What is a Working Writer? (IWSG October)

Welcome to my second entry for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop. Every month we blog about writing, hoping to encourage others out there. You are not alone!

The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner.

Without further ado, let’s explore this month’s question:

When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

Short answer: if you write, you are a writer.

I’ve considered myself a serious writer since I started not only writing regularly, but committing to sharing and receiving feedback on my work. I might be an aspiring author, but I work at my writing. Every day. To me, this is my ‘other job’. And I love it.

How did this happen to me?

When I first came back to writing (because, let’s admit it, most of us wrote as children/teens), I entered a flash fiction competition here in Australia. Then I entered it every month. Next, I started this blog site to keep myself accountable and have tried to publish a piece of creative writing, or at least a news post, once a week over the past year.

In January 2020, I signed up to a Bootcamp of Creative Writing, challenging myself to write every day for a month. I started a new novel, finishing the first draft at the end of February. In April, I completed a course on Speculative Fiction Writing with the Australian Writer’s Centre over Zoom (how great is video-learning?!). Confidence in my writing grew.

Not long after this, I joined a writing community online: Writing Prompts on Reddit. This subreddit posts weekly prompt threads and has a Discord server where people share what they wrote. I use it for practising my writing in a variety of styles, genres and themes. The community are also committed to giving and receiving feedback. I cannot stress how important this has been for me.

It doesn’t matter your timezone, your writing stage, your ability. Learning what makes a story work–for both myself and for others–has been extremely valuable. Perhaps it’s because I was briefly a teacher, that I am able to approach feedback in a positive frame of mind (of course, it’s not ‘easy’ for someone to criticise your writing, but it’s important not to take it personally and consider what can help you improve).

In June, I joined Twitter. And wow, is there a writing community there! One that I regularly contribute to is #AusWrites. I’ve recently submitted my first completed manuscript to PitchWars, and met many other aspiring authors via this competition. I’m joining in with CampRevPit: Revise and ReSub Fall 2020. Planning on (possibly) doing NaNoWriMo in November. And then, of course, I stumbled across the IWSG. All the experience I’ve gained lent me the confidence to submit a short story for the IWSG Anthology Contest 2020.

I’m loving all the different ways that I am connecting with other writers. Blogs, social media, chatrooms, and creative writing sites.

In my opinion there is no excuse, in this modern age, not to network with fellow writers. This year we’ve been housebound more than many of us have ever had to be before. But even if you can’t get to your local writing group, there are hundreds online. Suss them out, I beg you. Find people to connect with. Send me a message if you want to! I always love meeting other writers. (And if you’d like another morale boost, check out this post about things you can control as a writer.)

In Conclusion

It’s this attitude, this commitment to writing, that makes me feel that I am a working writer. Some people would consider what I do a hobby–it’s not as if I’m ‘traditionally published’–yet I have sunk many, many hours into not only practising my craft, but improving it.

Australian author K.M. Allan breaks down what she considers to be Ten Signs You’ve Upgraded To Being A Serious Writer in this blog post. I checked the list. I match eight out of ten–but only because querying and rejections are still new to me. If other writers consider me a writer… Well, I’ll just have to accept that.

How do you score?

Are you a working writer, aspiring, or hobbyist?

Let me know in the comments! And hope you have a great scare-tober…

The IWSG Blog Hop

Click here to view the list of IWSG bloggers and check out what everyone else is saying this month!

17 thoughts on “What is a Working Writer? (IWSG October)

  1. Great post, Emma! It’s so awesome to see you getting in to the writing community. I agree with you that it really helps when you’re starting out and trying to build confidence, and even after that. I wouldn’t attempt half the things I do with the support from my writing friends. Thanks also for including my posts 😊. I’m so happy you found them helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emma, I love the tone of your post. It’s so inspiring, and it echoes my own thoughts on the subject. Being a working writer means showing up at the page. K.M. Allan’s list definitely resonated, although I’m taking the indie path and self-publishing, so I’m not sure how I’d answer a couple of the questions.

    A lot of it is exactly what you said: learning your craft, putting in the time, and committing to your creative path.

    Liked by 1 person

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