18 November, 2012

Writing Beyond The Page

Guest writer Rachael Oku explains why there’s a lot more to being a good writer than sitting behind a desk.

Being a writer is one of life’s most challenging vocations. I refer to writing as a vocation as if you choose to pursue a career as a writer you have to commit wholly to your craft. Reading and writing should become your life.
Writing can be a lonely and isolating path where you have to trust your instincts and learn as you go. That said, the satisfaction that comes with perfectly capturing what’s in your head and sharing it with others is one of the main motivators.

Knowing when to share your work is crucial. Stephen King famously offered sage advice in On Writing: ‘write with the door closed and edit with the door open’. Some may wish to have input along the way, some will outsource the editing at the end, while others will keep their newest work shrouded in mystery for as long as possible.
A great way to get feedback on your work and to learn from the experiences of others is through networking. It doesn’t really matter what sort; there are book clubs that meet face to face, digital forums offering a wealth of information and niche specific groups.

There’s a lot that can be learned from others who’ve been there and done it before you, or who are going through a similar situation simultaneously. Interacting with your peers is a great way to find solutions and to retain a competitive edge, whilst hopefully finding renewed inspiration along the way.
I myself run a social enterprise that functions as a network and online membership club for freelance writers and editors. Sharing advice, industry tips, news and global job opportunities, Creative-Bloc offers writers the commercial advice and support necessary to succeed in a competitive freelance environment.

It’s a tough time to be a writer and I’ve learned that any resource a writer can find to help them along the way is invaluable. Blogs like Everest by Fog written honestly, writer to writer are like gold dust.
The truth is being a successful writer is no longer just about talent, it’s what comes after the talent. To stand out nowadays writers need to embrace social media, marketing and PR.

It’s safe at home behind your desk, but when the creative part of the process is over you have to possess the confidence to transfer your skills and operate outside your comfort zone in order to propel your writing career forward.

Rachael Oku is a 26-year-old editor, editorial consultant and freelance writer living in London. She founded Creative-Bloc, a social enterprise for freelance writers, in 2012. She is currently working on her first book and encouraging freelancers to ‘think like a business’ via Twitter: @Creative__Bloc.

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