On Failure, Success and the Writing Life (AW Blog Chain Post)

People often ask writers where we get our ideas. For me, finding ideas has never been a problem—it’s deciding which ideas to pursue that creates the challenge.

This entry is part of an AW blog chain, in which the blogger has to build upon one of the topics mentioned in the previous blog.

Razib, over at Techtainment, has given me (and the other bloggers in the chain) so much to think about, I simply don’t know which path to take.

This happens when I’m writing feature articles for magazines, too. I may have three strong leads, three different themes, if you will, and the challenge lies in choosing the best, most interesting way to tell the story. Once I decide on the overall gist of the piece, the words flow easily to the article’s conclusion. It’s that all-important lead that can make or break a project.

Some of the topics Razib hit upon were: failure, success, persistence, heroes, spousal support, and making a living as a professional blogger. Razib gets a phenomenal number of hits on his sites, and is making a real living through blogging.

I couldn’t imagine taking that career path, but I have a few projects in the works that will supplement my other writing income through blogs, and a few opportunities to learn more about how to make money as a blogger. I’m going to grasp these opportunities with both hands. After all, what do I have to lose?

Fear of failure has never stopped me from doing anything. My personal demon is fear of success. What if I get so good that people expect more from me, and I’m forced to step outside my comfort zone to pursue new challenges? What if I achieve my goals and can’t decide where to go from there?

Or worse… what if I make my dreams come true and realize it wasn’t all I expected it to be? What if I get where I want to be and I’m still not happy?

I’m making a full-time living as a freelance writer – in an area of the country with a very high cost of living. Granted, I couldn’t do it without my husband’s support, medical benefits and job security. But I’m doing it. And making more than I ever made working for someone else as a magazine editor.

Some days, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Work comes in spurts – you either have more than you can sanely handle, or you’re trolling the job markets wondering if anyone will ever hire you again. A freelancer’s bank account follows similar cycles.

Success requires discipline, persistence, tenacity, and a healthy dose of self-esteem to keep you going during those down times. You have to realize that your work has value and you’re worth every dollar you’re making. Otherwise, your career is dead when you hit your first rough patch (and there will be rough patches!)

Even when things are going well, however, sometimes it’s just…not… fun. It’s work. That’s why we get paid to do it.

However, as “work” goes, writing as a vocation has more good days than bad, is fun more often than not. And the thrill of seeing my name in print—or on a check—outweighs any drawbacks.

On those hard days, it’s important to remember that living the life of a full-time freelance writer is the chance to live a dream. I can honestly say there is not one thing about my life I want to change. That’s a great place to be.

If you’re reading this, I invite you to kick me when I forget that! ;) And, if you stay tuned to these pages, I will do everything I can to show you how I did it so that you can do it, too.

Far more than just fulfilling the requirements of a blog chain, I think this post has (finally) given me some direction for this blog!

Since this chain may lead to the most readers I’ve ever had here, tell me: what sort of writing tips, advice and content do you want to see?

Now, I respectfully pass this chain on to Polenth's Quill.

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My Copious Notes Blog
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