To Become a Writer: Write as much Crappy Stuff as Possible

A lot of people ask me how I started freelance writing. I find it funny because I think they think it is super glamorous. But, trust me, it is not.

The answer isn’t very useful. The answer is that, one day, I just started. I looked up freelance websites, figured it out, and started bidding jobs. I took crappy, low-paying jobs until I earned a reputation and now I have built a business around my clientele who mostly hire me for marketing materials, lesson design, and other COMPLETELY random assignments. Most of what I do is still not my passion – but writing is.

I still don’t pull in a crazy income off of my writing. It’s enough for me to contribute to our family’s needs. But, it isn’t sending us on any tropical vacays. That’s a reality that you should be aware of.

There are a lot of people who want 3 things too fast:

1. to get paid a lot to write
2. to write a lot of stuff that is very important to them
3. to have an audience in awe of their talent

That doesn’t happen overnight, if at all. It is about as likely as a mall model scout picking you out and sending you off to Milan for your first photo shoot the next week. You hear of these things – but they are not the norm.

If you want to write, then write.

To be able to write for a living you need to be prepared for the fact that most jobs that pay a lot will not ignite a passion inside of you. You also need to accept that you will not become successful overnight. You may not become successful for years. You may never become successful.

If you are willing to write baby food ads and tampon descriptions, you can make a living. You may even get lucky and get to the point where you can run a blog that will earn you income. There might be a day when you find a publisher willing to back your book. But, none of that happens until you write.

The only way to keep getting better is to practice. Some of that practice should be for other people. Why? It’s humbling and educational. You probably are not as good as you think you are… and you certainly aren’t going to be able to make everyone happy. Plus, I learned (and continued to learn so much) about internet marketing, blogging, website maintenance, etc. that serves me in a variety of ways. I have also researched and written about just about everything that you can imagine… I am an expert on pink salts, can get a wine stain out of just about anything, and have a basic understanding of how to assemble and install a ceiling fan. I also find out about all kinds of new trends, and cultural movements through my writing assignments.

In addition, you’ll find that writing takes discipline. You will learn the value of just sitting down and typing, even when you don’t have anything to say… You will become a master of fighting off writer’s block… You will become more aware of what motivates you creatively. It’s all really good stuff.

So, what’s my advice? Write whenever, wherever and for whoever. That’s really it.

2 thoughts on “To Become a Writer: Write as much Crappy Stuff as Possible

  1. Yeah, according to YOU, you can’t become famous and always write about things you’re passionate about. But you’re just a real life writer and all the movies and fiction books tell me differently. So there. 😛

    Seriously though, thanks for this post. As someone who is very new to pursuing passions, I’m still sort of in that mindset where I think I’ve got to love EVERYTHING I do ALL the time or it means I’m doing it wrong. Thanks for writing this informative piece that reminds me (and hopefully all your other readers) to be realistic!


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