Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writer? Do you get paid for that?

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Doesn't every writer wish and dream of the day they move from the amateur column to the paid professional column? Or even better to the elite well paid professional column.

I have been a writer in my soul since I was in 5 years old and made my mother write down my stories. Or when I would make my Barbies and little ponies act out epic adventures of love, war, and loss.  When my 7th grade English teacher sweetly told me that my horrible sad little poem was "really good" I knew it was meant to be.  Sure I did the college thing. And I lucked into a career that is the perfect accent to writing and that I happen to love...teaching.  But I still wrote.  Poems, short stories, essays, proposals, detailed classroom observations, long list for groceries organized by aisle, and when I was out for a wild night on the town with my girls I did character sketches of the drunks around me.  (No not my friends...mostly patrons, well okay but my friends are so damn funny they slip in there.)

The million dollar question is how does a passion obsession become a professionally paid skill?

Well I am close...I do  know, how to become a fledgling freelance writer.  Not nearly as sexy...but extremely exciting.    

Taking that giant leap from non-paid to paid is a painful and long ride. I had my blog for 3 years and wrote for free.  I started other blogs for work and wrote in those for free.  I volunteered to write articles/advertisements for the friends to publish in the newspaper. I wrote for professional journals.  All for free. At first it is really cool to see your name in print and your sassy words out there for everyone.  But then at say...the 10th hour of research for a that long article that just won't end and is fighting you like a one armed get those damn I wish I was getting paid for this.  It is in those times of frustration you have to stay strong because you are on the brink of greatness...and if not that at least a reprieve.    

The more you write, the better you become.  Sounds trite, but it is true. I wrote a novel. I blogged about that journey. I shared and marketed that blog on Facebook, twitter, and every writer's social network I could find.  I built up a small following. I am still working on creating a larger following.  

Funny thing is when your friends and people around you know you are a writer they share that information.  And when they hear of opportunities they recommend you and tell you about them. It is through my small following that I have gained all of my current freelance writing jobs.  Some have been small, almost like a test. Others have been pretty big, and paid well.

I think it is better that it starts off this way.  If you started a restaurant you wouldn't want to be the top one in the nation before the doors open. You have to play with pricing, recipes, branding, training of your staff and develop your business savvy.  You have to learn.  I am learning.

I have figured out my most effective way to research. I know my natural patterns and when I write the most the fastest.  I know my triggers that get me writing.  As I get jobs I am learning about book keeping and how to keep records for myself and taxes.

I have determined that to bring more jobs I will have to go get them.  I will have to apply, call and contact those in my niche and introduce myself and my skills.  

So these next couple of weeks the experiment to reach beyond your circle to get those sweet writing jobs?  I will keep you posted on my success. 

I am continuing to write in my WIP.  I am amazed at how much better this WIP is over the last one I wrote.  It feels better going in, and the process is flowing.  I wish the same for you.

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