Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Successful Freelancers Are Like Sharks

The shark is, in many ways, a perfect machine. It has been carefully designed to complete a singular task, and it pursues that end with ruthless efficiency. Eat, swim, eat, and the cycle continues. If it stops, it dies, and since sharks don't want to die, they keep the cycle going. Have for thousands of years now.

If you want to be a successful writer, watch the shark in its natural habitat. Take notes. Then, when you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that you are a shark. Before you go back to bed that night, you need to swim, and eat.

Hello, have you read my book?!

Becoming A Typewriter Tigershark

You need to do a lot of things to be a successful writer, freelance or otherwise. You need to read a lot. You need to write a lot. You need to promote, market, and keep yourself out there. You need to make sure your old content is getting seen, and your fresh stuff is drawing in readers new and old. You need to be professional.

Most importantly, though, you need to be focused on achieving the task you have set for yourself.

See the shark... be the shark...
To put it another way, go to the gym and look around. The sharks will be immediately noticeable. Partly because of the sheer results of their regimens, but also because of the determination and focus you see in how they move around the floor. They aren't socializing with other gym-goers, they're not fiddling with their phones, and they're not watching the room between sets. They're there to make themselves better. Day in, day out, that is what their purpose is. It is the engine that drives them, and what pushes them to get results.

The same is true in any other situation. Those who achieve their goals are the ones who focus with a single-minded determination. The ones who seize every opportunity that comes their way, and create them where none already exist. The ones who dedicate themselves to becoming the goal. Who don't have an off-switch. The ones who do the job every day, rain or shine, healthy or sick, whether their pilot light is lit or not.

Now, it's okay if you're not a shark today. You don't have to be. However, if you expect to reach a goal, then you have to take a few more steps every day. So tomorrow, start that new project. Work on it every day until it's done. Submit it. Start a new one. Join a community with open calls for stories, and find more projects to devour. Write articles. Start a blog. Go to a con. Shake hands. Pass out business cards. Learn how to swim. Then start eating, and never stop.

Getting A Taste For Blood

Now, for folks who like the idea of being a shark, but who aren't sure how to do it, I thought I'd leave some easy, actionable tips here. These are the places I started, and they're still around for those who want to dip a toe into the waters.

If you want to write for money, and you aren't picky about who you do it for, head over to Text Broker. There are slews of clients on there, and they have work that needs done. Cut your teeth on some of their projects, because nothing starts the transformation like being given money for your word count. Even if it is just walking around cash for some folks. You should also check out Online Writing Jobs, because this site collects a whole bunch of freelance jobs in one place for you to apply for.

While I have written for a lot of different genres, one of my go-to places for open calls for stories is Horror Tree. Whether you just want to pad your publishing credits, or you want to establish them in the first place, I recommend checking them out and seeing who is looking for writers. You can also type in the phrase, "anthology open call," followed by the year to get a pretty decent list in any search engine. And, if you're looking to be a novelist, well, your best bet is to research publishers, read their submission guidelines, and make sure you have someone that fits your book. And if too many of them say no, hell with 'em, publish it yourself!

That's all for this week's Business of Writing post. Hopefully the combination of philosophy and practicality helps some folks out there who were wondering where to start climbing. If you'd like to stay on top of all my releases, simply follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. And if you want to support me and my work, then head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, or click here to Buy Me A Coffee!

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