4 Pieces of Advice for the Aspiring Writer in Belize

I’ll admit it: being a writer isn’t easy. And being a writer in a small Caribbean country is no walk in the park either. While my journey toward establishing a literary career for myself is far from finished, there is at least one thing that I am certain of. The past few years of that journey have been chock full of both blessings and challenges, with much of the latter having to do with navigating the world of writing and publishing in a “developing” nation.

One of the things I swore to myself when I first began this journey was that I would do whatever I could to help those like me – those persons burdened (or blessed) with such an unwavering passion for the written word that they simply can’t give it up, no matter how much they may feel tempted to do so. Advice isn’t much, but it’s definitely something that helped me on my own journey, and hopefully, these few pieces of advice might be helpful to some aspiring writers out there.

Here are four pieces of advice for the aspiring writer living in Belize:

1. Writing (Like Reading) Is Not Dead

Avid writers, and readers, might be surprised that this even has to be said. But quite often – more often than I’m comfortable with – I’ve met persons that are of the notion that people just don’t read anymore. I, however, beg to differ. As does the New York Times Bestseller List, “Booktok”, “Booktwt”, “Bookstagram” and any other writing-related community in existence.

The truth of the matter is that, whether it is fiction or non-fiction, people will always need written content. (At least for the foreseeable future. Looking at you, A.I.)

So, the news — and I’m going to just declare it’s good — is that reading books is an enduring part of our larger culture. As long as there are people, some significant portion of them will be reading, even as we add ever-more-tempting doo-dads and thingamajigs to the world.

John Warner, Chicago Tribune

People are reading. And people are writing. Successfully writing, at that.

Someone wrote the scripts for the shows that you can’t help but binge. Someone wrote the content on the websites that you Google. According to one survey, 825.7 million print books were sold in the US in 2021. You might be saying to yourself “Oh but that’s in America, not in Belize.” But more on that in my third piece of advice below.

At the end of the day, good writers – and good communicators – are always needed.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

2. Hone Your Skills. Put Yourself Out There. Repeat.

Practice, practice, practice. That way, when you decide to market yourself, you’ll have the writing prowess to match. If you’re hoping to make some form of income from your work, marketing yourself and improving your skills are both equally as important.

3. Always Look at the Bigger Picture

When you live in a small country like Belize, it’s easy to become disillusioned, and even easier to put yourself in a box. That’s why it’s important to sometimes look at the bigger (and more international) picture. In the age of social media and increased connectivity, it’s become so much easier to establish an audience that extends far outside of your own country.

My friend and former classmate, Nia Arthurs, has excelled at this and has made a name for herself as Belize’s most prolific romance author.

Thanks to social media, I’ve been able to build a community, however small, that extends beyond Belize’s borders.

I’ve even been able to, however briefly, interact with some of my favorite authors. I’ve also been able to see my book in the hands of people across the globe and write for people in countries I’ve never visited.

Taking your writing beyond Belize’s borders could be an entire blog post in itself. But, just know that it is not impossible and is actually very, very helpful.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

4. Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way (And You Definitely Need A Will)

To reiterate what I said earlier in this article: being a writer is hard. As much as I’d like to deny that, there’s no ignoring that often, pursuing a career as a writer is a labor of love. There will be days when you’ll feel defeated and downtrodden. And those are the days when you must remember why you’re doing what you’re doing – simply for the love of the craft. Let that love, that passion, fuel you on the days when all your motivation seems lost.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Bonus Advice: Your Voice Matters

Honestly, growing up, there was always a part of me that, despite my love for books and writing, never fully believed that someone like me could be a writer. I never believed that I could write stories about people that looked like me and lived experiences like mine. That all changed when I discovered Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

When I picked up that book and saw, on the cover, a black girl, a girl that looked like me, my desire to pursue a career as a writer became solidified. At that moment, I knew that I could – and I would – write the stories that I wanted to see in the world.

Your voice matters. Your stories matter. And your skills are very much needed in Belize.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com
Header Image Credit: Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Did this article help you in any way? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments in the comment section below! Or, connect with me on social media.

Published by Khaila G.

Freelance Content Writer by day, fantasy and sci-fi author by night

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