To become a writer
I’ve been supporting myself as a writer for several years now. Yes, it’s quite a dream come true. However, to get to that point required boundless tenacity, patience and persistence, as well as a tough outer shell that allowed me to deal with the heaps of rejection letters from endless submissions I sent out as part of my daily routine.
The excitement of getting published is unlike most other things in the world of a serious writer. I say “serious” because whether or not you write for fun, or are making a real attempt at becoming a full-time writer. Perhaps even more so, the feeling of hearing how something you wrote affected a reader, especially in a positive manner, is unparalleled, an amazingly fulfilling and overwhelming emotion.
I spent very hard 13 years in other professions – in the Medical association management profession, working in the real estate , banking industry and also a tea garden health manager with indigenous groups ,teaching profession .In this mean time I tried to perfecting my writing skills in virtually all of my free time. I wouldn’t even tell anyone that I wrote or was even published, essentially due to the fact that other professions was still the main source providing me with the meals on my table and the roof over my head.
Perhaps that was a stubborn way to view my life, but it all didn’t seem real or even fair to my soul to state, “yes, I’m a writer.” I didn’t see a purpose. Almost every time, when I did state this, the person sitting on the other side – somehow cheapened it by saying, “me, too.”
I did meet some semi-famous writers out of the lot, but they were very few. Most were really not, they merely used the topic as an entrée to hearing themselves speak. I’ve found that people love to gloom on to the idea of the Jack Kerouac-bohemian lifestyle image of drinking, experimenting with drugs, living a life on the road, and then writing about it to mass acclaim. I love those images as well, but there was always a little voice inside of me saying, “don’t let yourself fantasize too much, work harder to make that fantasy a reality.”
I held on to that mantra for well over a decade, and then it all finally came to fruition in the form of a publishing deal. I have been fortunate enough to have had three books published, since I began this journey, as well as dozens of other pieces for periodicals and the like. I’ve traveled the world promoting my work, and it’s simply been awesome, to say the least. I still can’t quite believe it when I receive a check in the mail for something that I love to do.
Perhaps I’ve harped a bit too much on the money aspect of it all. I know that there are a great deal of people out there who receive immense satisfaction derived from writing in a journal, etc. This is how I began as well. I decided early on, though, that my goal was to do what I loved, which was compile the written word into a readable form, reach a large audience, and hopefully get paid for it, consistently. The emotional pleasure I experienced from writing a story or an article was greater than any drug I’ve tried. To be able to feel this pleasure on an extended, daily basis is mind-boggling still, to this day.
What do you need to do to support yourself as a full-time writer? First, stop thinking about it and do it. Even if it’s one sentence, or even one word per day, at least you’ll be making progress. Too many people think about the process and don’t actually make it happen. Get on the keyboard, or grab the pad and pen, and go for it.
Secondly, get used to rejection. It happens to all great writers. Imagine that one closed door in the form of a rejection letter puts you one step closer to the door that will open. Simplistic thinking, maybe, but effective if you truly believe it. Lastly, don’t listen to anyone tell you how you can’t do it. No one will believe in your dream as much as you, so don’t bank on encouragement. Keep your pen to the pad, crank it out and believe. Let it flow and eventually it’ll happen for you.
Becoming A Freelance Writer
Writing is both a love and a business. A lot of writers jump into writing with expectations of getting paid lots of money and getting their works published.
Sometimes, though, things don’t work out as planned — especially when you jump into being a freelance writer full-time.
There are some points you should remember, and some realities you have to face and accept. Ultimately, if you want to make it as a freelance writer, you have to be determined.
The very first step of determining whether you’re suited to the freelance life, and walks you through the process in small, easy steps.
- Coming up with the Big Idea
- Finding the right market
- Looking like a business
- Making simultaneous submissions the right way
- Dealing with rejection
- Negotiating sales and contracts
- Editing your work
- Recycling your ideas
- Branching out into other markets
One of best pieces of advice is to re-slant and re-sell. “Re-slanting an article is easy, since you’ve already done the bulk of the research. Scrounge up a few new quotes, and use the information you left out of the first article.” If you’re worried about rights, she also has advice there. And, in today’s market, you can’t afford not to re-sell:
“Let’s say that most small publications will pay you $100 for an 800-word article. How many articles would you have to write to earn a decent living? One a day? Every day?”
Unfortunately, many small magazines don’t pay even $100 per article. When I first started writing for one regional magazine, I made $35 for an 800 word article. Their rate has probably gone up since then, but I’m sure it’s nowhere near $100.
If you don’t believe you can make a living writing articles, or you’re just starting out and want a steady source of income, The suggestions is -write for businesses, press releases, ghostwriting, greeting cards and captions, and other markets.
Write For Commercial Markets And on The Web
Let’s face it. Commercial writing just doesn’t carry the same appeal as writing fiction or magazine articles. It’s just not as glamorous to say, “Oh, have you seen ABC’s new brochure? Well, I wrote that.”
On the other hand, scrambling for jobs month after month, hoping you’ll have enough to pay the bills, isn’t glamorous either. Freelance writing for businesses can provide a steady income, and can be as intellectually stimulating as any other freelance project.
Peter Bowerman, in The Well-Fed Writer adds a nice touch of humor to what could easily be a very boring topic. The book is solidly packed with information that will get you started as a freelance commercial writer, whether you want to moonlight or move up to full-time.
He begins by listing and explaining the traits needed to succeed in this field, and writing ability is not the most essential.
“You need to be mentally prepared to make good money,” Bowerman writes. He advises setting a goal, whether it’s a specific income or simply ‘enough to get by and set a little aside.’ But he also reminds the reader that these goals aren’t set in stone. You, the writer, have complete control. And though he states it a bit differently, part of the goal should be non-work-related. Quality of life is just as important as quantity of cash.
Where’s the Business? To succeed in any business, you need clients or customers. Bowerman details the various markets for freelance corporate writers, from middle men to end users. Then he tells you how to go about getting their business. “Okay, so how do we make the contacts and get in front of these folks? It’s called prospecting and I’ve come to realize, the hardest part of prospecting is just getting started.” Yet Bowerman makes it seem, if not exactly easy, then at least doable. He says that when he first started out, he made 700 calls in a four-week period. That breaks down to 35 calls a day, 5 days a week, for 4 weeks. A lot of calls, yes, but you can tailor your calling schedule to fit your needs. The more calls, the more clients you’ll get.
Bowerman also discusses developing a portfolio, getting started, and the business side of freelancing. One comment he makes goes in the face of everything I’ve learned about marketing. He says you need to establish a connection with a company before you send out your direct mail pieces. In other words, mailing is no substitute for calling. Instead, he recommends direct mail as a way of keeping in touch with your best prospects.
This is such a good, in-depth guide that a brief review just doesn’t do it justice.
Writing “How To” Reports And Make Money
I was chatting with a friend of mine, and we discussed an issue that I absolutely had no idea she new so much about. She was giving me more and more information about the topic. I immediately saw dollar signs! I told her that she should take all her information, do some research, and publish a “How To” article. I feel the information she has will benefit a lot of married couples.
Publishing “How To” reports is a proven money maker on the internet and even in the classifieds of newspapers. Anyone can produce a “How To” Report and if it is something that you know people will want, you maybe very wealthy!
The basic “Money Making Report / How To” is usually a couple of pages in length. People usually sell them for a few dollars. You have to keep in mind that no one will pay a lot for something that is just a couple of pages. You want to include a “How To” method for solving a problem, such as; saving money, attaining greater happiness, making extra money, etc.
Anyone can write a salable report on any subject – providing he or she has knowledge of the subject through personal experience, research, or both. A lot of women write successful money-making reports based upon better ways of solving household problems. And a lot of men write successful money-making reports on how to get greater pleasure from leisure time activities such as fishing, wood working or other hobbies. The list of subjects you can write about is endless.
The best advice anyone can give you on how to write a money-making report is to have you write as though you were giving complete detailed instructions.
Steps To Follow To Make Your “How To Report A Success”:
1. Style – Write in a style similar to the book reports / theme papers you used to write when you were in junior high.
2. Factual and Clear – Be sure your report is clear and factual. Be factual, and be clear. Know your reader and use the kind of language they would expect you to use.
3. Outlining – Outline what you want to say before you write it. Many writers think as they’re typing or writing, but everything will flow smoother if you outline first
4. Basic Ideas – Money Making reports have been, and can still be written to show other people how to start, develop, enjoy or expand a hobby; how to learn and develop new or greater abilities; how to start, develop and operate a new business, or even expand a current one; how to develop and prepare for a new career; how to make more money; how to save money, better one’s standard of living and have more time for leisure; how to solve personal problems and enjoy life more; how to attain success.
5. Research – You’ll find that the better selling reports are well researched, authoritative, factual and helpful to the reader in the achievement of his goals. Your report can be put together and sold as anything from a two-page typewritten paper to a multi-page, typeset, and professionally bound book. An important point to remember here is that the people who are going to buy your report are going to be interested in the information it contains not how long it took you to put it together. The reason you wrote it, or the number of pages you’ve written.
6. Picking a subject to write about – You want to choose one that has sales appeal. The best rule to follow is to write only about something you already know a great deal about. And remember, the more you are involved or interested in the subject, the easier it will be for you to write about that subject in a manner that will hold your reader’s interest. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will show, causing your reader to overlook any technical writing weaknesses.
7. Deciding – How do you determine the subject that’s best for you to use for your first report? Channel your thinking along these lines: If you love to fish, you could probably put together a money-making report on “How To Catch The Big Ones.” If you love to sew, you could probably write a report on “Tips For Beautiful Sewing.” If you have experience in advertising, you could write a report on “How To Write An Ad For Best Results;” experience in printing, a report on “How To Prepare Copy and Layout For Best Printing Results;” experience in business, a report on “Better Business Operating Techniques.”
8. Researching – Once you’ve decided on the subject you’re going to write about, the next step is researching it. Visit your local library, research on the internet, read newspapers, magazines, books, and ezines. Start collecting clippings, talk to your neighbors, your friends and relatives, and take notes on all information you gather from reading and personal discussion.
9. Sorting and Compiling – After you have intensively researched your subject, gathered notes and discussed it with people, you are ready to sort, compile, and assemble your notes. Simply read through all the notes and discard those that are repetitious, and organizing those you’re going to use according to your outline. Don’t let the outline part of your project become an obstacle. An outline is simply listing the order in which you want to write about or discuss each aspect of your subject.
10. Composing – Everything that’s written should have a natural beginning, a body and an ending. When you outline your subject, you can include a table of contents, you’ll find it easier to say what you want to say. You’ll be able to say everything you want to say and not worry about forgetting or leaving out an important point you want to make. The coverage of your subject will be more complete, and your writing will be much smoother.
11. Start writing – Write as though you were talking to someone, because writing, after everything has been analyzed, taken apart, studied, improved upon, and put back together, is nothing more or less than a written conversation between two people. Keep writing until it is finished.
12. Completion – When you have completed your first draft, put it aside for a couple of days to allow your brain and body to rejuvenate themselves. After a couple of days, go through your report as an editor would do. Strike out, rewrite and polish each paragraph for clarity, accuracy and flow. Make sure that what you’ve written is easy to read, easy to understand, and each sentence follows the one before it. The smoother the writing of your report flows, the easier it’ll be to read, and the easier it is to read, the more copies you will sell.
13. Selling – Once you have completed the report, it is now time to sell it. You can place an ad in your local newspapers, place internet ads, and post on boards locally. If you are finding it to be a huge success, you may want to consider giving resell writes and charge people interested in reselling for profits a large sum of money. I can not believe all the How To reports I see being sold on the internet. They are a big seller on eBay.com. Also a lot of the money making / business opportunity sites resell How To reports. You can also approach website owners and ask them if they would like to partner, where they advertise it on their websites and you share the commissions. You can obtain a free merchant account through http://www.paypal.com .
Following these steps and any other ideas you have, will give you the potential to earn a really nice income. Just remember if you know something or have an interest in something that others will find a benefit then you can earn a profit. I did make my friend so excited about this money making idea and she is in the works of putting her “How To” report together. She is a stay at home mom and going through a divorce, so anything she can do to make an income at home, she is going to do it. She is not a writer, but she is very knowledgeable in the subject she is writing about.
The Best Piece of Writing Advice
It’s an advice and it’s a quote from one of the writers I have always admired — Isaac Asimov.
It’s pretty obvious how much I believe in his particular quote because that’s the quote I use at my other site, The e-Writer’s Place:
“I write for the same reason I breathe; because if I didn’t, I would die.”
The first time I came across that quote, it smacked me right in the face. I finally knew why I was born to write. I grew up in a very traditional family, where my father’s definition of a real job was a 9-5 job in a corporate world. He wanted to see me secured and getting regular paychecks every 15 days, with fringe benefits — the works. And for him, being a writer was not a “real job.” I had to prove to him and my family that I can make money from my passion — writing. And now that I am indeed making money from all the writing I do…well, my father has stoppped “bugging” me about getting a real job . However, it’s not really about the money — why I write. (Well OK, I need money but I don’t need it THAT badly!) It’s also because writing is something I love to do, and I know that I wouldn’t be a complete person if I didn’t write.
I think Isaac Asimov’s quote covers everything an aspiring writer needs to know about being a writer: If you treat writing as something that’s an integral part of you, something that was born with you, something that you do, not because you have to do it, but because you just do, like eating or taking a pee or breathing, then it will all fall into place. You’ll have the drive, the need, the passion and the determination to write. Nothing can stop you, and if you stop writing long after you know your lot in life is to write and be a writer, then it’ll just be like dying.
I believe Mr. Asimov has given me one of the best pieces of writing advice. I hope you take with you a piece of it too.