“What I try to do with myself is just avoid the success or failure thing. Because there is so much about writing that is out of the writer’s control… If I begin thinking in terms of failure, what happens is I get really depressed, and the game is over, because I’ve already decided.”
David Foster Wallace
So here’s how it is for me… I get an assignment and I’m excited about it. I jump into and find out one of two things: 1) it is easier than I thought or 2) it is way, way, way harder than I expected it to be. In either case, I finish it, turn it in, take a deep breath and then…start job-hunting again. Because that is the nature of my career.
You can look at being a freelance writer one of two ways: either you are thrilled to be independent and free to pick what you want to do or you are always one assignment away from being on poverty row. Depending on the state of my bank account and assignment load, I am either in one camp or the other.
While I know I don’t want to be on staff somewhere and picked freelancing with eyes wide open, there are still those days when I wish I could be like my other peers, who are looking forward to retirement, pensions and not having to worry about making an income.
At the same time, even if I did win the lottery and didn’t have to work another day in my life, I would write anyway, so what’s the difference?
So how do I keep my spirits and confidence level up when I am making all those cold-calls and sending out my LOIs?
- I look at what I have done in the past: the long list of magazine articles and corporate projects.
- I review those complimentary emails from satisfied clients, contented editors and readers of my book.
- I recall those challenging projects that I thought I would totally blow and didn’t.
Then, I take a deep breath and dial those numbers and send those emails—all the while telling myself that I am not begging for work but offering a valuable service that they need.
Because if I don’t believe that—or in myself—who will?