Many people dream of being a freelance writer. They believe there is glamour associated with sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, alone with your thoughts, head teeming with plot lines and creative dialogue practically bursting from you at breakneck speed, your fingers desperately trying to keep up as words, paragraphs, pages of script pour forth. There is the excitement the first time you see your name in print, reading your words in a novel, a magazine, a newspaper or a website for the first time. And yes, all of these aspects of a writer’s world are true. It is just not even close to a full picture of what a writer’s life is really like.
First, that dialogue, so rich and humorous in our minds, sometimes doesn’t translate the way we would like it on paper. I can (and often have) spend hours trying to get one sentence to sound as funny on the page as it sounds in my head. A lot of days as I sit at my keyboard I’m satisfied if after a few hours of contemplation, I’ve actually written a whole paragraph.
There is also the business side to being a writer. Unless you are a James Patterson or a Toni Morrison, you are most likely acting as your own business manager. Remembering to file and pay quarterly income tax payments and sending invoices to slow-paying clients can take up a bigger chunk of time than most freelancers would ever imagine. It is a very important part of the writer’s life however, and cannot be ignored. In order to be a successful writer, you must learn how to be a successful business manager.
Another difficult aspect of the writer’s life is time management. Meeting deadlines is vital to your success in this field. Often, aside from portfolio samples, your track record of time management is what will set you apart from other freelancers. Remember this and if necessary, ask a friend or family member to help keep you on track with your assignments. Sometimes having someone hold you accountable for what you did that day gives you all the motivation you need to keep going.
Remember, being a writer is a job like any other. There are many tricks of the trade that can be used to help you succeed. Just keep writing; you’ll learn the rest as you go forward in your career.
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