The 5 Largest Pitfalls in Developing Yourself as a Freelance Writer and How to Avoid Them (Part 1)

Brad Swift

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In over 23 years of writing professionally (which for me means making money at it), I've talked with hundreds of other writers, many of them far more talented at writing than me, but who haven't been nearly as successful financially at it. Why? Many of them haven't avoided the pitfalls that I'm about to share with you.

See if you've managed to fall into any of these holes along your writing path. If so, don't fret about it. You can climb out of every one.

1. THINKING ABOUT WRITING VS. WRITING. This is particularly common for novice wannabe writers. After all, it's fun to think about one day writing the next great American novel, or seeing your article featured on the cover of your favorite magazine. And I believe a certain amount of dreaming is important because in a way our dreams are a form of prayer. Thoughts held in mind produce results in kind out in the world IF, actions are also applied. Just like the old Quaker saying, “When you pray, move your feet, " the same is true for writing. “As you think and talk about writing, also write. "

CLIMB OUT OF THIS PITFALL BY: scheduling daily writing time, even if it's only 15 minutes a day to start. Not only schedule the time but surround yourself with people who will hold you to your word with yourself. This last suggestion is something most writers don't do but if you want to write daily don't count on yourself to keep yourself at the keyboard. Tell your friends about it, especially the supportive ones. If you have a spouse, ask him or her to support you by helping you keep your word. If you have kids, tell them, “Listen, you know how I have to make you do your homework sometimes? Well, here's your chance to get even. I need to write something every day for at least 15 minutes. Will you hold me to it?" You bet they will!

2. WRITING BUT NOT SUBMITTING. The second most common pitfall of aspiring writers is the erroneous notion that if you write stellar prose, some well meaning “editor fairy" will fly into their office at night and find their manuscript stuck in the drawer. Sorry, only in fairy tales. If you want to be successful at writing you've got to submit, submit and resubmit your work.

CLIMB OUT OF THIS PITFALL BY: playing the 100 R Game. The game is simple - its one rule is summarized in the object of the game which is: collect 100 rejection letters as fast as you can while writing as well as possible. What! Actually play for rejection letters? Yes, exactly. Here's why. You can't play this game without doing two things that are vitally important to being a successful writer: writing and submitting what you write. Along the way to winning the 100 R Game, you'll also learn how to win at the much larger game of being a professional writer.

NOTE: Stay tuned. #3-5 will appear in the next issue of Purposeful Pondering Ezine.

The ideas in this article are from, FROM SPARK TO FLAME - a proven, systematic process for fanning your ideas into money-making magazine ideas that make a difference.

©2005 Brad Swift of Life On Purpose Institute, Inc. This article can be reprinted freely online, as long as the entire article and this resource box are included.

Dr. Brad Swift founded Life On Purpose Institute in 1996 with the vision of creating a World On Purpose by assisting people like yourself to clarify their life purpose & live true to it. Determine how on or off purpose your life is with the fun & insightful Self Test at: Inspire yourself with a free subscription to Purposeful Pondering Ezine:


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