Does choosing a career or a college course intimidate the heck out of you?
Are your interests pulling you in various directions and you’re not sure which you should choose?
I was in your same position years ago. When it came time for me to make decisions about my future, I actually made a choice that would shock you. You probably think I majored in writing in some prestigious college.
Well, stay tuned for that funny story later.
But for now, let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about your wants and let’s put the future in perspective.
Let’s talk three ways to tell if choosing a writer’s life is the one for you by
- Listening to your voice
- Listening to your gut
- Doing your research
Your Voice, Your Choice
“You should be a lawyer! There’s good money in that and it’s a prestigious career!”
“Be a doctor. You’ll save lives and you’ll make good money while you’re at it.”
“A business degree is a must if you want to make it in this world and support your future family.”
A lot of people in your life sure do have a lot of opinions about your future. You trust your family, friends, coaches, and teachers because they all want what is best for you. They all want to see you lead a happy, healthy life with little to no problems.
So, they’re right, right? Choosing a prestigious college and getting a degree in a field which promises a high income is the only way to secure your future. Right?
Well, here’s the thing, sweet pineapple: they mean well, but they aren’t you.
Listening to their voice makes it harder for you to listen to your own. Therefore, you’re unsure about your future because your own wants seem childish, immature, even risky. So, in the end, you think it’s best to just listen to their advice- take the safe route and leave writing stories to those born with the gift for it.
Now there’s no denying becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or something else would give you a higher income and a more secure life, but are you giving up on your dream because it seems “risky” to everyone else?
Here’s a certain truth: no one’s future is certain. There are risks daily, no matter how many precautions we take. There simply are no guarantees in life no matter who you are or how high your income is.
Ignoring your passion now will lead to frustration later in life.
So start by listening to your own voice. Take a moment now and on a blank sheet of paper, write down why becoming a writer or author matters to you –and you alone- and why you want it more than anything else.
What is your Gut Telling you?
You’ve calculated it out. College is pricey and you don’t want to waste your parents’ time or money investing in your future.
So, choosing a prestigious career seems like the best choice. Are you really, truly happy with that?
Look, I’m not going to tell you to listen to your heart. The heart is emotional, temperamental and unpredictable. It’s dangerous to trust something that one day loves ripped jeans and the next, burns ripped jeans.
“More than your heart, your gut is a trustworthy indicator of what feels true, what feels right, and what feels like the answer.” Click To Tweet
My gut has made some serious decisions for me. In fact, it made the decision to leave the educational course I chose. (More on that later!)
My gut has never been wrong. And generally speaking, your gut is never wrong.
So, I’m going to ask you a question now. Don’t determine the answer according to what you think would be the best answer. Just listen carefully to what your gut says:
“Do you want to be a writer more than anything else?”
If your gut said “Yes!” then that’s significant, little pickle. If your gut didn’t punch you, then try asking that question again but filling it in with another field you’re on the fence about. For instance, “Do you want to be a professional soccer player more than anything else?” or “Do you want to be a psychiatrist more than anything else?”
Your gut will not waver. And that is the point. It’s solid, unfluctuating. “You don’t have to wonder what it is you want because your gut tells you what you want” Click To Tweet (what you really, really want).
Know What's Ahead of you
Before you make any serious decisions, you have to know what you’re getting into. Writing is a difficult route, yes, but so many writers out there have made a living writing.
Do your research, and talk with your parents seriously. Give your parents solid reasons to back you on your decision. Your parents want to feel secure knowing your decision will make you happy and give you a satisfying future. So if you really want this, back up your desires with numbers, charts, even diagrams if need be, proving why a writing course is one they can believe in. Reassure your parents with evidence and let them know that you are serious about this. There are countless courses out there you can even take online, if it’s a matter of distance too.
What if your parents aren’t keen with this choice anyway? Is that the end for your dreams of being a writer?
Many successful authors didn’t major in writing in college.
Michael Crichton, bestselling author of thrillers such as The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, and Rising Sun, studied anthropology. However, Michael spent most of his time teaching and writing until his death in 2008.
J.K. Rowling studied French at the University of Exeter, giving in to her parents’ wishes despite wanting to major in English.
John Grisham majored in accounting at Mississippi State University after deciding his future did not lie in professional baseball. The author of legal thrillers such as The Firm and The Chamber then graduated from The University of Mississippi Law School.
What if you can’t afford college, or don’t want to attend college? Is getting a satisfying writing education out of the question for you?
Many famous authors never went to college and still made a living from their passion. Maya Angelou, Ray Bradbury, Truman Capote, Jack London, and H.G Wells are just a few beaming examples!
“Success, either way, doesn’t happen overnight. It takes serious work, dedication, a thick skin, and self-discipline to get you where you want to be.” Click To Tweet
In fact, I myself have made a success of my life by doing the very thing I love- writing. But it didn’t start out that way.
So what did I choose for my educational course long ago? And why did I change paths?
First of all, I have been writing stories since I was eight years old and knew even then that writing fiction is what I wanted to do with my life.
I briefly attended a community college a few years after graduating high school. What did I study? A course on writing fiction, right? Nope. I took a course on Woody Landscape and Design.
Isn’t that hilarious? Now, why did I do that? Because I wanted to help the family landscaping business and my parents were kind enough to pay for the classes. Plus, at the time, I believed I couldn’t make a living as a writer.
But, I ended the course early when my gut told me this path just didn’t feel right. I wanted to be a writer and I had ignored that fact because of some negative opinions- namely, my own.
So, I told my parents that I really wanted to get serious about my writing, and they were 100% supportive. I quit the course and started reading all I could on improving my writing. But my Woody Landscape course wasn’t completely useless. It actually helped me understand the lives of trees better and even helped me write my first fantasy novel Treefell: Legend of the Wood.
For years now, I’ve educated myself through classes, books, and online courses taught by the masters. It’s taken lots of hard work and perseverance, but I’m now making a living as a writer and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. So, if I can do this, you can do it too.
The future may look scary, uncertain, and intimidating. But if you truly love writing and want to make a career out of writing fiction, then listen to your voice, your gut, and do your research.
You can pursue an education that many have made a satisfying living from.
Do you have more questions or wish to share your story with me? Are you trying to decide what to do with your life? Reach out to me in the comments section below. I want to do all I can to help you reach your goals in 2018.
Meanwhile, if you’ve decided writing is the path you wish to take, make your first steps count. Join me, Rae Elliott, here at Barely Hare Books and learn more about my upcoming course for new writers: