"When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
Alexander Graham Bell
The recession has certainly made a writing career more challenging, to put it mildly. Writers who were used to get $2 and $3 per word for articles were suddenly getting half that—assuming the magazines were still in business. Corporate staff writers lost their jobs and freelance copywriters had to cut their rates. And those book projects over which we have labored so long and hard—well, finding an agent or publisher is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
That’s the bad news. But that doesn’t mean that we need to toss out our dream of being a writer. Yes, the industry has changed. All that means is that we need to push out of our comfort zone and acquire new skills, jump-starting our writing life to get out of first gear and into drive.
For example: yes, article rates have dropped. But are you “plowing the same field”? Do you keep going back to those magazines where you used to write, or have you investigated other publications (both print and online)? Are you writing about the same topics that you’ve been exploring for years or have you put your toe into other waters? Just because you built your past success or income on health writing doesn’t mean you can’t explore home design. Or finance. Or education.
For those who want to take on copywriting jobs, are you still confining your knowledge base to PR or marketing pieces? What about drafting case studies, ghostwriting articles, doing web copy? If you’re background was in one industry, can you branch out to others?
As for publishing, yes, it’s harder than ever to secure an agent or publisher. So pick up some books or go to websites where you can learn about self-publishing and e-book options.
Bottom line: don’t stay stuck on what you did in the past to make money as a writer, complaining about those “closed doors.” Instead, head out through the open door and see what opportunities await you!