When I look at my online writing career, I realize I could have earned a lot more money and reached my financial goals a lot faster. My slow, steady and maybe antiquated method for earning money isn’t the most popular route to travel.
The Road I Took
I started out on the more frequently traveled road. That road involved lots of writing, querying, higher-paying gigs and lots of frustration. After spending time on that road, I realized it was very similar to the 9-5 employment road. It was paved a different color, but the frustration was the same.
Both roads required me to spend time working for someone else in order to get paid. I had to abide by their rules, regulations and guidelines. This, in and of itself, isn’t such a bad thing. It was a lot better than getting up and going to work, but it started to put a damper on my spirit and take my writing joy away. Anyone who has written for Demand Studios understands what I’m talking about.
Actually, I have to thank places like Demand Studios (for their frustrating editorial process) and Bright Hub (for their out right rejection of my application). If it weren’t for my frustration and rejection, I might not have concentrated as much on my residuals early on.
During my days of writing frustration (and rejection) I had to stop to think about what I wanted from my writing career. So, in usual style, I wrote a list of what I wanted/needed. Here’s the list I wrote oh so long ago:
- I want to write
- I want to write books
- I want to help folks via my online properties
- I want a sustainable business model that allows me time away from the computer and isn’t dependent upon my being online all day.
- I want to write evergreen, timeless, motivational content that does not require updating (or very little).
- I want my online properties to support my lifestyle
- I want to experience life and write about it
- I never want to retire.
The last line about retirement is key. In the 9-5 world people grit their teeth and try to stick it out until retirement only to find that retirement isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The cost of living continued to rise and the retirement checks did not.
Humans are the only species that retires. The rest of the animal kingdom remains useful until they die. If an animal retires, it becomes dinner for the working folks.
Back to the Road Less Traveled
In order to shape my online writing career to meet the goals I listed, I had to change direction. I slowly transitioned off of the frequently traveled road in favor of the side road. The side roads aren’t smoothly paved, nor do they have the white reflective paint, which makes it easier to see when traveling at night. There were no Facebook or Twitter rest stops on this road.
There were one or two Wrong Way signs, but that was about it. Choosing to ignore the Wrong Way signs, I continued down the path.
Choose Your Path
I didn’t mean to get all Robert Frost on you guys, but I think you should take a little time to jot down your writing goals. Take a moment away from the craziness and the frustration. Find some quiet time to think about where you want to be in the next 2, 3, 5 years or so.
Once you know where you want to go, use that as your measuring stick to see if you’re on the right track. Learn to work from the inside (from your own goals, dreams and aspirations) out instead of the outside (what everyone else is telling you to do) in. I find inside out living so much more rewarding and you will too.
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