I get a lot of comments and emails from people who simply don't believe they're good enough to work with the higher paying writing markets.
Here's a saying that's frequently mentioned on my favorite writing ezine:
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."-- Richard Bach
Even the big-time, highly paid writers had to start somewhere. Just like you and me, they started at the beginning, worked to improve their skills and aimed higher until they got where they were going.
Let's look at some frequently asked questions, myths and misconceptions about writing.
Myth: I need to start with revenue-share sites to 'get my feet wet'
Truth: No you don't. What you probably need to do is work on your own levels of confidence. Write to the best of your ability. Learn what your client or intended publication wants and write to their specifications. Read other articles that were accepted for publication and learn the difference between that writer's style and your own. Then submit some more.
Myth: I need a diploma or degree in writing to make a living from writing
Truth: No you don't. I do have a degree in Economics - but I don't have any formal education in freelance writing. Yet I manage to bring in a comfortable six figure income every year without problem. The main skill you need to earn a living from writing is the ability to write coherently and get your message across to anyone reading what you've written.
Myth: Writing online is easy money
Truth: If this was true then everyone would be doing it. The many comments and emails I receive from people begging to be pointed in the right direction tell me that many people are just after a quick, easy dollar without putting in the effort, discpline, time or patience involved in learning a skill that will expand and grow your career.
Of course there are many readers on this blog who actively work hard at doing the right things, submitting to writing markets and work hard to improve their skills. I'm referring to those people who want it all handed to them without going to any effort themselves.
After all, if I can search the internet and find the markets I'm pointing out to you, then obviously they weren't so difficult to find.
Myth: I can only aim at $2 per article jobs while I'm still learning
Truth: Your confidence in yourself and in your own ablities dictates the amount of money you will accept. Only you can determine what your time and effort is worth. If your own confidence levels tells you that you should bid $1 per article because that's all you're worth - then you've set your own income level and sealed your own fate.
Have the courage to ask for $10 per article or $20 or $75 or even $150 - and then be sure to over-deliver on what the client is expecting. Show them that more money equals better quality. You'll keep getting that amount of money.
Myth: Writing for online markets is easier than offline markets
Truth: Yes, the difference in writing style is substantially different for magazines and newspapers - but different is not the same thing as being any harder or any easier. Magazines and periodicals would go out of business very quickly if they didn't receive submissions from writers. They need your work in order to stay alive.
This means you should spend some time learning what type of writing style a particular magazine likes before you write even one word. Learn what that editor likes and then learn to modify your own writing style to suit.
While it's true that the style of writing preferred in most magazine is a lot more professional sounding than the conversational-type English we're all used to in online article writing, that makes it easier to get your information across.
Myth: Rejection means the editor hates me and everyone will laugh at me.
Truth: Of the several billion internet users online at any given time of any day, do you really think they're all going to come and personally laugh at you for having an article rejected? Are you really that self-absorbed?
Editors reject submissions that don't adhere to their guidelines. Editors reject submissions when they're overstocked. They reject other submissions just because they already bought something similar or they may reject others just because they've overspent their freelance budget that month.
ALL professional writers receive rejections. It's a normal, expected part of being a professional writer. If you allow a normal part of the writing business to deter you from ever submitting anything ever again, then you really don't want it badly enough.
So... if you've been busy visiting a lot of writing sites filled with newer writers who insist that working for $6 per year from a revenue-share site is a good bargain and that's all you can aspire to while you're learning, I strongly suggest you avoid those types of sites in future.
Have confidence in yourself and your abilities. Have the courage and the pride to demand payment for what your work is really worth. Treat every writing job that is trusted to you with respect and gratitude and complete it to the best of your ability.
But most of all - write because you love it.