What Are Writers Really?

And a peek into my work day

Hi, it’s Kelly from Medium here. This week let’s have a chat about what it really means to be a writer (hint: it’s not what you think!).

But first, here’s a peek into one of my work days this week:

  • Send follow up email to fertility doctor to arrange an interview for an advertorial article.

  • Phone interview with an advocate for parents with children with Downs Syndrome for a magazine feature article.

  • Write article for travel website. (500 words)

  • Make changes to personality article in response to email from website editor. Extend article from 700-1000 words.

  • Create and send invoice to editor for finished article.

  • Listen to psychology podcast.

  • Write notes/outlines for three article ideas after listening to podcast.

  • Write and send out newsletter to email subscribers.

  • Edit Medium article written yesterday and submit to publication.

  • Start writing new Medium article.

  • Send email pitch to editor of a new magazine.

  • Discuss details of commissioned articles with a magazine editor where I’m a regular contributor via messenger and email.

  • Read two chapters from non-fiction books and one fiction.

  • Research online for fertility article.

    That was a full day for me and as you can see, a lot of it is not spent writing.

    Some days, being a writer means turning out a few thousand words in a day. Some days it means following up with editors, interviewing people, sending out pitches, creating invoices, researching, and editing your work.

    What you doing with your writing?

    You, as a writer, are providing a service. It’s easy to forget this. We can get precious about our prose. If an editor gives feedback or asks for changes, it’s tempting to throw ourselves like protective parents over our story—“They want me to change my work? No way! I spent hours perfecting this.”

    That’s why rejection hurts so much. They rejected our creative baby!

    We can write for ourselves in our journals exactly the way we want to (adding all the flowery prose, navel gazing, and experimental phrasing our hearts desire!) but when we are writing for others—we’re a service provider.

    We provide a service for editors of magazines, giving content THEY want in a way that fits the “voice” of their publication or website. We provide a service for our readers too. We provide education, information, entertainment, a different point of view, or a story they can relate to or get comfort from (“I’m not alone!”).

    What does it mean to be a writer? Yes, it’s about expressing ourselves, having something to say, sharing our voice, but ultimately, it’s about serving people.

    Does your writing serve people—your editors or your readers?

    Are your articles useful? Do they inspire? Do they entertain?

    Here’s a challenging thought! If you weren’t the writer, would you read your articles?

    I always love to hear from you, so flick me an email if you want to share your thoughts on this or have any writing questions.

    If you’re a fiction writer, here’s my latest Medium article for you too. These Three Things Make Your Characters Unbelievable

    And if you need a confidence boost or just a bit of encouragement check out Writers, Be Bold and Get Published. Join me in making bold career moves this year!

    Until next week,

    Kelly