It’s important for freelance writers to have cheering sections – supportive parents, spouses, children, friends or fellow writers. But, it’s even more important for a freelancer to be his or her own biggest cheerleader. Doubts, stumbling blocks, and perceived failures abound in a writer’s life so the ability to bolster one’s spirits and get on with the work at hand is paramount to long-term success.
When your momentum stalls, or inspiration fizzles, think about the milestones you’ve already accomplished in your writing career. Reflecting on these exhilarating moments can provide fresh motivation and get you back on track.
My own “Top 10” favorite milestones are:
– My first sale (a greeting card)
– First time I queried an editor and received a reply, declining my offer but encouraging me to try again
– First time I queried an editor and got a go-ahead
– First-of-a-kind sales: First filler, story, article, poem, book
– 12th sale: Finally, I could say I’d sold “a dozen” pieces
– 24th sale: Better yet, “dozenS”
– Receiving two writing checks in one day…although one was for $500, the other for $1, to me they were equally exciting
– First time I spoke to an elementary class about writing (and realized the kids were tickled to meet “a real writer”)
– First time I contested payment. After receiving a contractual email offering me $350 for a 1,000-word story, I submitted the completed piece. The editor emailed back: “Looks good, Wendy. Your check for $300 will go out next week.” When I tactfully questioned the price change and included a copy of his prior email, he sent me a lame explanation. After careful deliberation, I replied that it seemed unfair (and slightly unethical) to alter the terms of an agreement after the goods were delivered. To his credit, he agreed and promptly reinstated our original terms.
– My 100th and 200th sale: God willing, I’ll reach 300!
Although every sale is cause for celebration, indelible memories of extra-special writing milestones continually boost my self-confidence, bring a smile to my face, and keep me tackling exciting new projects.
A freelance writer, piano teacher, mom and grandma, Wendy Hobday Haugh lives in upstate New York with her husband and two cats.