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.
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.
It could mean you are published tomorrow.