By William Ballard
What does going to the next level in your writing career look like for you?
For some writers, going to the next level means going from unpaid to paid work (which in the New Year, the majority of my articles are going to be focused in this area), or for others, it’s all about going from a dollar a word to two dollars a word. Or it may be writing more in-depth, intellectual pieces (which will be something you have to look forward to when reading my articles in 2017).
Whatever it means or may look like for you, here are some tips to help you go from amateur writer to prolific intellectual that readers and clients can’t get enough of.
1) Believe That You Are Worth Reading and Listening To
Look, in 2016 the majority of the writing space was teaching and coaching their students to understand that they were specialist in something. That they had knowledge and expertise in some subject or field that others were interested in.
Most found this truth to be something difficult to wrap their brains around. Most couldn’t accept within themselves that they knew or had information that someone would be interested in. But you want to know which writers made something of themselves in 2016? The ones that choose to refuse to listen to any rational thought that told them otherwise, and only accepted and believed in the irrational.
In other words, they choose to believe in themselves. They choose to believe that they were created by God and put here on this earth not just get-by and live some mediocre life, but to actually achieve extraordinary feats and do great exploits.
The ones that are really going to go places and accomplish great things in 2017 are the ones that are not going to waste the first half of the year with a faulty or malfunctioning belief system -- the one that they have in themselves. They are going to accept from day one that they are worth listening to, worth reading, worth being noticed.
Look, you have to understand from the outset that regardless of where you are at right now in your writing journey, nothing happens “to” you but only “for” you. There is no better place to start your path to greatness than from where you are at right now.
Accept that you are an expert, and use your expertise to help catapult you to the next level. Once you're at the next level, you can gradually expand your topics.
(If you are not sure what you are an expert in, then the best place to discover the greatness that is YOU is at the Writer’s Round Table Club. My team and I will help you discover the greatness within you and give you that jolt of inspiration and motivation you need to make 2017 and beyond the starting point of your extraordinary and abundant life)
2) Don't Burn Bridges, Use Them as Structures to Build Your Writing Empire
Don't ruin the relationships you have with current clients or writing partners. For example, when I decided I wanted to write more intellectual writing projects (from a more collaborative standpoint) and make more affluent connections with more talented and influential writers and authors than myself, I didn't start turning down service writing projects -- after all, those were the pieces that started my writing career.
Look, you may be tempted to drop all of the less desirable work you have on your plate right now in order to give you more time to pitch to the markets you really want to write for, but if you do that you could end up without any income, and we both know that is not what you want.
The only exceptions are client relationships that pay nothing (or that pay ridiculously low fees) and that you have already slowly dissolved by not continuing communications with them: Those you can safely forget about without creating any feeling of guilt inside yourself. Chances are they have probably already forgotten about you and are no longer thinking about you as much as you are thinking about them.
I know that this may sound harsh or insensitive, but what I am trying to do is give you permission to free yourself from these kinds of relationships that really aren’t even supporters or partners of what you are trying to work towards. And they are hardly even contributors to what you are trying to achieve.
Move on and start nurturing relationships with people (clients and writing collaborators) that truly care about you and really want to see you succeed.
3) Don't Be "Too Good" to Ask For Help
In 2016 most writing coaches and teachers were instructing their students to not take on projects that they were unfamiliar with or uneducated in.
However, the problem with this kind of instruction is that it stunts your relationship and networking growth. You see, if you are not willing to do whatever it takes to grow your writing career, then why even attempt to be a writer in the first place?
Just because there is a writing assignment or project that is based on a subject or style that you are unfamiliar with doesn’t meant that you shouldn’t take it. It just means that you need to expand your database of sources and writing connections.
For instances, consider what a writing friend of mine shared with me when she found herself in a similar situation: “When I got an assignment to write a narrative-style piece for a business magazine, I was clueless. So I asked my buddy Elaine Grant for help since she's done many of these types of pieces. I took Elaine out to lunch, and all of those things I needed to learn in order to write this article, she taught me. She even helped me by critiquing my first and second drafts”.
With that said, don’t be “too good” to ask for help. Next time you find a writing assignment that doesn’t quite fit with the kind of style or subject matter that you normally cover, instead of passing it up, consider it as a message to go and start growing your database of sources and writing partners.
Or, if you already have such informed writing buddies you can go to, approach a writer friend you know, who writes for the markets you're aiming for, and go ask them to team up with you on such a project, or at least, lend a word of advice from their expert point of view.
Doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement personnel do this kind of thing all the time. They are constantly seeking outside sources for expert points-of-views that they don’t have themselves. If these kinds of vocations are considered professionals, then what makes your vocation any different?
4) To Increase Your Pay Rate and Income, Become More Valuable to The Marketplace
It was Jim Rohn who said, “If you work hard on your job you’ll make a living, but if you work hard on yourself you’ll make a fortune.” As a bonus treat for you, watch this short clip of the great Jim Rohn as he teaches about how to make yourself more valuable to the marketplace.
I hope you enjoyed that clip. But now look, if making it to the next level, for you, means moving up to a higher pay rate, you got to understand that in order to do so, you have to become more valuable to the marketplace. You have to become the writer worth the pay rate you are asking for. How do you become the kind of writer that becomes more valuable to the marketplace?
The answer to that question is by developing your skills. Consider reading this article by Jim Rohn at Success.com. There he states that skills multiply labor by two, five, 10, 50, 100 times. He goes on to say, “You can chop a tree down with a hammer, but it takes about 30 days. That’s called labor. But if you trade the hammer in for an axe, you can chop the tree down in about 30 minutes. What’s the difference in 30 days and 30 minutes? Skills – skills make the difference.”
Jim Rohn went on to say that you should do what you can – labor, but also do the best you can do – improve your skills. In doing this, you will find that labor working in harmony with improved skills will produce the increase in income and pay rate that you so desire to be making in the New Year.
Try asking your current clients and editors if they can give you a raise. This can be a lot easier than trying to break into higher-paying markets, but, of course, you should try to do both. But most importantly, you should go to work on improving yourself – improving your skills and abilities. One particular place to do this is at the Writer’s Round Table Club. See you there!
5) Become a Mentor and Lend a Helping Hand to a Writing Protege That You Have Coming Up Under You
When I started earning bigger paychecks and taking on more lucrative writing projects, I didn't just drop my old clients. I had a writing protégé that I was mentoring and who was just starting out as a freelance writer, and I recommended him to a network database of editors and clients that I had been working with for a while in the past, and have been continuing to nurture my relationships with them in the present, even though I was not able to do writing assignment for these clients any longer.
Because I established a good relationship with these clients while at the same time building a foundation of solid writing work, they were thrilled to have another good writer sent their way knowing that the kind of writer that I was sending them was of top quality and already familiar with what each client was looking for.
If you don't have a writing protégé under your wing, that you are training and mentoring, then what are you doing? Look, it was Zig Ziglar who said, “You can get everything you want in life if you will just help enough people get what they want.” The best time to start thinking about the legacy you are going to be leaving behind when you go is now, way before you even get there.
If you are not preparing a successor and helping to develop someone under you, then you really need to start thinking about finding someone you could mentor before you even enter into the New Year. I am sure, if you really think about it, you can think of at least one person who loves writing as much as you do, and would love to know what you know about this profession.
6) Overcome Your Fear by Rejecting its Nonsense
If I had a dime for how many beginning writers told me they'll start pitching their dream markets as soon as they build a good selection of clips to use when approaching these BIG FISH, trust me, I would be a very wealthy man today.
Smarten up and let this sink in: Understand that you only need ONE clip to say you're a published writer, and if you follow in the path of other unsuccessful writers that have found themselves in the dungeon of writing for free (or super cheap) in order to build clips – trust me when I tell you, that's your fear talking, not your logic; and it is holding you back and keeping you in bondage. Overcome your fear by rejecting its nonsense!
Look, when I first started in this profession my fear wasn’t that the BIG FISH wouldn’t like my ideas, no, my fear was that they would like them and that I would have to deliver on what I promised. I went after those BIG FISH though, and guess what happen… they took notice of me and they gave me a shot.
Trust me when I tell you this: I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for those so-called BIG FISH taking a chance on me.
Look, just develop a little abdominal courage – guts- and go pitch the writing markets that you really want to write for. Don’t be a scaredy-cat -- you learn more by doing and making mistakes pitching your A-list markets than you do by stalling with the non-paying markets. Just set your targets and 10X your pitching efforts! (Thank you for the 10X Rule Grant Cardone)
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William Ballard is an entrepreneur, international best-selling author, speaker, leader, and direct-response marketing expert. William is a respected, highly regarded master copywriter whose passion is to help self-published authors get more for their hard-work and contributions to the world regardless of economic climate. His books, audio packages, membership programs, and seminars provide aspiring writers with the practical tools necessary to build their own writing businesses and help propel them towards their path to true freedom. To get started: Check Out the Writer's Round Table Club