A Quick Bit of Writer Advice That Comes from Personal Experience

I've been away for a few days, and I'm sure your life has been an outright disaster without me. I'm sorry about that. I'll try to stop allowing my life to get in the way of your free reading material.

I wanted to mention that I've landed three new writing assignments this past week. All of them look to be long term work. Surprisingly enough, none of them came from a wealthy editor, publisher or owner just randomly calling me and seeing if I would like to put some words into a paragraph. None of them came from a job posting on a job board (though, I've got several assignments from such things). I landed all three jobs by approaching the person I wanted to write pay copy for, and then pitching them an idea that I thoughts was rather swell. They then agreed that the idea was pretty nifty and then we worked out a pay rate. In most of these cases, I already had built up a relationship with the individual and they knew the type of work that I could produce. But the fact still is that I pitched them a job that they didn't have before and they were not actively seeking, but I was able to convince them that they did want it and I could fulfill it.

Now creating three jobs in one week is a record, and not something I'd expect to happen often. Most of my work either comes from referrals, finding jobs on the job market, or following submission guidelines from the Writer's Market. But I had ideas pop in my head, and thought of particular people that may like to pay for those ideas to become reality. Luckily, I was right this time. I haven't always been, but three decent jobs is proof it was worth trying (since the pitch took me a few minutes to compose).

My point here isn't to gloat about how awesome I am. But some real life examples of what you need to do if you want to be a full time writer. I've mentioned before how I've had people ask me how I've been able to get paid for my writing. They often get upset when I answer with, "keep on writing, and keep on pitching." Because that sounds like work. They apparently want the writer angels to descend from heaven and bestow them with the Sacred Crown of the Writer. Then suddenly, publishers start calling and begging them to write for large gobs of money.

It doesn't work that way. Or at least, it doesn't work that way for me. I need to keep on writing. I need to constantly be looking for the next writing gig, so I can avoid having to move to a cardboard box and dine on raw noodles. The stakes are a bit higher for me now since I have a family that expects me to provide for them and bring home a decent living wage.

I look at the several job boards that are online. I check out all the magazines and periodicals in the Writer's Market, and try to find guidelines that fit with my writing style and interests. But I also contact businesses, and try to pitch my skills to them. I also spend time building up relationships with other writers and publishers with hopes that I can get the almighty connections. I'm still at the beginning of my career, and I have my moments of panicking where I think, "Oh man, can I really make a living out of this thing or I do I need to start checking boxes at the grocery store?" I am also farther along success wise at this point than I thought I would be when I started. A lot of that is because I never expect job to magically appear. When I can't seem to find jobs, I start trying to create them. So far, it seems to be working just fine and dandy.

That is my writing advice that comes from personal experience. And really, that is the only worthwhile advice there is. It may work for you. It may not. But you at least have to keep on writing. Because that is what makes you a writer.