Are you a wordsmith desperate to turn your passion for writing into a career? You are very much not alone. There’s a lot of money to be made writing, but there are also a lot of writers living on ramen noodles and anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s easy to end up wasting months or years working hard and not breaking even.
The thought of living the life you want, working from anywhere in the world, and making a killer living doing something you love is like a beautiful fantasy. It’s a fantasy that can come true. However, aspiring writers often find that that beautiful fantasy becomes an orgy of sadness once they get a taste of the industry.
Don’t let “Trying To Make it as a Writer” Crush Your Spirit
I’m gonna be real with you. I love writing, and I love getting paid to write. Buuut…there’s a point in every writer’s journey that is basically a swamp of uncertainty and despair. If you are really trying, it’s going to be really hard mentally and emotionally. There will be times when you think you should give up. Imposter syndrome will creep in and tell you that you’re wasting your time.
Just remember that Stephen King threw his early manuscript for Carrie in the trash out of frustration. This was when he lived in a double-wide trailer and was a nobody in the writing world. His wife fished the manuscript from the trash, saw something in it, helped him with the female perspective of the story, and encouraged him to finish it and submit it to publishers.
That’s not all though, Carrie was rejected 30 times before a publisher finally accepted it. Can you imagine how much frustration and doubt King had while he was trying to make it? Remember, the struggle is part of the trip. Don’t let it make you stop. It’s not the end unless you decide it is.
Embrace Rejection, the Unsung Hero of Success
Rejection makes us better. Well, sometimes it just leaves us with lifelong trauma and recurring nightmares of that middle school dance back in the day, but that’s neither here nor there. Rejection can be used as fuel for growth and improvement. Rejection can teach us to change and improve.
It’s important, however, to remember that rejection is not all about you. It doesn’t mean that what you have is bad or wrong. The 30 publishers who returned Carrie with a form letter were not saying the work wasn’t good, they were saying that they didn’t see the value in it.
Sometimes rejection helps us to see the value of our own work and keep going beyond the people who don’t appreciate it until we find the ones who do.
Master the Art of the Pitch
Whether you are writing a novel or creating online content, getting paid to write often starts with a killer pitch. Imagine your pitch as a performance – it needs to be attention-grabbing, concise, and leave them wanting more. Read the room and consider Injecting a dash of humor; after all, who can resist a witty wordsmith?
Remember, being a great writer is not just about crafting words; it’s about connecting with your audience and making them understand your creative vision. Learn to sell yourself and your ideas, and you will be a step ahead.
Don’t Fall For Exposure Bucks
Picture this: you’ve just penned a masterpiece, and someone offers to pay you in “exposure.” As tempting as it may sound, exposure doesn’t pay the bills. It’s like going to the grocery store and trying to buy groceries with Instagram likes. Spoiler alert: it won’t work.
Yes, exposure is important, but be skeptical of writing for free. Of course, getting your work out there to publications is a great way to build your career whether or not you get paid at first, but there are a lot of people out there just looking for free content. Don’t give your work to people who just view you as a free content generator.
The Freelancer’s Guide to Writing as a Career
Working as a freelance writer is a great way to make money writing. Be warned, however, that there are endless swarms of scammers, lowballers, and manipulators eager to get you to work for pocket change. Avoid content mills and job board scams. Focus on growing skills and knowledge that go beyond writing. Take control of your business and build success.
Freelancing is a juggling act, and every writer wears multiple hats – content creator, editor, marketer, and accountant. If you find yourself juggling more than you can handle, it’s time to put on your entrepreneur hat. Create a schedule, set boundaries, and for the love of coffee, don’t forget to take breaks. After all, even the most skilled jugglers need a moment to catch their breath.
Be Selective and Protect Yourself
Your writing is your craft. It is very literally what your career is made of. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t give the building blocks of your success to the content vultures out there so that they can profit while your house crumbles.
Work hard, believe in your work, carry it forward with confidence, and only work with those who will help you grow. If you do these things, the future holds nothing but opportunity.
Michael J. Snow is a writer who graciously takes time away from his mid-life crisis and existential dread to attempt to create a smile or two. If you got anything out of this post, drop a comment and let him know. Questions, concerns, etc, send them here.