“Talent and hard work are more valuable than fancy degrees in the web writing world.”
I have a fancy degree, and I have been reading, Write for the Web! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing on the Internet. This e-book was created by the men behind Men With Pens. They wanted me to take a look at it and give them my thoughts. I tend to multi-task, so I thought I would use this as an opportunity to do some active reading with you, my enthusiastic and attractive audience. (Don’t worry James, I won’t reveal the surprise ending)
One of the first issues they cover in the book is “Am I Good Enough?” This is an excellent question, one that I have been asked a few dozen times by prospective writers over the years. The answer, one MWP comes up with as well, is yes AND no. Chances are, if you are interested enough in writing to be coming to my site, you have the writing skill and passion to at least potentially make a living as a writer on the Internet. If you can write with some enthusiasm and readability about a variety of subjects, then you have a chance to make a living as a writer on the web. That said, most people will never make a living writing for the Internet.
This is for a variety of reasons. Writing talent is important, but it takes more than that to make a living. MWP lists several of the things you need besides writing talent:
- Customer service
- Sales and Marketing
- Time management
They also discuss some of the more intangible qualities you need. To me the intangible comes down to a single word.
It doesn’t take determination to go to a job every day, even one you hate. You simply show up. Whether you’re effective or not, you stick around until its time to go home. It may not be pleasant. You may desperately want to quit (and become a freelance writer), but leaving is what requires determination, not staying.
Determination to succeed as a freelance writer means:
- Finding work when you don’t have any
- Promoting yourself even if you’re shy
- Writing when you don’t feel inspired or energetic
- Staying productive despite a hundred minor distractions
- Completing assignments on time even when you have a good excuse not to
- Taking assignments that aren’t interesting
- Finding ways to improve as a writer
- Learning, learning, learning
What it all boils down to is that succeeding as a writer means working hard — constantly. Most people have trouble doing that, especially when there isn’t a boss keeping an eye on them.