What Kind of Writer Do I Want to Be?


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[Image: aerial shot of a pad of paper, a pen, and a pair of glasses lined up on a wooden table]. Source: morguefile.com


I’m working on my second book. It’s a memoir. I decided I didn’t like the last one I wrote which was science fiction.

I write poems. I write scripts for videos. I write blog posts like this one here. I’ve considered freelance writing and even gotten a couple of pieces published, but don’t quite know how to get my foot in the door when it comes to paid work.

I’m still not sure what kind of writer I want to be.

Should I be a novelist or an essayist?

Should I work on poetry or short stories?

Am I better suited to fiction or creative non-fiction?

Maybe you’re thinking, “Hey, Sage, why not do all of those things?” I mean, I can. That’s what I have been doing until now. But at some point, I think I need to narrow in on my focus. Writing takes time, energy, and commitment. It’s not always the best practice to stretch oneself over half a dozen projects.

Also, getting oneself published requires a lot of research and work. If I want to be a freelancer, I need to sesh out publications and sending in pitches. If I want to be a novelist, I need to figure out whether or no to self-publish, and if I do choose to self-publish, go through all the steps of marketing and distributing my work.

I suppose the question isn’t so much about the kind of writer I want to be, as I am already many kinds, but about how I want to carve out my career as a writer. This is an especially pertinent question right now as I’m on the cusp of graduating university and trying to figure out the student afterlife.

I think it makes sense to try to develop an internet presence through my YouTube channel and this blog, but that’s not quite enough for me to write for a living. I also understand that expecting to make a living off of my writing is pretty huge and something I’ll have to spend a long time working on before it becomes even remotely feasible. That’s why I want to find my focus and start now.

I was on a train today. Trains are great places to think. I realized that I really want to publish a book and that, because I haven’t made a name for myself yet and am writing something sort of alternative, I should self-publish that book. I set a goal for myself. No matter how much or how little I’ve written by the end of the summer, I am going to take that material and begin revising for what will be a short memoir filled with poetry and prose. I’m just going to make it happen. It’s not going to be flawless or the most ultimate, amazing thing I’ll ever write, but it does not need to be those things in order to be worthy of publishing. I’ve written quite a bit of material that I didn’t feel confident enough to publish: a book of poetry, a science fiction novel, and countless shorter pieces. At some point, I need to start putting this stuff out there and refusing to let the idea that it’s not good enough get in the way.

That’s the kind of writer I want to be.