As with any career path, there are pros and cons to it. Being a writer is no different. I know over the years of being on this path I have thought several times about quitting and pursuing something else… and every time I would realize that nothing makes me happier than writing and reading, so to pursue anything else would just bring me misery. This struggle is part of the journey, but for some people it marks the end of their journey because they give up. Not everyone can be a writer just like not everyone can be president or a rocket scientist, and that’s fine because we’re all different!
So if you’re thinking about becoming a writer, I hope this list helps you decide if it’s the right path for you or not. And as with all my pros and cons list, I encourage you to read other blog posts, articles, and watch videos about being a writer so you can make the best informed decision for yourself! So here are my pros and cons list to being a writer!
- Getting to tell a story: For me, one of the biggest pros is getting to tell people stories. A story doesn’t need to be fictional to be told, we can tell others about our real life experiences, which in turn can help them through a hard time. I can’t tell you how many times reading an article or a well written novel has helped me through a hard time. Stories are a form of medication, but you don’t need a prescription for them- All you need is the ability to share them with others.
- No requirements/limits (unless you put one on yourself): One of the biggest pros of being a writer is that there are no limits to being a writer. Yes, there are some publications, magazines, writing groups, etc that call for certain requirements from a writer, but for the most part there are no real requirements or limits to being a writer. A retired grandmother in her 60s can write a romance novel. A stay at home mom in her 30s can write children’s books in her free time. A young solider returning from war can write a memoir about his experiences. Being a writer means age, race, background, gender, basically everything goes out the window and isn’t- or at least shouldn’t be- a factor. So if you become a writer and can make a decent living at it, you can write until you’re 90 if you want! In my opinion, the only real requirements you need for being a writer are a passion for books, the written word, and storytelling. If you have those three things, then get to writing!
- Writing can take you on a journey other careers can’t: Being a writer gives you experiences and opportunities other jobs can’t. Depending on the type of writer you are, your career can lead you to traveling all the world and seeing places you’ve only dreamed about. Being a writer means you can experience life and write about it all in one! And because you can write anywhere, you can sit in that little cafe in Paris with your tea and macaroons, taking it all in and still be able to work on your writing! Being a writer doesn’t mean you miss out on life- It means you get to live life and in the process, you get to live more lives through the adventures and stories of the characters you create.
- There’s a lot of competition: It seems like these days everyone is a writer. With Amazon, Kindle, and other platforms existing, it seems like everyone and their grandmother are writing novels, fanfiction, website articles, etc. Because of this increase in writers, that means there is more competition for getting your novel published, your blog post read, your article featured on a website, etc. So it might feel discouraging at times when something you worked hard on goes unread or unpublished. If you’re writing for the pleasure of it and not the attention, then this wont matter to you as much. But if you want to be the next Stephen King or JK Rowling, then having a lot of competition will make it hard for you to reach that status. So be prepared to struggle for a bit until you can find a way to make it to the front of the author herd.
- It’s mentally exhausting: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled with writing something because I was mentally exhausted for some reason. Writing can be mentally taxing because you’re trying to write the best piece possible and sometimes putting words together is next to impossible. Sometimes your characters won’t listen and run amuck. Other times you feel overwhelmed by information or by other ideas. And is it just me or have other people had their sleep or other parts of their life interrupted by their characters? I can’t tell you how many times while sleeping or working or out with friends that one of my characters has started yelling at me for one reason or another! And do you know how hard it is to explain to non-writers about why you’re yelling shut up out of nowhere? Being a writer means you never get a moment of peace and quiet… and as someone who also struggles with anxiety I can’t tell you what I would give to not feel mentally exhausted at the end of every day. So if you’re looking for a career that will give you some peace and quiet at the end of the day, then being a writer probably isn’t the right choice for you.
- Lack of motivation/when your imaginary friends stop talking to you: The biggest part of being a writer is actually writing. But some days that just isn’t happening. Maybe you’re exhausted after a ten hour day and just want to relax. Maybe you just don’t feel like taking time to write because you need to clean or do laundry. Or maybe you have writer’s block because the voices in your head finally decided to take a nap at the worst possible moment! In those moments of no motivation or writer’s block it makes you want to throw down your pen, close your laptop, and give up. As someone who has struggled with both of these and still does, I have found this to be my biggest obstacle, but I am finding ways to work through it because writing is my passion.
So there you have it, my list of pros and cons for being a writer. Writing this post has put a lot into perspective for me. The biggest thing I’ve realized is that being a writer is the only career I want to have. Writing is my passion. It’s how I’ve gotten through the toughest times of my life and it is one of the things I love most in this world. Some days are harder than others, but it’s that way with any job/career. But I’ve been told if you do something you love then you never work a day in your life… and I’m hoping to reach that point one day soon.
I know there are things I didn’t add to the pros and cons list, so I would love to hear your thoughts on what you would add or replace with some of the pros and cons I’ve listed. I know rejection is an obvious con, but I will be covering rejection in a future post which is why I left it off this list. So let me know your thoughts below! And as always, I hope everyone has a good week!