If you feel the call to become a writer, you should answer it! As a teacher, you already know the joy and meaning that come from sharing knowledge with others. Writing tends to light that same spark in people. So get yours fired up and start writing your book.
However, as a teacher, you also already know that the hardest part of any project is simply getting started. So we’ve put together some of our best advice on how to launch your writing career.
Read widely and voraciously
One common fear among beginning writers is whether reading too much of other people’s words will “taint” their unique voice. Our take on this? It’s totally wrong.
Most writers will tell you that reading is an essential precursor to writing, and we agree 100%.
Reading consistently and across a variety of genres does so much for writers of all experience levels. It inspires you and gets your creative juices flowing, it gives you an ear for language and how beautiful, melodic sentences are constructed, and it provides a thorough
“learn-through-example” education in plot structure, character development, world building, and plenty of other things you’ll need to know to craft your own story.
And that’s just what you get from reading well-written books. Reading awful books also has
tremendous value in showing you what doesn’t work and what to avoid.
Keep a writer’s notebook
It’s fair to say that procrastination is an occupational hazard for writers. There are a million and one ways to avoid writing, and most writers are familiar with all of them.
One effective way to get over this mental hurdle is to simply write regularly and without putting pressure on yourself to be brilliant. This is where a writer’s notebook comes in. A writer’s notebook can be literally whatever you want it to be: a repository of half-formed scribbled thoughts, a collection of detailed outlines for your novels, an assemblage of character sketches, or all of the above.
We recommend carrying your writer’s notebook with you wherever you go and adding to it throughout your day—you’ll likely find a lot of inspiration when you’re in the classroom (more on that below), and you’ll want to put those ideas to paper before they fly clean out of your brain.
And this is where we’ll let you in on a trade secret: the more you write, the better you write. As you fill up your writer’s notebook with random thoughts and flashes of insight, you’ll find that more and more ideas start flowing.
Let your teaching inspire your writing and vice versa
Teachers have a special advantage when it comes to writing, since their classroom and their students provide them with a limitless supply of human behavior, interaction, foibles, and more. Use this to your advantage and allow your special perspective as a teacher to influence your creative work.
Plus, this current of inspiration also works in reverse. You may well find that your writing life gives you a new view on teaching and empathy for your students who, like you, are in the process of learning new skills and growing into the next versions of themselves.
Write in a way that works for you
There is a lot of writing advice in circulation that insists that the only way to be truly productive and ward off writer’s block is to sit down at your writing desk for a specified period every day and bang out a specified number of words. While we appreciate the intent of the advice (that commitment is key), we don’t agree with the specifics.
For some people, a strict daily regimen provides the necessary structure to get the ideas flowing. For others, it strangles them.
Whether you work best on a defined writing schedule or prefer to ride the ebbs and flows of inspiration and write in irregular frenzies, do what feels right for you.
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Fear is a funny emotion. It seems so big on the horizon when we’re starting out, but it vanishes completely when we look back in the rearview mirror. Keep this in mind when fear threatens to stop your writing career before it even starts. Take your nerves as a sign that you’re attempting something worthy and continue onward.
As you push ahead, you’ll need specific guidance on how to publish a book. Don’t let this be a stumbling block, either. Reach out to fellow writers for their advice and do some Googling to find out the basics of getting an agent (if you decide to go that route) and getting publishers to notice you.
The final word
Writing, like teaching, is a path that is both challenging and rewarding. Let the tips above inspire you to get started and watch how quickly the words and ideas start to come. Good luck and happy writing!