How to Stop Feeling like a Wannabe and Turn Pro in Your Writing Career

I know what you’re thinking. You write, but you don’t think you’re a real writer.

The Counterfeit Innovator Is Wildly Self-Confident

The gap between your work and the work of those you admire seems so wide you’ll never close it. They’re professionals and you’re just playing pretend.

Somewhere along the line, the people you looked up to probably felt the same way. We all start at zero. We all have to face the blank page for the first time.

How do you make the transition? How do you become like the writers you look up to?

You turn pro.

The Only Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

I’ve made friends with other bloggers and authors over the years. I keep tabs on what they’re doing and many do the same for me.

Sadly, after six months, a year, or two, I’ll come to find many have fizzled out or stopped writing completely. They fell prey to the amateur’s mindset. They didn’t turn pro.

Every once and a while someone will comment on a new post I write and say something along the lines of “Wow! You’re still showing up and putting in work. Good for you.”

What choice do I have? I’ve turned pro. Once you turn pro there’s no going back.

Turning pro simply means you’re done bullshitting with your craft. You’re done being inconsistent. You’re done half-assing it. Instead of treating your writing success as a pipe dream, you treat it as an inevitability.

In business, you turn pro when you stop “brainstorming” and start picking up the phone to land customers.

With art, you turn pro when you add pragmatism to match your romanticism and dedicate yourself to doing the work.

I hear that little voice in my mind telling me to quit every single day, but I do the work because I know the work will bear fruit.

Are you ready to turn pro? Here are some tips to help you get there.

Show Up When You Don’t Feel Like It

You’d think your best work comes during your “peaks” — when you’re in a great mood, the coffee buzz hits you just right, and the ideas are oozing out of you — but the writing you do when you’re not feeling it builds character.

Every so often, I’ll decide it’s time to quit writing altogether. This usually happens after I write thousands of words I find unusable. When I’m in a rut, it’s hard to imagine getting out of it. But I always do. How?

I decided for better or worse… I’m married to my keyboard. My relationship with writing is like a marriage. I love writing, but I don’t always like it. Sometimes the relationship gets stale and I feel like I’m going through the motions. But, like a good marriage, I work through the rough patches instead of abandoning the relationship.

Showing up is hard. Writing 1,000 words nobody will ever read is hard. Writing entire books that flop is painful. But showing up is the only way through.

I’ve written about all the tips and tricks to help you succeed with writing, but they all boil down to showing up.

There are many ways to feel like you’re showing up that aren’t showing up.

…like growing your social media following.

…like working on your about page.

…like getting your ducks in a row (whatever that means).

Busy work gets you nowhere. Real work gets you where you want to be.

If you stop reading this blog post right now and start writing one of your own, I’d love it, because I’d rather you create work then consume it.