Six things I wish I had been told about writing before I decided to make it a career choice:
1. It's going to be the hardest thing you'll ever do. Not just because everyone out there with an ounce of creativity and the desire to change the world is out there trying to do the same thing, but because writing is a craft that takes all of your passion and all of your emotion to do.
2. It's going to be the most rewarding thing in your life. Every good writing day. Every time you finish a story. Every time you finish a novel. You'll know that you're doing something with your life that many people won't. It's worth everything I've been through to call myself a writer. A novelist.
3. You have to give up a lot of things to be a good writer. I stay at home a lot. I don't have many friends. I have goals that I need to meet, and that keeps me a little bit of a homebody. I'm okay with all of this, absolutely. I love to write, I want to go somewhere with it, and (this may come as a shock) but I'm quite a bit of an introvert anyway. The only other thing is that it doesn't really give me time for other hobbies, but I'm gaining hobbies that have to do with writing, like blogging.
4. As soon as you think you're better than someone else, you're going in the wrong direction. I think I'm a good writer. I think I'm above average. But looking down at people who aren't as talented as I am is thinking the wrong way. Instead, you have to remember everyone above you, who is better than you and who you are 'competing' against for sales. You can't just look down. That gives you a false sense of superiority. Look up, and always be working to improve your writing, especially if you think you're good at it.
5. Write for the right reasons. Write because you have a story to tell. Write because you love it. Write because you can't imagine life if you aren't doing it. We've all heard the advice, write the story you want to read. I want to expand that to, write the story that will make you better. Better as a writer. Better as a person. Write what will make you think, and make you learn. If you do that every time you sit down to write, you'll improve. Simple as that.
6. Expand. Learn how to write resumes, or grants, or how to edit. Sticking with novels and fiction is great, but if you let yourself learn a little more outside of your comfort zone, you'll be more of a resource for others who may need your talents, and you'll give yourself the opportunity to make money writing, which is what you're going for, isn't it?
I submitted a short story today. I'll keep you posted about what happens next.