Today, I want to talk to you about my experiences as a Japanese writer living in America. It is hard to make a living as a writer in any culture, let alone in a second language and in a second country. But I think there are some universal things you can do to be successful in writing as a career, so let me share them with you today!
The first is to work on your skills, to practice and practice, so that you will be able to write quickly whenever you need to, and whenever you have a deadline or an assignment come up in tight parts of your schedule. It is important to keep your mind nimble so that the words can come pouring out as soon as you start typing, and I also think it is important to keep up with your typing skills so that there is no delay between your brain and what appears on the screen in front of you.
I have found that many of the challenges of making a living as a writer are due to the fact that you are working by yourself at a computer. If you are on your own and facing deadlines it is very important to limit distractions and achieve a solid focus on the internet because it is full of traps that will make you waste hours of time when you could have been working and earning money. I do not allow myself to check social media sites until after working hours (5:00 PM), and that helps a lot since the other sites I go on a lot are news, and that is good for getting ideas for my writing.
It is much easier to write in any genre or publication if you have a source of good material to write about already in your head. This is why I think it is important to absorb news as much as possible so that you can have a range of topical information and popular opinions to draw on, as well as a constant flow of stories. You must read a lot, even when you are having a hard time finding free time, and keep your ears perked for cool topics and sources that you can easily use when someone asks you for an article or two.
Likewise, I think it is important to keep writing no matter how much you are being paid to write. It is a skill that takes practice and even if you are already a very good writer, being able to make yourself write for most of every day will finesse your skills and make you faster at what you do. You should not be afraid to try different genres, write as much as you can, then focus on getting paid for it. I think this is the best approach, so that it is always more important in your mind to love writing instead of always focusing on the profit aspect of things.
This is why it is so important to have discipline in your writing practice. I suggest that you find a good office setup for yourself where you can pretend that you have gone into a space that is not your living and relaxing space. You need to have a space that you mind associates with being productive and set strict hours so that you will stay on track and consistently produce written work. That has been one of the hardest and yet most fulfilling parts of my growing career so far.
This is by no means a complete list of everything you have to do to have a career in writing, but it is most of the key things that I think have helped me to get where I am in life, so I hope they help you, too!