Writing can be a very lucrative and self-fulfilling career, but it hardly ever starts that way for anyone. You might love writing. You might be good at it. But unfortunately you need a couple of more qualities to start your writing career and accomplish your goals as a writer. Below are the 7 essential characteristics freelance writers need to possess:
I’m one of the most impatient people you can ever meet. I get bored very easily and I can’t wait for anything or anyone without doing something useful and/or fun on the side. And yet, I chose freelance writing as a career.
Now, I love writing. I am addicted even. So the girl who can’t even stand to wait for a couple of minutes chose a line of work where response times range from weeks to months, editors don’t necessarily write back, and you are required to spend countless hours researching, marketing, networking, writing, re-writing, editing and more re-writing.
Yet, I can handle it. After all, it is about knowing what’s at stake and jumping to it accordingly. It is not a walk in the park most of the time, but it is still worth it for me. How about you?
The editors may not receive your e-mails, or they may not feel inclined to respond, even with a standardized rejection reply. Yes, they are incredibly busy but so are you. While they have to read millions of queries and make decisions, you are a one-person company. So if the guidelines say follow-up, follow-up. If there is still no response, follow-up for the second and final time. Just remember not to leave your bedside manners, even if you get nothing in return for a carefully crafted, perfectly relevant query. After all, you need a good reputation. And there is the fact that you probably submitted that query because you liked the publication. So you might want to pitch again.
The idea is to keep it polite and professional. If you think this sucks, please read the first must-have freelance writer characteristic on this list again.
You will get rejected. Every writer does, even the ones who turned into international bestsellers. So never take it personally. Make sure you work constantly to improve yourself, and keep submitting your work elsewhere.
P.S. When the going gets tough, just remember John Grisham’s first novel is A Time to Kill. He published The Firm first, because A Time to Kill was rejected everywhere. And after The Firm, everyone was after A Time to Kill, which also became a bestseller.
And you need to have fun. You need to be capable of fun, even when you want to slap someone or cry. You are writing because you love the craft. There is no reason to keep doing it if you are feeling miserable all the time.
You don’t need to be obsessive, but you do need to keep track of every idea, bill, manuscript, article and everything else that is related to your writing. You also know what to find and where. There is a great blog for writers that concentrates on the organization side of things. Check out OrganizedWriter.com for tips and resources.
You might be the type to start a project at the latest minute possible. I know I am- for the most part. But you need to make sure you keep the deadline and make sure your final draft meets every requirement, and is a good read.
You are your own boss, so you better be an understanding slave driver. Notice the oxymoron there? But it is true. You need to work really hard to make it as a writer. But of course you have the flexibility to choose your hours; as well as where, when and how you work. As long as you put in the necessary work, there is no reason you can’t enjoy the freedom.
Intimidated? Don’t be. You just might realize your personality and mind can work in mysterious ways to help you realize your dreams.