Want to Write for a Living? The 7 Things I Wish I'd Known - Scott H Young - Deepstash
Want to Write for a Living? The 7 Things I Wish I'd Known - Scott H Young

Want to Write for a Living? The 7 Things I Wish I'd Known - Scott H Young

Curated from: scotthyoung.com

Ideas, facts & insights covering these topics:

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Your Audience is Your Most Valuable Asset

Your Audience is Your Most Valuable Asset

Success as a writer depends almost entirely on having a critical mass of people who want to read what you write.

A good general principle is not to try to sell anything (including writing a book) until you have 5000 regular readers. If that sounds like a lot, it should! Getting 5000 people to read your writing consistently isn’t easy—but it shows that you have something people are interested in. That’s why building your audience should be your priority.

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Don’t Worry About Quality Until You’ve Written 100 Essays

Many writers obsess over their style when they haven’t produced enough to have one yet.

One hundred essays is probably a good benchmark to hit before worrying about whether what you’re writing is good or not. Writing this much will also get you over your inhibitions about putting thought into text.

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Write What You Like to Read

Emulate the writing you enjoy reading. There are two reasons for this:

  • First, it’s next-to-impossible to write well in a style you don’t enjoy. A good piece to write is something you would choose to read.
  • Second, imitation can be a starting point for creative success.

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You May Never Feel “Smart Enough”

Two factors influence this insecurity. 

  • The first is that your taste inevitably outstrips your ability. You can always appreciate writing that is better, smarter, more thorough and incisive than your own. You get better as a writer—but improve even more as a reader. The confidence gap widens, even as your absolute abilities grow.
  • The second factor is that there is no end to mastery. You can always learn more about a topic.

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Don’t Write Alone

Success as a writer means navigating the ever-changing sea of systems, social media networks, and outlets people use to find success. 

While marketing alone won’t make you successful as a writer, it’s also true that an absence of this knowledge can be fatal.

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Look for Extreme Bets

Most writing will never be read by anyone. Of what remains, the vast majority will stay confined to the narrow corner of the internet they were birthed into.

But a few pieces will travel widely. It only takes a few such pieces to build a career.

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Use Writing to Build Indirect Opportunities

It is rare to achieve success solely from writing.

However, writing can be a good tool for leveraging other opportunities. Sometimes that means landing a more prestigious job, getting on a cool start-up, or just meeting cool people. Being an engineer, accountant, or manager who also writes well is a powerful combo.

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