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In this edition of the Q&A for working women in India, life coach Jaya Narayan answers a question on how to become a writer. How can someone with a flair for writing find opportunities?
I am a senior technical writer at a leading software company in Bangalore. This type of writing involves more of manuals and documents for software products. Since my return to the workforce after a 2-year gap, I feel like I am in the wrong profile. I love to write and want to continue but don’t know how to progress from this phase. How do I find out how good I am at other types of writing? I like to read articles on social issues, feminism and family-oriented topics. I admire the way some writers articulate what they feel. I wish I knew how to progress into something where I can show a bit of myself in my writing. How do I test myself?
“Dream big and dare to fail.”
A gap between jobs helps us unconsciously realize our likes and dislikes. Don’t assume based on familiarity that it is writing that you enjoy most. Here is a broader question I would like to ask, “If you had a day to yourself and you could do/be whatever you enjoyed – what would the day be for you”? What will engage you most? Would it be reading, writing, education, a hobby, baking, something creative? Start on a blank slate. Ask people around you – what they have observed about you. In which activity would you be most absorbed and satisfied? There has been an earlier suggestion (to another reader) to discover their strength, that is also a good approach to get started.
If writing is the answer to the above – at least you now know for sure. Blogging is the easiest way to get initiated. You could choose a broad theme; it could be social issues, parenting, feminism, movies, music etc. Many websites allow guest bloggers to post on their site. In addition, many magazines (online and print) are on the lookout for freelance writers. Before you approach them, you need to create a repository of material that can be accessed to ascertain the quality of your writing. You could also explore writing fiction – there are many online publishing houses you could leverage. Alternatively, you could participate in writing competitions. Find channels that allow for large readership.
– Always ask for constructive feedback to further your strengths and develop on the gaps in writing skill.
– Connect with other writer for tips to get started and remain consistent.
– Network pro-actively and be on the lookout for opportunities.
– Attend a course (online or offline) on creative writing
– Join a community of writers/bloggers
– Read; especially articles and blogs by successful writers
With the explosion in social media, there is no dearth of opportunities. All you need to do is to sit down and create an exit plan from technical writing. I wish you lots of success.
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*Photo credit: Mehmet Pinarci (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)