Monthly Archives: March 2017

Road Blocks That F*ck Up Your Writing Career

To make it as a freelance writer, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me work through some common road blocks that many writers encounter. The start of your career can hit you with a ton of rejection, and confusion, leaving you questioning your choice to become a writer. Here are a few things that may help you better prepare for a career as a freelance writer.

Reframe Rejection. The term reframe is often used in therapy, and it means to view from a different perspective, typically objective, neutral or positive. When it comes to rejection, every writer will likely experience it at some point. Sometimes rejection comes in the form of an actual rejection letter, or you just won’t hear back from place you’ve applied to, or pitched pieces to. If you take every rejection personally, you probably won’t want to continue as a writer. So, let’s reframe this sucker. Rejection creates an opportunity to fine tune your pitching skills, perfect your resume/cover letter, and figure out what types of jobs you are most qualified for. The more rejections you get, the closer you are to honing in on your specific type of job for the time being. Rejection also allows you to practice your healthy coping skills and build resiliency. Even though it is difficult to get rejected, you are ultimately the only one who can prevent your goals from being achieved.

Identify Self Esteem Issues. You may find your confidence wavering at the start of your career as you begin to figure out how you stand out in a sea of great writers, bloggers and content developers. This is totally normal. Figuring out your style as a writer takes time and practice.

Think about where you derive your self worth from. Does self worth directly coincide with your job? For many, especially in America, there is a huge premium placed on the type of job you have, like that in some way makes you who you are. Your job hopefully gives you opportunities for growth, learning and skill building, but it should not be the sole dictator of your self worth.  Your job can never fully encapsulate who you are as a person, in your entirety. So whether you have your dream job, no job or a meh job, work towards your self-esteem not becoming greatly impacted when things don’t go as you planned career-wise.

Understand Your Procrastination. Procrastination is not necessarily a bad thing. It can give you lots of clues as to why you are avoiding something. For many, procrastination is a way to replace a not-so-fun activity with something more enjoyable. When it comes to writing, you may encounter many subjects and publishers that don’t seem to fit with what your interests are, even if your pitch or job application ends up being approved. As you progress as a writer, take time to think about and explore whether or not the job opportunity is worth it. If you find yourself procrastinating more often than not when it comes to a certain subject, you may want to take a look at other options. You may find your passion has shifted.

Although finding your writing niche can be exciting, keep your options open and continue to explore what you enjoy writing about. New interests eventually lead to new opportunities. You never know where your career may end up, and at least to me, that’s pretty exciting.

Finding A Freelance Writing Job

Until you get your dream writing job, it is up to you to prioritize your job hunt. This can feel nearly impossible, especially when you already have a job and a million other responsibilities to keep track of. Here are some ways I got my shit together and started landing freelance writing jobs.

Make It Your Job To Find Your Dream Job. This may sound trite, but it’s so true. Until you begin thinking about your job hunt like a second or third job, you just won’t prioritize it and put in the effort it takes to find what you’re looking for. I drastically shifted gears when I decided I wanted to become a writer. For me this meant identifying myself as a writer, building up my writing portfolio and exploring potential writing topics of interest in order to find my niche. After a month of pouring through listings, websites, and company pages, I finally started landing some jobs and getting paid.

Get Organized. Consciously schedule some time everyday to search for jobs, even if it’s only for a few minutes it could make a difference. You never know when you’re going to find something awesome. Once you set a plan, stick to it! If keeping a calendar, or setting reminders on your phone keeps you from straying from the course, do it. You’ll begin to get into a routine, and the task at hand probably won’t feel as daunting. On that note, make sure your resume is up to date and well put together. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out some online examples, or ask for help. This makes applying for jobs much easier, makes you look more professional, and is another major time saver.

Set Goals. Try to set a few specific goals and a few more general goals. These will help keep you on target, while clarifying your unique interests. Once your goals are set, you will have an easier time figuring out what to search for. Solid goals can help keep you motivated to move forward with your job search. Some general goals of mine included finding a paying writing or editing job, being able to exercise my creativity within the role,  and being offered a contract or recurring role. More specific goals included finding a job where I could provide content about animal wellness, mental health, relationships, and financial stress.

Check Out Potential Topics Of Interest, Even If You’re Not An Area Expert. Allow yourself to explore different opportunities in the beginning of your writing career, because you never know what creative doors might open for you from there. This also gives you a better shot at finding your writing niche, which ultimately can set you apart from other writers. With every new gig you get, big or small, it not only sharpens your writing skills, but also boosts your freelance resume.

Celebrate The Small Stuff. Landing that perfect job takes time, so be patient and kind to yourself. Acknowledge all of the hard work you are doing to get there, and find ways to keep yourself motivated. Keep in mind that everyone at some point will experience rejection, and that’s okay. Rejection doesn’t mean that you’re an awful writer, it just means you weren’t a proper fit for that specific job. Just remember it’s not a matter of if you find a job, it’s a matter of when. Happy Job Hunting!

Let’s Chat. What’s been the most difficult part of finding a job? How long did it take you to land your first freelance writing job?

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Here’s Lily Celebrating The Small Stuff With You!

 

 

How to Get Your Ass Writing When You Feel Stuck

Writer’s block happens to the best of the best, so take a deep breath because you’re in good company. Regardless of the subject you’ve chosen to write about, or are required to write about, here are a few steps you can take to shift your creative energy.

  1. Be Mindful. When you hyper-focus on anything, it can lead to fixation, you know when you can only think about what you aren’t doing, and then think about the consequences of not doing what you’re supposed to do. This can become a not so fun cycle of negative thinking, one that can cause a downward spiral into self degrading thoughts. Try this… picture your thoughts floating by like text bubbles, or small banners. Watch the thoughts move on by, and just notice them. Take deep breaths as you continue to watch your thoughts float by. Continue to do this until your thoughts slow down.
  2. Get Grounded. For many, writer’s block can bring up some anxious feelings. Along with taking deep belly breaths, try doing some progressive muscle relaxation. In this exercise you begin at your toes, squeezing as tightly as you can and holding for thirty seconds, then releasing and moving up your body all the way to the top of your head.
  3. Free Write Words That Come To Mind When You Think Of Your Topic. Write your topic at the top of your page. Close your eyes and visualize your topic. If your topic doesn’t bring up a visual image, think about what your abstract topic would look like if it came to life and was standing in front of you. Without over-thinking, write out whatever comes to mind. If you’re on a roll,(Yay!) just go with it, if not move on to the next step.
  4. Think Of A Personal Experience That Brings Meaning To Your Free Written Words. Take a peak at your free-written words, and pick one that stands out right away. Begin brainstorming and then writing about what experiences connect you to this word. When you feel like you’ve nailed it, see if any of your experiences can become inspiration, or supporting details for your blog topic.
  5. Create An Outline. With some potential supporting details ready to go, you are all set to create your outline. Break up your piece into several manageable segments and feel free to repeat any exercises you found helpful. Happy Writing!

Let’s chat! Which step was the most difficult, or easiest for you? Which step felt helpful in terms of getting your creativity going? What did you end up writing about?