"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Sunday, September 25, 2016

5 Things You Must Grant Yourself Permission to do to Become a Fully-realized Writer

”It’s my prerogative. I can do what I wanna’ do.”
---Bobby Brown

When most people think of the writers’ life, they typically perceive it as a career that affords an array of freedoms and privileges.
  • Like having the flexibility of working from home in our bunny slippers
  • Designating our own work hours
  • Choosing our own projects
  • Determining how much we’d like to make and how much to charge
But, truth is, this life has a number of restrictions and rules, just like any other profession.

For example…

Having to adhere to word counts and style guidelines in the creative process
Having editors dictate (to some degree) what we can say and how we say it
Contractual deadlines
Dealing with demanding clients
Not always being able to retain the rights to our work (i.e. work for hire agreements, ghost writing projects)

In fact, a large part of a “good writer’s" role is submitting to the needs, whims and wishes of his clients, editors, publishers, and even blog readership. As such, we sometimes give up a little bit of our own personal freedoms, peace, and pursuits of happiness. It comes with the territory. And it’s worth it, most times.

Still, you don’t have to sell your soul to the devil for a successful career, or become a martyr. Give. But, keep something for yourself.

Here are 5 things you should grant yourself permission to do as a freelancer,
for a fully-realized career.

1. The Freedom to Fail

A wise man once said that “Failure is not permanent.” How true. Don’t be so afraid of making the wrong choices that you opt to not make important career advancing decisions at all. Failure is a great teacher. And once you learn the related lesson, you can operate from a more confident and informed position in the future. It’s how some of our greatest modern-day inventions evolved.

2. The Freedom to Speak Your Own Truths

Beyond your first amendment rights, give yourself permission to speak your own personal truths. How do you feel about moral decline on T.V.? Immigration? Gun control? Education reform? Tackle controversial topics. Disagree with “experts.” Trumpet your religious beliefs. Your voice, your choice. It’s one of the things that I enjoy most about the blogging community; views and experiences are so different and enriching. It’s okay to not be “politically correct” sometimes. Just be sure to speak from an informed position. And avoid personal attacks.

3. The Freedom to Chart Your Own Course

Who says that you have to always venture the same worn and beaten path that everyone else does? If social media isn’t your cup of tea, choose another way of connecting with potential clients. If you prefer short posts to the recommended 1200 words, go for it.

4. The Freedom to Charge What you Think You’re Worth

It’s a topic that many freelancers struggle with. And though there are some guidelines and “industry standards” to observe, you should assess fees based upon your time, talent, resources, experience, educational background, field, etc.

For many years, I allowed other folks to dictate what I should get paid. Whether it was a publication’s “budget”, a client’s perception of my “value” or simply being worn down through haggling. But, that was yesterday. One of the advantages of being a freelancer is knowing your worth and deciding what you’re willing to accept.
Negotiate, but don’t be “compromised.” There is a difference. Learn it.

5. The Freedom to not Write Everyday

Though it’s an admirable goal, this "cardinal rule" should serve as a guideline, not as gospel.
It really isn't as necessary as some experts contend.
Missing a day or two from a writing routine can actually help to re-energize you and provide better focus and clarity.  Instead, spend the time away enjoying nature, or discovering new recipes, or socializing with family and friends, or dancing in the rain. A well-rounded writer, with varied experiences and interests is typically more interesting, and able to successfully engage others.

And here's one more thing for good measure...
Allow yourself permission to indulge in some rich, dark, decadent chocolates to make bad days better, and good days sweeter.

Thoughts? What would you add to the list?


  1. Self employment, from the outside, can look appealing. But as you said, freelancing is no walk in the park. It has its challenges. Appreciate you highlighting these points - they should be a part of every freelancer's "employee handbook". And I'm totally in on the dark chocolate thing! :)

    1. Thanks, Karen. Glad you found this useful. May your weeks be filled with chocolate indulgences. :-)

  2. I sit here nodding my head in agreement with this post. Number 5 stands out for me. I love to bake cakes, because I want to for family birthdays. My cakes rival the bakery cakes. I wouldn't want to do it full time. If I force myself to write everyday, I burn out. If I give myself a day or two, I return energized. And dark chocolate...now you're talking my language.

    1. Lin,

      Your comment made me smile. You're a talented, gal. "Cakes that rival the bakery cakes" I'm impressed and hungry now. :-) Thanks for your input today.