If you are like me, writing has been part of your life since you were a kid. You loved to read, and books were your best friends. You got As in English in high school, and you wowed them in college with insightful essays. Now move forward in time to the present, and you are getting an itch to write for money. Congratulations! Me too!
Welcome to the wonderful world of writing where you submit endless queries with the hopes that you will land a job as a professional, “paid” writer. Pay attention to the word “paid” because if you don’t, you will be writing on spec with the hopes that your article will be used by a publication. If the publication does not accept your work, you have just given them your time, and a free article.
As a new writer, and in “new,” I mean trying to get paid for what I do, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few hurdles that you must overcome in order to become a professional writer. You must…
- Deal with rejection. Let’s face it, rejection sucks, and writers have fragile egos. Just remember that a rejection is not personal. It’s business. Clients are looking for content that will drive traffic and potential customers to their website. Your post was simply not a match. Don’t worry about it. Stash the article away, and use it a sample to send to another publisher (as long as it is not already published somewhere else).
- Get your family to take you and your craft seriously. “Respect is earned, not given.” That’s how the saying goes. But how do you gain the respect of your family when they see you in your freelancing attire, drinking coffee and smoking all day? Isn’t that what writing is all about? I guess we writers do not command much respect working in our underwear. But if you are making enough money to support or at least contribute to the household, they need to hold their tongues.
- Grow a thick skin. Artists and writers are known for their sensitivity, at least they are stereotyped that way. Being too sensitive, however, can be paralyzing. Criticisms from loved ones (and I am not referring to criticisms about your writing from editors and clients) can take the wind out of your writing sails. Don’t let it happen to you.
- Keep writing. No matter what, no matter what anybody says, you can do it! Consistently carve out a few hours a day to develop your craft. If you have to get out of the house, do it. Go to a coffee-house, grab a latte, sit down and enjoy the peace and quiet.
- Stay focused. No matter what it takes, STAY FOCUSED. What makes someone a genius is their ability to focus. Your writing must take precedence over everything that is going on in your life if you plan to be a successful, professional writer. You can do it. I believe in you.
- NEVER give up. I know, it is an old, worn out cliché, but do it anyways. Stephen King collected a pile of rejection letters before he became a famous author, but he didn’t let the rejections squash his hopes and dreams. Keep writing. Journal if you have to. It will keep you in the “flow,” and will fine tune your craft.
Finally, good luck, keep your head up, and keep writing!