Writing failures for the freelance writer come in two ways – a failure with the business end of things and an actual failure with the writing itself.
The solution to both is learn from them if you can and quickly move on.
Writing failures with the business end of things is the most probable. Many freelancers fail, at least in the beginning, to recognize that getting paid for their writing is actually a business. In general that means you must let the world know you’re offering your writing for sale (AKA marketing) and you must pay attention to income and expense plus taxes.
Writing failures with the writing itself tend to be missed deadlines and the discovery you can’t really write about everything after all.
Writing failures are not the end of the world
The problem with writing failures is not the fail so much as our reaction to them. There’s a tendency I think to beat ourselves up about them. I still remember how dumb I felt the first time I didn’t get paid for a project. I can replay that ‘I’m dumb’ tape any time I choose.
The problem with that approach is I long ago learned the lesson there – get an advance and something in writing that spells out the client and I are doing.
When I go back into resentment, which comes from the word ‘reliving,’ I’m only wallowing in my drama, building on my story of how I was done wrong.
I notice, however, that I’m still writing all these many years later. When I begin to move back into resentment I only drain my own energy and distract myself from today’s present moment. My writing world didn’t end; instead I got better at the business side of things.
Celebrate writing failures
Although I sure didn’t recognize it back then, I was on to more than I suspected when I intuitively posted my first two rejection slips on my bedroom wall. Instead of considering them writing failures I realized I had taken a big step forward by doing the action of writing and submitting two stories on spec to two women’s magazines. I love that story today and it can serve to energize me when I’m feeling slumpish.
In fact right now I realize that any of the so-called failures in my life, writing and otherwise, were probably wins in disguise. I think I’ll spend a bit of time re-framing them into successes and see what returns I get from turning those stories around.
What’s your best guess? Does learning how to walk away from writing failures or even to celebrate them make sense to you?
Write well and often,