In the last year alone, I’ve spoken to at least half-a-dozen young writers who’ve said some variation of this to me. I’ve noticed that this happens mostly among two kinds of people:
One: Freelancers. There is no one who takes personal interest in their growth and performance. In full-time employment, a boss might have some interest in making sure you deliver good quality work. In freelance, the client can easily ghost or worse pay you and not use your work, leaving you none the wiser.
Two: In small organisations, where the writer’s boss isn’t a writer or editor themselves. Here, the boss knows something isn’t working, but they don’t know how to guide or mentor the young writer towards doing better. Sometimes, they might be doing so many things simultaneously that they won’t have the time for everyone on their team.
If you belong to either of these two categories or ever feel a little lost in your journey as a writer, now is the best time to think about investing in your growth.
Here are a few things that are most likely to help you:
Regular, pointed feedback: Sign up someone who will regularly work with you on your writing, eliminate common mistakes, open your eyes to new techniques, monitor your progress and walk you to your goals.
Curated resources: The Internet is a sinkhole. There are a million answers to every question and most of them are practically impossible to apply. Someone curating a regular bunch of resources can help immensely in leaving you to read only things you need.
Joanna Lobo’s It’s All Write, which I subscribe to, is an excellent and comprehensive resource.
A community: Fellow writers who can answer questions, validate ideas or just tell you that your imposter syndrome is unfounded. 🙂 There are plenty of WhatsApp and Facebook groups for this. Find the one that feels right for you.
An invested mentor / coach: You’ll be amazed at how much difference a mentor can make to your career. If it’s someone who has walked your walk before, even better. They’ll know the speed breakers in your path and can help you ride past them without breaking your face.
Remember, though, that ‘investing in your growth’ isn’t a one-off activity. A random call with a senior pro or subscribing to a newsletter alone can hardly guarantee growth.
What you need is consistent efforts towards where you want to go. For this, you need all of the above plus someone to hold you accountable.