An Analogy for Budding Writers
For close to 20 years of my adult life, my family lived in a mobile home.
I’m not saying it was an awful experience. For a long time, it provided shelter from the elements and was an affordable place to live.
But we never intended to live there forever.
The Dream Begins
3 or so years ago, my brother-in-law noticed some commotion going on at the house next to his.
He went over to investigate.
“What’s going on?” he asked one of the men there.
“The old lady just died and we’re selling everything.”
“Does that include the house?”
He then made them an offer, which was immediately accepted.
Fast forward a year. My wife gets a call from her brother. “You and Frank want to buy the house next to mine and remodel it?”
We thought and prayed about it for a day or two, then decided to go for it.
Building the Dream
The next year my wife spent countless hours turning the dream house into reality.
There was lots of work to do. Old materials had to be removed and hauled away. New and updated features were installed.
Then we realized we were running out of money.
So we stopped our part and sold the project to my brother-in-law.
6 months later, nobody had bought the house.
My brother-in-law asked if we wanted to work out a deal that would allow us to afford the home.
We thought it over and realized this was the chance of a lifetime.
So we jumped.
And Now, the Analogy
While we were building our dream home, we continued to live in the trailer.
It was bearable because we knew that when we finished we could live in the palace we’d worked so hard to build.
Your writing career is a lot like that.
Maybe you’re working a day job right now. After all, even artists must pay the bills, right? That makes your writing a side hustle.
Here’s the analogy.
- Your side hustle as a writer is like living in a trailer while you’re building your dream home (or in this case, a career or a business).
- You’ll need a blueprint so you know what you must do to build the house you want. The same principle applies to building your career. When you have a clear target to hit, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to accomplish.
- Having a clear target will give you the stamina to do whatever it takes to make your dream of a better future your present reality.
Will it be easy?
Will it be fun?
Facing a challenge is fun when you have a chance to learn something. Then the satisfaction of making it through will empower you to take on greater challenges.
So yes, much of the time it will be fun.
Nothing worth having comes without a cost. When you’re building a home, you’ll spend time and money — lots of it — to get it done. You may find you step way outside your comfort zone. But when you stretch yourself, you find out what you’re really capable of.
You might be pleasantly surprised.
When you need help, ask.
We didn’t do everything. We hired others to frame the house, install the flooring, do the plumbing, the electrical work, the sheetrock and the insulation. It was a team effort with a single purpose.
You’ll need a network of other writers who are committed to sharpening each other as they grow. Some will help you along when you’re in over your head. Thank them. And be sure to pay it forward to someone who isn’t as far down the road as you.
No writer is an island.
This probably seems counterintuitive since writing itself is a solitary activity. Most of the time I write before the sun rises. I’m at my computer alone, with just a mug of coffee and some music piping into my headphones.
The community aspect kicks in when I share the finished product with the world. Will people like it as much as I think they will? I’ll never know if I keep it hidden.
Don’t stop for anything.
Sometimes you’ll get so tired you wonder why you ever got into the writing business.
You pour your heart into every post, every article, and every client. You do the best you can, day after day. But sometimes you wish you just had a normal job like bankers seem to.
Creative work is hard. It takes more than passive brain power to pull off. That’s why at the end of the day, you just want to crash into bed, veg out in front of the TV, and fade away.
What’s probably happened is you haven’t scheduled time to rest.
Breaks aren’t sinful. You’re not a machine. Even your car has to stop for gas after so many miles. Your smartphone battery needs recharging.
So do your creative senses.
Don’t overschedule yourself to pay the bills. Pick better assignments instead. Pour yourself into them in shorter, more intense bursts. Make rest part of the process. You’ll be amazed at how much more you accomplish.
Even marathon runners pace themselves.
When I say don’t stop, I mean don’t give up. Writing is hard work, but it’s good work.
Write your own blueprint.
There are a thousand ways to run a business.
The question you must answer is, “How will I run mine?”
Here are a few questions to consider:
- How much money do I need to make to live comfortably?
- What type of writing will I do and how quickly?
- What will I charge to make it worth my time and effort?
- How will I find clients who need and want what I offer?
- What plan do I have to prospect, pitch, and sell?
- What will my work schedule be?
That covers the basics. You’ll notice that prospecting and pitching is as important as the writing itself. You need a full pipeline to fill your bank account.
You can do this.
If you have, find someone who wants to and help them out. Share your story in the comments so others will be inspired to chase this dream.
Commit yourself wholeheartedly and in time, your plans will become your reality.
There’s no better time than now.