by Edie Melson @EdieMelson
A lot of newer writers I meet find themselves overwhelmed with the myriad of opportunities in the field of writing. They struggle, trying to decide between writing articles, devotions, fiction, non-fiction, etc. Writing is a big field, and if you didn’t study some aspect of it in college, the choices can be daunting.
My suggestion—take a deep breath—you don’t have to start out with a specialty. As a matter of fact, until you’ve tried several different types of projects, you probably shouldn’t limit yourself too much. Even those of us with formal training find ourselves morphing into a different kind of writer than we envisioned at the start of our career.
Give yourself time to flex your wings. Try out different things. Write for the web, for print—even try your hand at a short story or flash fiction. Not only will variety help you determine the kind of writing you love, it will improve your ability overall.
Tips to Help You Flex Your Wings
- Look for a writers group in your area. There may or may not be one, but if there is, it will help immensely. It gives you perspective when you see what others are doing and you’re able to ask questions.
- Take a look at what you like to read. What touches you? What do you find yourself saying, “If I could write anything, I’d write this?” The answer may surprise you and lead you down a different writing path.
- Determine what you want to accomplish with your writing. Is it to touch people, glorify God, earn a little extra money? The answer may not be all one thing, but you should have one that stands out from the others.
These tips will help make your choices easier. They will also help you determine where to go for further training. For example, I might recommend one book for a writer who wants to write devotions and a completely different one for someone who is interested in freelancing as a career.
The only problem with trying a lot of different things comes if you’re not completing anything.
It’s important to follow through with your projects. Don’t worry if you’re getting a lot of small projects finished while you’re working on a big one.
As long as you’re making forward progress on the big one, you’re doing okay.
Don’t be afraid of all the choices—embrace them! And don’t be afraid to try more than one project at a time. Trust me, it can be done.
I’d love to hear from you. What kind of writing do you like to do? How did you discover it?
Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent fiction – Alone, and nonfiction – While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has just been named as one of the 2017 Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine.