Some years ago, I was hired by a local woman to help organize her computer files. As I worked we visited and I learned she was a writer. A paid writer. And had been for over 50 years.
Not too long after, she hired me to do formatting for a company booklet she had been hired to create.
And then, she asked me to find some relevant pictures…and then, I passed on some research I found while looking for pictures that I thought was relevant to her writing project…
In short, I ended up helping her to write the booklet.
And I gained a mentor.
This woman’s CV is amazing – which she sent to me to show me how it’s done. Half-way through the first page, I was almost giddy with joy over my luck at happening onto such a talented and widely-versed mentor.
And she, in her own way, deemed me fit to take on for ‘developing’ as she said. She had ‘developed’ many writers over the years and that she deemed me worthy was a huge ego boost – – at least for awhile…
Lesson #1 – If you are to be a freelance writer, you must have a high tolerance for financial uncertainty.
Check! I’ve been married to a gambler, been unemployed and self-employed more times than I can count – No problemo…
Lesson #2 – Before you ever write a single word for an article, you will know which publication it is for, what their readers want, what their advertisers expect and which issue you will submit it for.
Whoaaa….. Lesson #1 was so easy – – but this, this sounds like ….WORK! What are you trying to do? Kill my muse?!?
I got many other lessons from her during our time together, but let’s suffice it to say that she was somewhat disappointed in my response to #2 and while she continued to mentor and hire me for various jobs, all offers of developing me into a freelance writer were cheerfully and gently declined.
Just not my style.
I’m a prolific writer, and I can write on schedule if I have to, but why do it the hard way? Some days, I write 5, 6 or 8 posts – then I take 3 or 4 days off – – why force it?
I can usually whip out 3 or 4 chapters a day on my various projects when the ole’ gray noodle has had plenty of contemplating time – I do not bemoan the ‘fermenting’ portions of my writing journey – I simply turn my mind to other matters and let my subconscious figure out how the evil witch managed to get into the palace in the first place…
This is why I have five different manuscripts in various stages of completion…
I write everyday, just not always on the same project.
Why am I telling you this? Because these past few months, I realized the way I go about writing and editing is often on the list of ‘no-no’s’ from those who Know what it takes to earn your living from your writing.
The few times I tried to ‘buckle down’ and commit to seriously earning my living from my writing, life became bleak and stressful. As I hawked my wares, and responded to ads that wanted 400 words of web copy with 360 instances of various keywords, my soul died a little more each day.
So I left it behind and went back to what I knew and enjoyed. Writing for the pure joy of it. I decided if ever I earn a living from writing, it simply must be from book sales – because sending me through a checklist of writing ‘do’s’ is akin to hobbling a horse and asking it to gallop.
Just doesn’t happen….
Fortunately for me, there is a generous and kind writer’s community here on WordPress – I no longer agonize as much over the ‘what to do’ lists and question whether I am a writer or not…
For here, there is truly ‘to each his own’ community support.
So I wrote this for anyone who may be questioning their own writing style – if it works and brings you joy – great. If not, question what, exactly, needs to change.
It may not be you, at all – it just might be the venue you’re writing in/for…