If you’ve been following this series (thank you!) then hopefully you’ve begun to think that having a career as a paid writer is not an impossible dream, but a real possibility. You’re putting your stuff out on the internet where people can read it (Medium and LinkedIn are a couple of good places to start); you’ve gotten at least a couple of paying gigs, even small ones for $50 or $100. NOW is when the real work begins (nope, you’re not done yet!) Now, you need to make those all important connections. It’s time to take off your “shy guy” (or gal) suit and dress like a pro. (You get that this is a metaphor, right? Don’t show up to a meeting in your jammies– or worse!) Dressing like a pro means presenting yourself as though you know what you’re doing, even if you haven’t got a clue. There’s an old adage for actors that goes, “If the director asks you if you can play the accordion, you say YES! — then go get some accordion lessons.” Likewise, if a potential client asks if you can edit 200 pages in 2 days, say YES– and then GET IT DONE. Now listen, I don’t mean LIE about your ability to do the work; if you know there’s no way in hell you’re going to be able to get that done then don’t accept the job. But consider whether it’s because you have two other gigs to finish first (lucky you!) or whether you’re just underestimating your capabilities.
If you hear nothing else I say, hear this: most of us (not just writers but all humans) are afraid to TRY because we’re afraid of failing. It’s not just *you*, we all feel that way sometimes. But the truth is we are capable of much more than we THINK we are. It’s not a cliche’: if you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right. Yes, editing 200 pages in 2 days is a LOT of work, but it is doable (even if it means pulling an all nighter). So, when you’re just starting out as a writer/editor, remember that these first jobs that you complete are going to establish your reputation as a professional. THIS IS IMPORTANT. When you take on the impossible and get it done, and done well, you get a reputation as a miracle worker. In a single job you demonstrate that you have the skills the client needs, and can produce top notch work on a tight deadline. Once a client believes this about you, they will return to you again and again. And suddenly you have a writing career!
So, don’t screw up this opportunity. Be brave, be confident, and be excellent. You only get one chance to make a good impression, right? Git ‘er DONE!
Next time: how to find those clients!