Well, yesterday was just fun, friends. I told the story of how the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I made a goal that I would get paid to write 12 articles in 2016 – and ended up surpassing that goal by five.
While I don’t think it’s rocket science, it did take me more than three years to get to the point of believing I was smart enough and witty enough and writerly enough to get paid to write.
So, I gave you seven ideas that worked for me yesterday, and I’ve got seven more for you today.
1. Join an online writing network. For a long time, I thought that if I just put my words out there on the Internets, that the writing would come. Some editor, some agent, some someone would see the magical way I have with words and call me to come forth. And sure, invitations eventually came, but for the most part, I’ve had to seek out writing opportunities. If you don’t have specific publications in mind, perhaps it might be in your best interest to join a writing network where opportunities sometimes come to you. Go to Google. Type in “online writing opportunities.” Press send. Or check out places like Brian Scott’s Online Writing Jobs or Write.com.
2. Listen to your jealousies. One of the wisest things Osheta ever said to me was to listen to my jealousies. I’m not sure whether this was over Voxer or on podcast airwaves, but the phrase never left my head. Jealous of a friend who got a piece published at Brain, Child Magazine? Do something about it. Got all sorts of green feelings floating around your insides when a complete stranger had a Sojourners piece go viral? Well, first of all stop comparing yourself to people you don’t actually know on the Internet – and then submit a query yourself.
3. Keep putting yourself out there. a “no” today is not necessarily a “no” forever. I wish I would have written down how many places I queried this last year and I received rejections from. But, friends: I queried. Real Simple may not have accepted my pitch but they did email me back. (Victory!) My story may not be what Sunset is looking for right now, but I did put myself out there, and that counts for something.
4. Engage in the news. When I first had dreams of getting paid to write, I thought that editors would pick up all my Super Lovely Storytelling Ways – without the need for any sort of cultural relevance. But, more and more, publications need a tie-in. They need to know how your story relates to what’s going on the world. Learn how to do both and you just may be able to JUST write your Super Lovely Storytelling Ways-stories someday.
5. Purposefully ask yourself, what do I think about this subject? I just taught it today in a research writing class, but annotating an article is simply finding out what you think about a subject. So, do the same when it comes to the news. Do the same when it comes to the everyday stories of your life. At the end of February, an article will run on CT Women that birthed in my heart and mind almost a year ago. This picture of my oldest son, saying a prayer before dinner, is ruminating around in my mind right now – and will come to fruition someday.
6. Listen to a podcast like “Beyond Your Blog.” Even though BYB is no longer producing podcast content, ample opportunities exist on Susan’s website. When I stumbled upon her podcast last spring, listening to it – to her interviewing publishers within the industry – normalized the idea of me putting myself out there. She inadvertently helped me to believe in myself. So, please, have a listen to old episodes and check out the website for loads of encouragement and opportunities.
7. Believe in yourself. I probably should have put this first, on the very first post – but alas, I didn’t. Here’s the deal: if you want to be a writer, call yourself a writer. If you write writerly things, call yourself a writer. If you want to publish articles online or in a magazine and have done the hard work to get there, call yourself a writer. For too long I referred to my budding occupation as “stepping into writing and speaking,” which was true to an extent, but I also wasn’t fully giving myself credit for who I really was, already, in the present, everyday.
That’s it for now, but I want to hear from you! Also, be sure to read yesterday’s post if you haven’t already and enter to win a copy of Dating During the Apocalypse (by leaving a “pick me!” comment). Winner will be drawn Friday, 3 pm.
So, what have you to add? Any of these seven ideas spark something within you?
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