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Quiz: Are You Cut Out to Be a Writer?

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 12 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Making a living as a writer is many people's dream, but it can be tough to turn it into reality. Do you have the skills, the patience and the fortitude to make the grade? Find out by answering the questions below.

1. You're working on your first novel, but keep getting stuck at a certain point. You're just not sure where the story should go next. What do you do?
a) Just keep on working at it - you know you can figure it out in the end.
b)Look more closely at what you've written so far and decide it might work better as a short story.
c) Take a break, work on something else, and spend more time reading other people's fiction.
d) Give up - you just weren't meant to be a novelist.

2. You've been commissioned to write an article on a subject you don't know very well. How do you handle the situation?
a)Head for your local library to do some research.
b)Look up information on the internet and try to get in touch with experts via phone or email.
c)Ask your commissioning editor for some pointers.
d)Make something up and hope they don't notice.

3. You're working hard on your writing when an old friend comes round unexpectedly. You haven't seen them for a long time and you'd like to be sociable, but deadlines are looming. What do you do?
a)Send your friend away - you have to put work first.
b)Spend half an hour with your friend, then get back to work, perhaps arranging to meet later.
c)Spend the afternoon with your friend but work all evening to make up for it.
d)Take the rest of the day off. Friends come first and you can always write at another time.

4. You receive your fourth rejection letter for a book that took you months to complete. How do you respond?
a) You just keep sending it to more publishers. Sooner or later, someone's bound to appreciate it.
b)You get some friends to read and criticise it, then undertake rewrites before trying again.
c) You change your pitch, rewrite your bio, and send it to agents as well as publishers.
d) You write an angry letter back explaining how your work has been misunderstood.

5. You are offered your first job, writing for a local magazine, but the pay is very low - you can't even make minimum wage this way. What do you do?
a)Grin and bear it - writing isn't just about money, it's a vocation.
b)Work there for a little while to get some experience, but keep looking for a better opportunity.
c)Try to find out what other staff are getting, join a union and petition for a better rate.
d)Turn it down flat - you deserve better.

How Did You Score?
Mostly A's - You certainly have the dedication and determination you need to become a success, but sometimes working hard is less important than working smart. If at first you don't succeed, consider taking a different approach. After all, good literature depends on imagination. And be careful that people don't exploit your devotion to your craft.

Mostly B's - Your approach is very practical and will serve you well if you have the patience to persist with it, but you'll find it hard to make yourself stand out from the competition. Don't be afraid to take chances sometimes, and try to be open to new ideas. If you are, your responsible attitude and balanced approach will serve you well.

Mostly C's - You don't always follow the rules, but a bit of lateral thinking can really help you get results. Your energy and distinctive flair will really get you noticed and your willingness to acknowledge mistakes will win you respect. But you need to be willing to work harder to make a lasting impression. Don't let your rebelliousness turn into carelessness.

Mostly D's - Easily frustrated and unwilling to put up with the kind of difficulties that can apply in any job, you're not really ready to write for a living. You may be creatively very impressive, but being a writer is about discipline as much as talent. However, a person who never felt the way you have just wouldn't be human!

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