Editor’s note: this is a guest post by fellow Top Ten Blogger Carol Tice of Make A Living Writing.
When I talk with writers about their dreams and what’s holding them back, it always seems to boil down to one thing.
Fear of looking dumb.
Fear of messing up.
Fear of failure.
Fear of being embarrassed.
Fear of screwing up.
Fear of succeeding and not being able to handle it.
Fear of finding out you’re just not talented enough.
I work mostly with freelance writers, but I think when it comes to would-be novelists, the problem is possibly even worse. That’s because novelists can go a long time without any feedback on their writing. They can work on that first novel for a decade and never show it to anyone, while their fears worm their way into their every waking hour and disturb their sleep.
The Way Out of Fear
I’m going to suggest a way out of this gloom: Get a job.
No, not a “day job” pumping gas or stocking grocery shelves.
A freelance-writing job. Get an assignment or two, writing for a magazine, newspaper, company, or website.
Why? A little freelance writing can work miracles for your self-esteem, as well as your checkbook.
Advantages of Freelancing Include:
- You get to work with editors and learn how to improve your work
- You see your byline in print or online (always an ego-booster!)
- You learn to meet deadlines, acquiring writing discipline you can apply to your novel work
- You learn to be better organized to fit in both freelancing and your novel work
- You get to experiment with different writing styles and voices
- You acquire better research skills that can help you find background information for your novel
- You meet writers and editors who might help connect you to publishers
- You can make mistakes on a smaller scale, and learn from them
- You might interview interesting people who could inspire characters in your book
- The freelance income can stave off having to get a real day job and help you preserve more writing time
There’s a myth in the writing community that you’re sullying your artist-writer hands by writing brochures, articles or blog posts. But the fact is, some of the most revered names in literature had workaday writing jobs before hitting it big. If freelancing was good enough for Joseph Heller and Mary Higgins Clark, it’s good enough for you.
Carol Tice teaches freelance writers how to earn more at her Make a Living Writing blog, which was recently chosen as one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers for 2011. Subscribers receive her free report, 40 Ways to Market Your Writing. Her upcoming Webinar (with fellow Top 10 Blogs winner Judy Dunn of Cat’s Eye Writer) is 30 Design & Content Secrets to Skyrocket Your Blog.
Will you try freelance writing in 2011? Leave a comment and tell us about your plans.
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