Taking professional risks like leaving a well-respected career of twelve years to launch a new freelance writing career is hard. Putting yourself out there, by defining your professional (and personal) goals publicly is hard.
Goals like becoming a being published in a magazine. Goals like becoming a motivational speaker. Goals that you list publicly, because you know that to dream big you need to put your dreams and yourself out there into the universe. That part…the dreaming big and listing goals, that is the easy part. The hard part is not in the dreaming, the hard part is in the action. Making things happen. That is hard.
Not impossible. But hard.
Which is why, after six months of talking about my goals and my dreams, it is time to move past the dreaming and take action. With a recipe for success that will take effort, diligence, and action. Lots of action.
Thinking back to my days as a teacher, my favorite subject to teach and foster passion in my students was in writing. Seeing them transform themselves from eight year olds that wrote about the same thing day after day, or were too afraid to write because they were overly worried with their mechanics into real life writers was magical. Watching them conference with one another, speaking as writers to each other…it occurred to me that maybe I should take some of my own advice.
Which is why, although I am still very much in the development stage as a freelance writer, I am formulating an ingredient list for what it takes to become a freelance writer.
There are so many necessary ingredients and skills necessary to become a freelance writer but the more and more I thought about it, the clearer it became what was most important.
You Need Self Confidence to Become a Freelance Writer
There are a lot of incredibly talented and fabulous writers out there in both digital and print media. People whose words touch you to the depths of your core with just a few words. I am not one of those writers. My writing is conversational and informal. I write like I talk (except that when I talk, I use my hands A LOT to gesture) and although that may not be the appropriate writing style to be published in the New York Times or Travel and Leisure, the passion behind my words, is there. Could it be finessed and more refined? Sure. Could I use a few less … and more variety in my word choice, absolutely. But do I believe that my words convey meaning and feeling? Yes.
In the end the question comes down to, do I truly believe that I am a good writer? My answer is yes. For the right audience and the right topic- yes, and yes. Which of course begs the question, what are the right topics?
You Need to Reflect to Become a Freelance Writer
The right topics for me are things that I know about. Things that I care about. Things that I am passionate about. Topics like:
Life as a cancer survivor and finding a silver lining amidst every day challenges.
Real life, first person perspectives on a far away (or not so far away) travel destination.
The voices and hearts of individuals that are pushing through each day, around the globe, to build sustainable lives for themselves and their families.
Fitness and health, not as a guru, but as a real person that has struggled and pushed, and struggled and pushed some more.
Lastly, the topic that professionally I know the most about, cannot be discounted as a possible writing topic. Education and best practices in fostering creativity and higher level thinking in children was my area of expertise for twelve years, is something that I am passionate about, and makes sense for me to add to my repertoire.
Believing that my voice about these topics matters…and more than just matters, could be helpful to readers, is key to my self-confidence or lack there of as a writer. It has been what has kept me from stepping up to send that first query, and what has held me back from believing that I deserve to call myself a writer. But the time has come, to push those voices aside. To believe. To act.
There are of course more ingredients for this “becoming a freelance writer” recipe. In part II of How to Become a Freelance Writer, I share three more critical elements to transition from dreaming to becoming a successful freelance writer. It goes without saying that as a novice, these opinions are not research based or proven…but I am hoping that they work for me. And maybe for you.
What about you? What are your key ingredients to becoming a freelance writer?