Begin Your Writing Career Today

I work in sales. When a month is going slow and my confidence is waning the normal thing to do is to look for “low hanging fruit”.

The term low hanging fruit is the simple act of looking for a customer who needs to purchase within the next week or two. This is not a ploy to harass anyone but a redirection to give you a boost. In another sales-ish term a “win-win.” You get the confidence that comes with making a sale and you provide a service to someone who needs it anyway.

Why do I mention this? Because confidence is essential to the writer and it does not always begin with grandiose things. It starts with a first step.

I remember my English teaching in high school sharing a story about spilled dog food.

photo credit:
photo credit:

The way she described the event and aftermath was a war zone and enough dog pellets to easily fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. It would take a lot of work and time to clean up. So she started piece by piece, not worrying about the whole bag, but only the next piece to get in rhythm with the task. Soon, it was done.

Any discipline requires this.
Take writing for instance.

If you want to be published and have yet to do so, or simply want to build your credentials as a freelance writer, I suggest starting somewhere small. Begin with a short story or an article. I started with a novel and for several years all I had was a goopy mess of words. It has since solidified but the task took much longer than I anticipated and I struggled with confidence throughout.

Recently I read an article in Writer’s Digest that instructed the wannabe writer to write a list of people in the writing world they know and periodicals to which they could possibly submit. In a matter of minutes I realized I knew the main writer for a local paper, the editor of a journal, and I knew a lot of people who blogged or had websites. It is important to have publishing credentials if you are shopping a novel. So I fired off some emails.

In a day or two I had responses from several of these places asking for submissions. Shortly thereafter I published an article in a journal and a website.

So, why do I mention this? What is the purpose of this post?

The message is to start somewhere. A novel might seem overwhelming to some of you or you might need to become the master of something small to gain experience and confidence to move to the next big thing.

Sit down and write a list of who you know. Send out emails and begin. Writing credentials are essential to anyone who wants to have a solid writing career.

Start today.
It could mean you are published tomorrow.


On Sacrificing Sleep

I want to be good at a lot of things. I want to be a good husband. I want to be a good father.  I want to be a good friend, worker, and man. I also want to be a good writer.

These areas of my life pull me back and forth like a current and are simultaneously in conflict with each other. To be a good husband I have to let someone else be a father to my kids for a few hours while I go out and romance my wife. If I want to be a good worker I have to leave my wife to go to work and sometimes stay at the office a little later than planned. To be a good man I have to be sane and with two kids and one due any day – it can be a struggle.

When writing invaded my life, I told my wife I would never allow it to become something that would take away time from her or my kids. I am not going to come home and then leave for six hours to get a chapter out.

I began to realize that something had to go.

That something was sleep.


Sleep and I have had an interesting relationship over the last few years. Yes, I realize that you need it. I acknowledge it as I slam another cup of coffee. I toy with it and lay down for twenty minutes in the middle of the day. But, our relationship has been rocky at best and though I crave it nearly every second of the day I do whatever I can to fight it off.

Why you ask? Why do I torture myself like this? I already said I wanted to be a writer didn’t I?

As my family grew I began to understand that twenty four hours is not actually a lot of time. In fact I think it is a joke sometimes. Really? It’s 10:30! Come on clock, you’re kidding right? But alas, no, it is not.

Great writing takes time. I once evaluated how many hours I wrote one week and it was not enough to fulfill my writing aspirations. I knew I needed a schedule. Using an excel spreadsheet I evaluated how I spent every single hour each day. When I was finished there was no time left, other than sleep. That is all I have to sacrifice.

So, I plan to get up at 5am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This will be tough especially when a newborn enters our family in the next few days.

I want to be a great writer. I want to produce short stories, novels, blogs, and articles. These all take time. By sacrificing sleep I might have enough time to accomplish it all. After all, if this is the life I want I should be living it now. Its time I started to act like it.

Do you struggle to find time to write? What sacrifices have you made or are you willing to make?