I started teaching a new feature writing course at Australian Writers’ Centre last night. A bunch of fabulous aspiring writers; we’re going to have an inspiring five weeks. However, I was reminded just how easy it is to get caught up in worries when you’re starting out.
Okay – it goes without saying that starting a new career takes time, energy and a few new skills. But if you’re planning on entering the world of freelancing, here are three things you shouldn’t waste your time worrying about:
1. Don’t worry about being new.
Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, in the writing world started somewhere. Editors know this. Editors do give new writers a break. Sure, this doesn’t mean you should go in with your “I’m a newbie” flag waving, or expect that the editor of the New Yorker is going to publish you upfront, but it does mean this: RELAX. Pitch good ideas to the right publication, and deliver to brief and deadline, and you will make progress.
2. Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas.
Come on people – how many ‘new’ ideas are really out there? Sure, if you’re writing a novel, your ideas might never have been expressed before, but as a feature writer, your contribution is more likely to be a new take (a new hook or angle) on an old idea. So stop worrying about people stealing your ideas! Instead, try testing them out on trusted friends and colleagues, see if they think it sounds interesting. If so, pitch it in.
3. Don’t worry that it’s impossible.
Of course it’s not impossible. If it was impossible there wouldn’t be people (like me, and dozens of writers I know) making a living as freelance writers. IT IT POSSIBLE. Stop worrying about it and just focus on learning what you need to do to do it well.
Still worried? Feel free to share your concerns below. But tell me:
- What scares you about freelance writing?
- Why you think it sounds difficult?
and (so you end your time in this post on a high note, rather than a low)…
- What worry you’re willing to let go of, today!