Want to launch a writing career? Each week, I receive questions on how to get started writing.
My responses change, as conditions change. And of course, my responses change according to the new writer’s experience too.
For the purposes of this post, let’s assume that I’m talking to Jenny, a new mom, who’d love a work-from-home career. Jenny has no writing experience. She enjoys interacting on online forums and commenting on blogs. She’s considered starting her own blog. She has a Twitter account, but rarely uses it; she uses her Facebook account to stay in touch with friends and family. Jenny’s a composite of new writers with whom I work.
An aside: I offer coaching programs for writers, so if you’d like coaching, please get in touch.
Confidence counts: start small, and grow
As a new writer, focus on building your confidence. Never under-estimate the value of confidence, and “confidence” doesn’t mean the absence of fear, which is all in your mind:
Your thoughts are WRONG
I wish I could wave a magic wand and help you to remove fear from your life. I can’t. As Ms Jeffers’ points out in her book’s truths:
TRUTH ONE: The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
You confidence will grow with every gig you complete, AND with every rejection, too. Here’s why. Over time, rejection will stop bothering you. You’ll see that “not for us” means exactly that, and rejections will simply spur you on.
So whenever I work with a beginning writer, I want that writer to have the experience of selling his writing. Once you realize that people do indeed pay for your words, you’ll start thinking.
My aim with Jenny is to give her the knowledge, and the experience she needs, so that she can create a fulfilling career.
1. Start with Fiverr: it’s a learning experience
As a new writer, you need the experience of writing on demand. People will ask you to write about the oddest things; you need the confidence to be able to say, “yes, I’d love to”… even if you have little idea of what they’re talking about.
Your hirers aren’t writers. So the briefs you’re given will often be incomplete. I treasure the memory of the time an advertising agency sent me ONE sentence, and told me the client wanted a brochure. When I asked for further info, the director said: “that’s all we’ve got.” (Yes, I wrote the brochure. :-))
Fiverr’s a handy place for you to get your feet wet, and make small amounts of money. At this stage, you’re not worried about money. As we’ve said, you need the confidence of knowing that YOU CAN write on demand.
Look on Fiverr as training wheels. It’s a simple site. You’ll write for a wide variety of clients.
You’ll know when to stop: when you get bored.
2. Spread your wings on your own website
With a little bit of experience, it’s time for you to create your own writers’ website. Keep in mind that when you’ve done it once, you can do it again… you may decide that you love creating websites for profit.
Your experience on Fiverr will give you an idea of the kind of writing that you can do, for which people will pay. Therefore, you’ll be able to offer what’s in demand.
What will you charge? That’s the first question a writer wants answered when she takes off the training wheels and ventures into the big wide world. Again, it’s a matter of confidence.
It’s hard for a new writer to make the leap from Fiverr gigs to $100 an hour. However, you can do it.
Often, by the time writers come to me, they’re making $20 an hour, can’t survive on that, but want to keep writing. Other writers give up. You’re making the switch from hobbyist writer to pro. You can do it. Sooner or later, the VALUE of what you do for your clients will sink in.
Once it does, you’ll be much better at charging appropriately for what you do. You’ll be able to say that you charge $200 an hour. And you won’t blush while you do it.
3. Write, write, write and promote
Now Jenny’s all set up on her own site, what does she do next? She writes, and promotes her writing, so that people approach her to write.
However, she doesn’t wait for them to do that. She’s proactive. She hustles.
So there you have it. Three simple steps for Jenny, and perhaps for you, if you’d love a writing career. A freelance career isn’t for everyone. However, if it’s for you, you can create a wonderful (and profitable) writing career. Just follow the steps.
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