It’s a funny thing, but I really began to make money as a writer when I started thinking like one. Now I don’t mean in the nebulous “positive thinking” kind of way, as if by thinking it, suddenly it becomes true.
While maintaining an optimistic attitude is always helpful, it’s not going to get you anywhere on its own. As I’ve mentioned in this column before, you also have to do the work. And part of doing the work is putting yourself in the mindset of a writer. Everything you come across is a potential story. Every potential story has a potential home. So asking yourself how this experience might be written, or where it might land if it were written, are good mental exercises for writers. Always keep your brain working, even if it’s back-burner thinking.
Go one step further and start writing, with each piece attached to a targeted home. Whether or not you submit, or your stories get accepted or published, writing something with a specific market in mind helps you focus on the process. Study your target markets. Would you have placed that piece there? Could you have written it?
In publishing, many people will tell you it’s not what you know, but who you know – and to some degree, that’s true. However, in my experience, I’ve found that when you write and create quality work, you make connections. And when you make connections, that means you “know” people. When you create good work, editors appreciate you. People who appreciate you support you, and introduce you to – or give you references for – other people or editors who have work for you to do.
But you’re also responsible for making connections, and presenting yourself as a writer. Keep submitting. Do good work. When you meet people, tell them you’re a writer. Decide what kind of work you want to do and, when opportunity presents itself, rise to it. More than once I’ve created a connection that led to work because I opened up and called myself a writer. Of course this helps more with local clientele — when I’m able to have face-to-face conversations — but even in my broader scale projects, knowing I’m a good writer often gives me the confidence I need to approach well-known people and powerful gatekeepers. Since important people are beginning to know me, I’ve been able to platform those connections into more jobs and other opportunities.
However, no one is going to let me use their name or leverage a connection I have with them if they can’t trust me to write well.
Have faith in the process, and do work you can have confidence in. Become a writer, believe you’re a writer and enjoy the journey.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bobbiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you! [/author_info] [/author]
Thank you for your reminder to think and act like a writer. As the self-publishing market continues to grow, it would be really helpful in future posts to share some about the marketing side of publishing…and this goes for royalty-house authors too as publishing houses expect more and more from their writers.
Hi, Lauri – thank you for the comment. Since I’m a freelance writer, and not an author (yet), I don’t have too much to say on that subject. But I believe that marketing is always going to be a major aspect of any author’s career, whether you’re indie or traditionally published.