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.


When The Writer Battles Self-Doubt


If there is anything a writer (or any artist) needs, it is that. After all, you are placing a short story, essay, painting, poem or some other original work out in the open for someone to love or scrutinize.

Though I have written for years and published a little, I still wrestle with small bouts of insecurity. The shadow comes when I blog, tell people I am a writer or submit the latest short story. I think I am not good enough, original enough, have not lived and experienced enough to put something amazing or meaningful together.

Over the last few months I created a writing space. I built bookshelves, put pictures up of my wife and kids, in order to have a place to write and keep my writer-ish things (like a sailboat, family heirlooms, hockey pucks and, most importantly, my leather bound journals).

Every once in a while I crack open a journal entry or two to review an important date of my life. The entry at 5am before I was married to my beautiful bride. The birth of my first daughter. The day I graduated college. The day my second daughter was born. I reflect and remember how much I have grown both as a writer and a person. Recently, I read my very first journal entry and smiled.

This “entry” consisted of a date, title, and a scrap from a devotional book. That’s right. My first attempt at a journal entry was also my first attempt at plagiarism.

Be what it is, I learned something. Something significant and comforting that I consider each time I embark on a new project.

I have come a long way.DSC_0073

I can see progress and joy in my entries and short stories. I see the love of something good and, even in the rarest of occasions, profound.

There are many things we build on. But they all come from the first word, the first step of trying something new. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t.

That is not the point. The point is the step.

After a while you can see just how far you’ve come.

If there is any doubt in you writer – think about the piece before. Think about how far you’ve come. I did and find I am a lot further down the road than I could ever have expected.

And it gives me confidence to keep going.

Keep (or start) Writing.



What Fuels Your Writing?

Writing Fuel

I have a lot of ideas for books. I keep them stashed away in piles of notebooks or if I get a flash of a scene in my mind I write it down and save it in a file on my computer. I’ve never had an issue with ideas or better stated the problem of the creative well running dry.

My issue, like most of you out there, is finding ways to revitalize my creativity, or better yet fueling my creativity.

There is a difference between inspiration and motivation. I find that in my writing life they are often clashing like land and wave, warring against one another. Which made me wonder, what puts me in the writing mood?

Reading – This is obvious, I know. I think the key here is not pulling out War and Peace by Tolstoy because for me that is a work to savor and study. It should be something with great language and pace, anything by Dickens, Rowling, Lewis, and the like. Once I hear a voice of a particular author in their writing it helps me jump back into mine.

Quiet Time – When I can steal some time for myself to merely think and gain perspective instead of being a human machine fulfilling task after task it helps me take a breath, relax, and refocus. This time is best in the mornings and late at night when my wife and children are in bed. Also, there is a park nearby my work that is wooded with walking trails and a nice vigorous walk awakens the writer in me.

Reading Blogs – I follow several blogs and many of them are located on my blogroll. Being involved in the writing community is important, and hearing what my cyber writing friends have to say is always beneficial. Also, seeing people putting up content constantly is a friendly rub of motivation to get out there and produce myself.

Talking with Other Writers – I have a scheduled night each week that I use for writing, though it changes from time to time, it is nice to meet regularly with Josh. Also, when I catch up with fellow Weaklings, Andrew and Matthew, it’s helpful as well.

Reading Books on Writing – When you are trying to do anything in life, travel across Europe, buying a car, starting a degree, it is always good to read books by people who have accomplished it. It reveals that finishing is possible, and perhaps some insightful tips along the way.

Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows

But what about you writer? What have you done lately that has put you into the writing mood? Because, if you are searching for motivation, you should probably do that before getting to your writing device.