I had a small success a couple of weeks ago. I found out one of my short stories has been shortlisted for a competition in a writing magazine.
I was over-the-moon to receive the news. This is, after-all, the best thing that has happened to me in terms of my writing career. The fact that a judge has read my story, and did not think it was a total disaster, is amazingly encouraging.
I haven’t found out yet whether it will win one of the top three places. I’m not going to pretend I wouldn’t love to see that story in print. Yet even if it doesn’t, this is something I can add to my writing CV.
One useful piece of advice I learnt at Swanwick Writers’ School was the importance of building up your writing CV. Every success, however small or large, should be added to it.
It can be easy to forget those small successes on days like today. I’m sitting here, post a typical day in the office with a brooding cold, feeling once again full of self-doubts. Am I ever really going to be able to make a living as an author, or will I be working 9-5 forever more?
I often find myself scouring the web, asking the question – how do I begin as a freelance writer? There seem to be numerous sites offering advice, but no matter how much I read I never seem to find the answer.
I’ve read advice such as pitch to magazines. But it would seem unless you already have a strong writing CV behind you, magazines aren’t going to be willing to give you too much attention.
I’ve read advice such as join a freelance job website, where individuals post work they need completing, and writers can pitch on them. I did half-heartedly investigate this once, but it was difficult to access how credible the jobs being posted were – and most paid little.
I feel like I’m being very negative here. Being a freelance writer is totally doable, but where to begin? Are you a freelance writer? Do you make a living from your writing? Where do you ‘find’ work?
This brings me back to remembering those small successes and adding them to your writing CV. Successes like being shortlisted for a reputable magazine or competition should be celebrated. Writing an article for a local paper, or sending a letter into a magazine, or writing a guest blog post on a popular blog are all things you can add to your writing CV. Don’t underestimate them.
And hopefully one day these small successes will turn into bigger things!