When You Think You Want to Be A Freelance Writer

I’ve been at this writing thing a number of years, and have noticed a few things beginners to this career do. Some do more of these things, some just one.

  1. They assume what they know is enough and don’t strive to be “better.”
  2. They read promises of what could happen and get scared off, believing it’s hype and too good to be true.
  3. They suffer information overload, burn themselves out before they even get started, and decide to wait on tables for the rest of their lives.
  4. They battle information overload, but follow the wrong mentors.
  5. They tell themselves they’re not good enough and quit.
  6. They get started, but undervalue what they’re worth.
  7. They believed it was going to be easy.

First, I’m going to tackle the last one.

While freelance writing may be the better answer for you, let me be perfectly clear. Being a freelance writer is NOT easy.

But we’ve all heard the timeless saying: Nothing word doing is ever easy.

If you think being a freelance writer is easy and you fit in the first category where you believe what you know is enough…well, get over yourself.

You’ll need to learn MORE and improve.

You’ll need to grow from “working for the man” and “become the man,” so to speak. It doesn’t matter if you led a big team with little disruption from upper management. It doesn’t matter if you were involved with the budgeting.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world.

You’ll need to alter your perspective in some areas and learn how to operate in others. You’ll have duties you didn’t have before. You’ll have to learn how to speak the way others speak so your words connect with them.

If you come from a position of prestige and self importance, you’ll need to find humility empathy. If you came from a position of self employment or reliance, you’ll need a drive to become “better” for your clients’ sake more than your own.

For people in category two who believe this is too good to be true. Well, frankly, if you completely dismissed the writing life because you couldn’t see past the hype of what can be achieved, either you don’t believe in yourself enough or want it badly enough.

You need to step back and fix that first. It’s okay to not fully believe in yourself at first. Confidence comes with time, with the more jobs you do, and more connections you make in this profession. But you must be resolved not to let that cripple you. Even if you don’t believe in yourself at first, decide now to be willing to believe in yourself and forge ahead, with guidance.

A close family friend of mine gave up his inherited business. He was honest with himself. He said, “I don’t want to be a boss. I just want to work.”

And that’s okay. There’s no shame in not wanting the duties a boss goes through. As a freelancer, you become the boss. Be sure you want it badly enough to be able to deal with the duties you’ll have as the boss.

When you operate your own freelance business, you’ll have to deal with the same issues as any business owner. You have to show up and be available for clients when you say you will be.

You may have to fire someone. Yes, I’ve had to fire an editor before. You have to worry about taxes, budgets, broken equipment, bad clients, people who don’t like your business, etc.

Yes, we are a fickle society. We have those who disagree with anything and everything. They will appear and try to ruin your party.

And you’ll have two other things to deal with:

  1. People won’t believe you really work and have a real schedule.
  2. You will have to learn how to say “No.”

It’s funny. People read words all the time, yet they don’t believe anyone has the job of writing those words. Perhaps, in 50 years, no one will and computers will do it all.

But for now it’s us. And we get paid for it. Until you make it big (whatever that means to you) and can live by your writing, people may not take your work or work hours seriously.

Even after you make it, many won’t take it seriously. They believe because you work for yourself, so your time is your own, and it’s easier for you to take time off at a moment’s notice. Of course you won’t be able to if you’re running your business seriously.

You will have to develop the ability to say “No.” Sometimes to some very important requests. Sometimes to even yourself when you think, “I’ve got time. I’m going to take a break and do [something other than work.]”

During my early years a mentor said something very important. “You’ll work longer and harder for yourself starting out than you ever did working for someone else.”

It’s true. Oh, the 4 hour work days for writers with a bigger income do really exist. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen for everyone. It took them time to build up the right clientele, and they usually work in an area that come with royalties that go on for years.

Can you create a six figure income? Sure. But it’s not easy, nor does it happen quickly. Not as a rule anyway. I’ve observed a few work their butts off specifically aiming for that income and it still took 2-5 years to get to that point.

I’m not saying there are exceptions. I’ve seen one get serious about her career and within a year be a six figure income copywriter. She also works a full work week. No four hour days.

Don’t kid yourself. It’s competitive out there and making it won’t be easy.

It IS entirely possible to enjoy the “writer’s life” as some companies call it. What that means to you is your choice. This could be a five figure income or a six figure income.

The trick is to decide what your desired end goal is when you get into this business right away. Then be prepared to learn what it takes to achieve it.

I’ll tell you now that I’m not at my end goal yet. I really didn’t start seriously working towards it immediately. By my calculations, I won’t achieve my end goal for another few years.

The incredible achievements I’ve seen in my business over the past several months have boistered my confidence though.  I know now for sure that my end goal will be achieved. I may even make it sooner than I anticipate.

IF, and only if, I do the work. This is the time I have to really get serious and work harder for it.

Steve Roller describes the process of realizing what it will take to make it in this business as coming from the dark side to the light side. He says it so much better and more completely than I do in his new book, The Freelancer Manifesto.

I highly recommend it. I strongly suggest you buy it and read it BEFORE taking any courses for starting your freelance career. Make sure you’re willing to work hard for your better working life.

If you’ve invested in courses, but you feel discouraged or lost, yet know you still want to work for yourself, his book’s for you too. Reading about the dark side will help you reaffirm your desire to have this career and your willingness to do the work.

You’ll find renewed confidence that you’re on the right path by surviving his rendition of the dark side of freelancing. You’ll find discover new ways to define and achieve the goals you want in the rest of the book.

Buy Steve’s Book Here

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A Random Observation and Thoughts

He was a gruff looking individual with the clean jeans and white shirt of a well-bathed outdoors man. His baseball cap and medium length, grizzly gray beard spoke of the typical macho man.

But his body language and walk were the opposite. He walked tiptoes first, as a woman does in high heels. His smile was a little too perky. The smacking of his lips as he talked took away from his masculinity.

His personality and manners were bold and confident. With no fear of talking to women or men alike, he moved through the room saying hello to everyone.

This man’s appearance, mannerisms, and body language revealed a much more complex individual than the stereotypical male.

This man behaved as if following two separate rules of what being himself meant. Perhaps due to an alternative lifestyle at home. Perhaps due to being raised by and around people of multiple lifestyles.

Whatever the truth, his confidence said he was comfortable in his own skin, and surrounded by people who accepted him as he was. It spoke of a man who lived as he feels right to do, and of a society that let him.

What is the secret to this personal power?

The community in which one lives? A society who allows people to develop and grow as they see fit without judging. Perhaps a society that does not bury itself in devices, hearing the repeated outcries of the self proclaimed oppressed. That learns to relax and just BE.

My confidence has grown as I’ve become more educated. As I’ve taken an interest in myself to be the best I can be in health, business, and spirituality. As I live to please myself and live by my own standards, versus living by the standards of others.

Working 60 hours a week seemed way too overwhelming at first, but my education and experience has advanced me to new levels. I appreciate my potential and my ability more.

I hang around people online who are on the same path as I am, some a lot further along this path than I. Many of these people I’ll meet in person in October, some I’ve met with via phone. Others I will still meet on phone, skype, or even in person before then.

I’ve begun meeting with business people in my industry niche. Many opportunities have come my way. I feel many more coming.

Negative people don’t belong in my life now. No matter where their paths lie, the people I’m with spend their time promoting what’s right, not what’s wrong. They see something wrong in their pathway, they do something to help improve it.

 

It’s About Being the Best I Can Be

A few months or so ago, I bought a fit desk for my office. It’s not the ideal space, being a little small for work and a stationary bike both. But it works.

I have a few conditions people wouldn’t know to look at me, or talk to me because I normally do not speak of them. Last year, these things made it rough to do the walking. Many know me from my walks around town, which slowed down a few years ago, thanks to back issues. Not to mention, the weather discouraged me in one form or another.

That’s an excuse, not a reason. I know it, and told myself it numerous times but never listened. Of course, nothing ever improves if you do not work at improving it, and that’s what happened with me.

Finally, I got tired of getting “stuck” halfway down the stairs time after time in our house. My knee, my foot, or my hip where the back injury was would leave me “stuck” on the stairs. Or all three. I’d have to use the rails to shift weight and struggle back up the stairs.

I decided to take a different approach to getting over this hurdle. I cleaned out my office to make space for the fit desk and ordered one in. It now was part of my daily routine.

It wasn’t easy. The back thing made it very difficult to get on and off. I used a step stool and my walking stick in combination. The seat really hurt. I went through trying three different type of seat cushions and covers. Funny how the best one turned out to be the simple sheepskin cover the fit desk manual suggested.

I also purchased padded biking shorts, but haven’t made it to the point where I’m on the fit desk long enough to wear it.

That’s not to say I won’t get there and that I don’t use the fit desk. I do. Three to four times a day throughout the work days, usually Monday through Friday. Unless I’m out of the house for the day.

I’m typing while on it right now. Oliver’s on the floor watching me in his curious way. Normally I seem to ride while he’s downstairs or sleeping on the couch, so this is still new to him.

At first, the most I could do was a few moment’s time on the fit desk. And getting on and off was a bit scary. I was afraid I’d rejolt that bone, get stuck, or tip the thing over and end up getting hurt another way. But I kept at it.

In time, that few moments became 5 minutes, then ten, then fifteen. I’m at a point where 15 minutes at a time is my normal, but it feels like I could make it longer. I feel I’m close to getting to a point where I can be on it for 1/2 hour sometime.

Actually, I think I made it to half and hour today while writing this, without thinking about it.  I did stand for a few minutes in middle of routine thanks to sore biking butt syndrome.

The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I can zip right down the stairs now like I used to before my back injury. That in itself is joyful enough to keep me on the bike.

It seems that my hope in using this fit desk has been fulfilled. I needed to walk but had foot/bone issues. I had hoped that the fit desk would encourage increased circulation to my feet area to help with that. I’ve noticed improvement in walking.

Now, getting on and off of it is not as scary. I’ve learned how to shift my weight and I do still use the step stool, although I no longer need to use the walking stick. Partly because of the tight space in my office. It’s possible I can do without it, but the step stool helps me deal with the confined space. Not trying it. *grin*

And if the seat hurts, the work platform makes a great standing desk when it’s pushed forward. I can alternate between biking and standing.

Almost two months ago, I became serious about this fit desk for real. My doctor told me I was very close to being diabetic and encouraged me to use the fit desk. At that time, I made sure to fit the biking in my routine, or walking when I’m out and able, plus I took on eating more closely to a diabetic diet and using diabetic recipes in meals.

Plus a whole vitamin regimen, also encouraged by my doctor.

I also added a few more helpful dietary adjustments in to my routine that I know are good for me. I get turmeric and other useful herbs in when I can. I try to get a serving of plain greek yogurt in per day. My favorite is making a smoothie of banana, honey, and plain greek yogurt. I also like a serving of fruit on top of yogurt.

I’m not sure what progress I’ve made, but I’ve been told I look skinnier in the face. My shirts aren’t fitting as easy anymore, often sliding off my shoulders, and my pants really are looser. Some close to falling off.

More importantly, I feel a lot better. My other hidden condition has tamed down a lot. This one would interfere with my daily life more than I like. If I missed a zoo trip with the family, you know it’s got to be for a good reason!

It’s not about living longer. I doubt I can escape whatever predetermined day that is. Just way too much evidence from my own family history, and what I’ve witnessed of others going before old age. I won’t take my life for granted. But even if it’s next week, I’m darn determined to go out the best person I can be on that day.

On the flip side, assuming God lets me have another 30 plus years, I’ve been thinking hard on what type of aging grandma I want to be. I think the best description is in the movie Runaway Bride.

There’s a scene with grandma walking out somewhere from shopping, or some such thing. A well-built shirtless jogger goes by as she walks towards home. Her eyes get really big. She turns right around and starts a grandma jog after him.

Yep, that’s gonna be me one day.

The fit desk description says it's a partial recline, but not sure. Think of it more as an upright stationary bike. Easy to assemble though.
The fit desk description says it’s a partial recline, but not sure. Think of it more as an upright stationary bike. Easy to assemble though.

 

Positive Thinking Produces Results

On closing out the new year, I find it necessary to keep reminding myself of all the good that happened in 2016 while watching so many around me curse 2016 for all the bad things.

Positive Thinking Produces Good Results. Dwelling on the bad stuff does not.

  • Yes, we had an election from Hell that did not go well.  This COULD bring us terrible things ahead.
  • Yes, we are seeing people wrongly harmed and treated in deplorable manners in the name of corporate greed.
  • Yes, the number of people who have died before  old age this year seems higher than usual.

But we do not have to give in to these bad signs and let them deter us from doing good, moving forward, or believing in the greater good. My faith and personal will power helps me do this.

  • There could be a positive reason the election had to take the turn it did. We do not know the final result of this yet.
  • In my opinion, the terrible things being done are not just done in corporate greed. There’s something deeper at work. But good will prevail. Prayer and steadiness will win out in the end.
  • We’ve had a few deaths in our friends and family too in 2016. We have a few at risk, some close to time, some in a little scary situations. But we were blessed with more time than we thought with loved ones too. We expected a lot more to go in 2016 than have.

Unlike so many around me, I refused to end 2016 by telling it to jump in front of a bus and die. I choose to be thankful for the opportunities it has given us and to trust that God has a plan in mind.

Like Frodo says, “There’s some good left in this world. And it’s worth fighting for.”

Remember that. Frodo’s words ring true not only for things that happen around the world, but also in our own lives.

The bad stuff won’t stop when 2017 comes around. There’s no guarantee that 2017 will be better. It could even be worse.

We’re not always in a position to join a fight for good, due to our individual circumstances and limitations. But we can pray for those who are.

We may not understand why things go a certain way, but we can fall upon on our faith to trust there is a reason. And do our best to lessen its effects in our own life, for ourselves and those connected with us.

We don’t know if we have one day left, or ten thousand days left.  Live each day in gratitude for being alive one more day. Do at least one productive thing each day to prepare for the rest of your life as if you have ten thousand days left.

Stepping into 2017 with a positive outlook.

I’m refusing to give in to anxiety and dread of those things I have warnings of. Giving in to anxiety only serves to deter me from success. There will be enough failures that occur naturally, for you cannot have success without going through failure.

I’m thankful that I am not one who needs medication to do this. Being thankful is one thing we should do all year long.

A lot of opportunity has come my way in my career building. This is both fun and a little scary. Not only does it mean I stand to move forward in leaps and bounds, it also means if I do not exert self control to move forward and fail, it’s a total fail in this area of my life.

So I won’t fail. Means controling my “stage fright” and pushing my introvert nature at times. But I keep reminding myself I’ve proven that I have the ability to do what’s needed numerous times in my past already.

Death. It’s coming for those around me I’m sure. Who, we can’t be certain at times. And I can’t be certain it won’t come for me. But no use dwelling on it. Whether I have 5 or 25 years left, I’ve decided to make the most of it.

Health. Kind of goes along with above. I face a few challenges this year. But they can be overcome, with work and determination. And if something worse comes along next year, well, a healthier me stands a better chance at dealing with it. I won’t go down without a bit of a fight in this area.

Tasks for 2017:

  • Meet the career goals. (Be THE Coffee Copywriter. Rest of details not for public view.)
  • Meet the health goals. (Lower BP, Lower Cholesterol, Ward off Diabetes, Influence others to improve.)
  • Marion Margaret Press (Take it to the next level with new line of books from me and more from Sandie Bergen.)
  • Horses (Get back into the action. Figure out what to do with Tyme.)

Note: I don’t get into political or religious debates and this post may encourage others to give their thoughts and opinions on this. Not the purpose of this post – it’s about facing bad things with positive attitude. For this reason, comments are closed. Anywhere I share this post I ask readers to respect this and keep their thoughts on politics, conspiracy theories, and anti-Christianity to themselves. Thoughts on positive thinking welcome though.

Something Good is Bound to Happen

On this rainy day, I thought I’d write something a little inspiring. Stepping out of one’s comfort zone takes a bit of facing fears for some, courage for others, and a bit of both for some. Often, it’s a question of not realizing we can face new experiences and overcome the obstacles those experiences place before us.

Certainly, we’ve all had to face uncertainty and didn’t have a choice of whether or not to meet the challenges that came with it. Maybe when you’re faced with stepping out of your comfort zone to take the next step in your career or domestic life, you need to remind yourself of your past achievements.

For me, it’s stepping out to commit to years of responsibility to jumpstart my career at a time when others have said I should perhaps slow down or do something else. That I’ve wasted enough time without getting a strong enough return.

Sure, I let this process take longer than it probably should have, but I don’t think I have completely wasted my time. I believe I’ve been laying the ground work for something greater. For something that will make a positive change in our lives. We’ll be able to have better control over the choices in our lives, and to rid our life of some damaging circumstances.

This is something that requires me to remain steady, to stay positive.

I doubted that I had the courage to stay on the course put before me, that I’ve proven I will not do it already. I almost didn’t take this leap in faith for something I know I want and need. Then, I remembered a time in my life.

I had lived life as a sheltered only child at home for most of my life, being 9 years behind my youngest sibling. I was taken care of, and the safe paths were laid before me to choose from. But I stepped out of my comfort zone then because I wanted more, just like now.

I quit college and joined the Air Force. This took doing things I wasn’t very‌ interested in doing. Traveling alone by bus, then being examined and scrutinized by strangers. Then being accepted and having to stay alone in a strange hotel with many people I didn’t know, and then flying in a few scary airplanes to an even scarier place.

While in basic training, I did what I was told. I followed the pack. I allowed 15 inches of my hair to be cut off. I became a pack mule and did exercises every morning way earlier than my mind and body claimed was natural. I did kitchen duty while defending myself from cockroaches bigger than my dog.

I had one goal once basic training started. To make it through in one shot so I could have a normal life again. We learned the dreaded word “recycle.” No one wanted to be recycled through basic training and relive the stressful time all over again.

By my wits, determination, and quick thinking, I avoided being recycled a few times.

While performing night guard duty, I missed a security step and allowed a Sergeant instructor in the door before I should have. He ripped into me with a vengeance over that. But I got another chance because I held my ground and stood firm, looking right into his eyes. Trust me, he was not kind to me and his verbal attack would have had Hercules himself cringing in fear.

But I willed myself to stay strong, and in the end he respected that. I was given the chance to make up for that mistake and I did.

Another day there were a few members recycled for not staying still. We were in this parade on a very hot day. We were to stand at attention for a long time during one part of it. Our instructors coached us on how to stand so we don’t pass out, and drilled us over and over again how we cannot move an inch, no matter what. That dreaded word “recycle” was put upon us again.

We couldn’t help our buddy next to us if he or she fainted. We couldn’t flinch at anything near us. We were not to sneeze or cough even. NO MOVEMENT.

I was determined not to be one of the recycled ones. It came close. A fly, almost as determined at ruining my life as I was at living my own life, tried to bring me down. This vile creature buzzed around me, took a joy ride around my earlobe, landed on my cheek, and enjoyed a casual stroll around my face. Never had creepy little insect legs tortured me so.

I stood there. Solid. Not moving one muscle. All because I made myself believe I could. I kept my mind on the goal I wanted to achieve, which was to get out of there and on my path to a normal daily life again.

Then, later, just before graduating from basic training a friend and I made a major mistake. We missed saluting an officer, not just any officer, but a General. This could have ended very, very badly.

I learned something about myself that day. I learned that I have a really good instinct for dealing with tough situations.

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a quiet person who does not do a lot of small talk. But that day, I did a lot of fast, coherent, intelligent talking to that general. While we were lightly reprimanded, we were not recycled.

My friend, who panicked and froze, thought I had super powers. I didn’t. I just gave myself the chance to let my own internal power out to lead me. We often stop listening to our best guides inside us who tells us how to deal with tough situations and get through them better than we entered.

Each day, I let that guide inside me motivate and direct me. She gives me faith, helps me open my eyes to opportunities that come to me each day, and tells me to stop being idle when I get lazy or procrastinate. She has a tough job, for I am lazy and I’ve perfected the ability to procrastinate.

When you doubt or fear, think back to memories of what you’ve faced in life and how you made it through them. Find the sources of your strengths. Find the proof of your abilities that you’ve never given yourself credit for and work on making them greater. Let your internal guide out.

Something good is bound to happen.

My new inspirational bracelet I made for myself.
My new inspirational bracelet I made for myself.