There are seven behaviors that new freelance writers often exhibit that can stop their writing career before it gets well started. Fortunately each one is possible to change.
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to change all seven right now, so I’ve marked the easiest ones with purple asterisks to show you which ones I know you could change today.
The rest need some work too, but generally will take more time.
7 Behaviors that stop writers
Fear of rejection. Okay, I know this is a biggie, or feels like it is. But you know what’s worse than rejection? Is waking up one morning and realizing you never even tried. So act as if you’re not afraid of rejection and start submitting your writing for publications. This gets an asterisk because you can start pretending you’re not afraid right this minutes.
Not focusing on a niche or two. If you don’t pick a niche or two you’ll find yourself writing all over the map. Focusing on one or two topics means you’ll be developing skills and contacts in those areas, both of which will propel you to success more quickly than the scatter shot approach. Pick a niche or two right now.
Not learning the basics. Like every other profession, freelance writing has some rules, both written and unwritten. You need to learn them. Sites like this one, Jenn Mattern’s All Indie Writers, Sharon Hurley Hall’s Get PaidtoWriteOnLine are two of the best. Writer’s Market gives a great overview, lots of how-to, and samples of what you can expect in payment for various writing gigs. Just don’t spend so much time studying the basics you forget to write.
Not knowing how you’re unique. The sooner you recognize you’re unique and you already have a unique writing voice, the easier time you’ll have with your writing. This gets a purple asterisk because you can at least start pretending you know this right now.
Not writing regularly. Most successful writers write at least five days a week, and many every day. But you can be successful and only write on weekends, or three days a week – the point is to write regularly (and often).
Not reading widely. The best writers read widely… the read about writing, they read news, they read novels, they read blogs – they may even be seen reading the backs of milk cartons, and ads on their cell phones. There’s some almost magical connection between reading and writing. You can start reading today – hence the purple asterisk.
Not pitching. If you don’t offer your writing to clients or publishers you’ll never get paid, I promise. Usually not pitching is either fear of rejection (see the first entry here) or some belief you can rewrite a piece to perfection. The problem is neither you nor I would recognize perfection even if it knocked on the door and introduced itself. Give it up, now or at least pretend you know there is no perfection. You could pitch today – or at least apply for a job. Another purple asterisk.
Not having a website. If you plan on earning a living writing or even making a serious mark, you’ve got to have a website. It doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t have to pay a ton for it. In fact, you can do it yourself with a mere four pages. Sure, it will probably take you a day or two, but you could go to BlueHost right now and order a domain name.
You can do 5 today
I didn’t know when I started this post that you’d actually be able to get started today with five behavior changes – but you can. What’s stopping you?
What is stopping you? Did I leave something out? How have you changed your behavior so you’re no longer stopped?
Write well and often,
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