in the millions.
Image: Flickr Creative Commons John Althouse Cohen Montmartre