Thursday, 29 August 2013

The highs and lows of a writer's life

Being a freelance writer is a wonderful life - you are constantly learning new things, the variety of work is immense, the creative buzz is exhilarating, and submitting your work for publication provides a feel good factor all of its own. Then finally seeing your work in print.... it's all good.

However, many writers know that there is a downside that needs to be managed effectively too. Writing is often a lonely occupation, that can leave you feeling blue. Sitting alone all day, your mind is prone to wandering. And if you're feeling burdened by hurtful negative comments from other people, it can start to eat you up inside. Don't let them get you down. Seeking support from a writers' circle, photography club, or other group of like-minded individuals can help to keep you smiling, as well as all those positive editorial communications!

When I started freelance writing for a living two years ago, my dad came round to tell me I was going to fail. I was furious. I ignored him and did my best to break into the market because it's all I've ever wanted to do. I proved him wrong, and proved to myself that I could make a success of my dream - because frankly, when I started, I didn't know if it was going to succeed or not!

To give dad due credit, since then he's appeared in a couple of my articles and seems to be moderately enthusiastic about my writing career now.

Sometimes you just need to be thick skinned and get on with it. I'll admit to being about as thick skinned as a skeleton sometimes, but on this occasion I was hugely driven anyway, and frankly, his opinion was no great surprise.

On the other side of the coin, when you're working as a freelance writer, you may also feel bombarded by rejection letters! Don't let this demoralise you. Think of rejection letters as opportunities, not set-backs. If I get a rejection letter I'm pleased because it means the editor thinks enough of my pitch to make the effort to communicate with me about it. That's a great start! Perhaps next time, my idea will fit his or her editorial requirements better! :-)

As time passes, my hit rate is increasing, and I spend much more time writing than pitching. When I started writing for a living it was very definitely the other way around!

I wrote a couple of articles for Writer's Forum last year on the topics of dealing with negativity and rejection letters. Extracts appears in my forthcoming book, Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens. The book covers how I broke into publishing with no contacts, little experience, and a shed load of determination... and how you can do the same. It should be out, hopefully, by the end of the year. Watch this space!

What challenges and criticisms have you faced and overcome in your writing career? Do tell on the comments box below!

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And finally, if you have the appetite for another blog on the topic of focusing on your dreams and overcoming obstacles, you might enjoy this blog by Kris Heap on Successify:


  1. At least you proved your Dad wrong! Or perhaps that was his cunning plan ;-)

    1. I don't think he's really that cunning, but at least he's moderately enthusiastic now. :-)

  2. Well done for persevering and following your dream!