By Marie Lapointe
You’re in the midst of or planning a major switch and want to become a freelance writer but you’re riddled with fear. You’re not the only one. Career change. That’s a scary title Stephen King never thought of!
It’s a frightening move and transitions are never easy. In order to deal with these monsters of self-destruction let’s pinpoint their source:
1: Is my writing good enough?
Tip: Write daily.
The only way to be good at something – anything – is to go out there and do it. A lot. Not a day went by where Tiger Woods didn’t hit at least 1,000 balls in order to become Tiger Woods.
Start a blog, join online writing communities, and comment on other blogs. Slowly comments will start trickling in. Blogging will give you plenty of practice and amazing feedback. It will also give you a sense of what people want to read. Internet users are fickle; some posts will draw in hundreds of hits and comments where others will leave you listening to the crickets. As you’re posting frequency increases – your stats will give you valuable information.
2: I’m not as good as they are.
Tip: Don’t compare yourself.
This is especially true when you’re left with feelings of inferiority. Use others’ articles to bring you up, not down and be inspired by them. What kind of writing draws you in? What do you like about it? Without replicating, allow it to influence your own voice and style.
3: How will I ever pay my bills?
Tip: Plan ahead – before quitting your day job, do what you can to clear your debts and reduce your living expenses.
Most people live above their means. Don’t be one of them. If you’re like me that means you don’t have rich parents or a willing spouse earning a 6-digit income to support your dream. Start by making a list of your biggest expenses and set a budget with clear strategies on how to reduce-reduce-reduce. Move to a smaller apartment, sell the new car and buy a cheaper used model or better yet take the bus!
4: Who will hire me?
Tip: Start small – do volunteer work.
Join an organization that matters to you like the Humane Society or the YMCA. Offer your services and submit articles. Chances are they’re so overwhelmed with their workload they’ll welcome you with open arms. This will provide published work content for your portfolio.
Any career specialist will tell you the key to finding a job is to have a job. Employers would rather snag an employee from the competition than hire somebody who’s unemployed.
5: I’m not even getting paid, how can I call myself a freelance writer?
Tip: Say to yourself daily, “I am a writer.”
Don’t wait for your first paycheck (it will come). The more you repeat those four words, the more you will believe it and ultimately believe in yourself.
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Marie Lapointe is an ex-race car mechanic and now lives and travels on a boat with her best friend Leo. This quirky writer dreams of running away with the circus and has been writing about her vida loca since 2010 on my cyber house rules.