Back in the day a craftsman would spend several years as someone’s apprentice to learn their trade. They would work for the master craftsman doing the crappy jobs and earning their way into a guild or a union.
These days anyone can say they are a writer by throwing up a blog. And I’m in favor of that, I suppose, because it’s made Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression a tangible right for every person.
Still, there is value in apprenticeship. I once worked with a writer who wanted to quit her job and write romance novels full time. A worthy goal. But she didn’t want to have to do marketing work. She didn’t want to have to write for trade magazines. She didn’t want to have to do “writing work.” It was beneath her. As it is for many a writer, or so they believe.
All well and good if you can produce the kind of results you need financially to do it. But, most writers do “writing work.” And that is how they learn their craft.
I minored in creative writing and then started as a newspaper journalist. I wrote for community newspapers, New York City magazines, medical journals, travel magazines, business magazines and newspapers and regional lifestyle mags.
I wrote six children’s history books for a publishing company on contract. They paid me $400 a book.
I wrote marketing copy for every industry from pipe fitters to seed companies to healers and engineers. I wrote newsletters and thousands of blogs.
I wrote brochures and websites. I still do this kind of work for my clients and I find the writing soothing.
I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote.
And every single word counted toward my 10,000 hours to earn my chops as a master of my craft. Every single word has made me a better craftsman. Every single word has lent itself to my Soul’s Purpose as a writer and coach.
Every. Single. Word.
You have to be an apprentice to become a master.