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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > March 2017 > GET SERIOUS


The world won’t see you as a writer unless you do. Make a few crucial changes of perspective with guidance from Sophie Beal

Writing is one of the few pastimes where others expect you to achieve a professional standard. Tell someone you run, they might ask how far or how often. Not many people will ask about the championships you’ve won or sponsorship. Tell them you write, their first question is often: ‘What have you published?’

So, many writers with big ambitions hide their work away, a guilty secret until someone else gives them permission to take themselves seriously.

If you’re in this situation, it’s time to ask a question: how important is it to see your work in print? If it comes a close second to family, friends or basic hygiene, you need to own it as part of your identity, make some big investments and think like the professional you want to be.

‘Come out’

Journalist and author Hillary Rettig talks of the need to ‘come out’ as a writer in her book Seven Secrets of the Prolific. An aspiring writer is someone who wants to sit down with pen and paper, or at their keyboard. You already do that. Admit you write to friends and family, whether or not your words are in print or online. And whether they form beautifully crafted prose or an affront to humanity. You’ll probably find it liberating.

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Make this the month you make your dreams real and start becoming a writer in the Get Serious issue, with advice on: • How a change of attitude will help you, and the wider world, take your writing seriously • How to stay motivated past the difficult mid-novel slump • Money matters: Are you charging enough for your freelance writing? PLUS How to make sense of your royalty statements Cover star Jake Arnott tells us about finding the stories and characters that society overlooks and we explore the style and technique of forensic crime superstar Patricia Cornwell Get your work out there with opportunities to get published and competitions with more than £60,000 total prize money in 20 packed pages of Writers' News. All this plus our definitive guide to writing festivals, courses and other events for 2017