Sharing a Chair | Blog

How to become a writer and get paid for it.

The Writing Nook |  Writing Tips

There is a very real difference between writing for pleasure and getting paid to write for pleasure. The difference is - motivation. If you want to get paid for what you love you need to be willing to put in the work and push yourself to promote your skills and meet those deadlines because working for yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always the boss.

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1. Get writing.

This is pretty obvious, but I hear a lot of people talking about how they’d love to write when the only thing that stops that from happening is the fact they aren’t actually writing. You don’t have to start a blog and give yourself a theme i.e. ‘lifestyle blogger’, ‘fashion blogger’, ‘photography blogger’ etc just write about anything and everything you love, people constantly talk to me about my ‘blog’ but I don’t have one and I’m definitely not a blogger, I just write stuff. For example, if you love to read then write a review of the book you’re currently reading when you finish — this will get you used to taking notes and jotting things down, to then compiling it all together into a legible and useful piece of writing.

2. Find a niche.

Ok so this may sound like I’m contradicting myself, it’s not necessary to only write on one subject but most writers do have a subject they feel more confident writing about and if you’re not sure then use some time to just write some pieces about your own life experiences and interests. This should then flag up a few subjects you could use as your niche to earn some money for what you love; for example I’ve written about my fitness and body transformation story as other people’s stories like this inspired me to start mine. I also write about my life as a parent and the one key thread in all my writing is complete honesty — I don’t hide myself behind words that aren’t me, and this has provided me with my niche which I am constantly shaping and refining.

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3. Get Paid.

Now you’re getting to know yourself as a writer, and you are a writer now by the way, there are a few ways you can try and make some money from it.

  1. Register for a few freelance sites, set up a profile and start sending off some proposals to projects that take your fancy. A site I recommend is Upwork. The way this works is, because I have a niche (parenting stuff) which is clearly tagged on my profile, clients can easily search for me if they need help writing guest blogs or ghostwriting for parenting sites or articles. This is why I say it is handy to have at least one niche to use to your advantage because it enables those looking for a specific skill to find you and you may not even have to look for work (I haven’t sent one proposal yet as I’ve been sought out by clients). If you are successful and invited to interview you will most probably be asked to carry out a test article to see if you fit with the voice and specifications of the client. Another good site to check out is People per hour.
  2. If you are good at proofreading or have experience of doing this for other people this can be a great way to earn some extra pennies, it will also help to improve your own writing and ability to proofread and edit your own work in greater detail. You could find this work independently or these kinds of jobs can also be found on freelance sites.
  3. You could offer tutoring in your local area which can be especially sought after if you are in possession of a degree level qualification as potential clients are drawn to this, qualifications means academic experience of writing to a high standard.

4. Don’t be put off.

All the above is a really great opportunity for practice and should never be frowned upon if it doesn’t lead to full or consistent employment. At this point you are looking for the experience to build up a portfolio and there will be plenty more knock backs, so it’s time to grow a thick skin and believe in what you are doing. Clients will pay you for carrying out test articles and it really gives you a chance to get a grip on the process and refine your writing and time keeping to hit mini deadlines. Even if you never get work on freelance sites it will keep you working and you will earn a little money here and there for trying — more than you’d get if you were still just dreaming of being a writer, right?

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5. Write some more.

Ok so maybe this is a cheat tip but it’s true. Once you’ve started writing just keep it up, maybe find some local publications or websites that would let you practice by submitting some work for free. I am all for getting paid, hence this post however, sometimes it pays to put yourself out there for free, at least just in the beginning when you are trying to find out what you enjoy writing about and how you want to go about it. Any work experience is experience and networking is invaluable to you at this point.

So if this has motivated you to get started in fulfilling your dream to become a writer then great! If you still don’t think you can do it then just write for you, that’s the most important thing because the moment you don’t enjoy what you are writing it defies the point anyway. Good luck!

 

 

Sharing a Chair | Writing Nook

Short Fiction: Sunday Roast

Fiction Writing

The grey clouds sit in gathered mounds like a giant knitted scarf across the Autumn sky. Summer has turned it’s back on the days but like a smile sensed from behind a departing friend, the sun still shared a little warmth.

A Girl sits on the floor of an overcast lounge, under the glow of an old 70’s floor lamp. She basks in the comfort of the slow Sunday afternoon pace, hunched over a colouring book sneaked from her mother’s stocking last Christmas. It had been rediscovered after the distraction of long energetic summer days, days which involved running and sneezing amongst the long grass as it scratched at her bare legs and clawed at her senses; twinned with drawn-out evenings of cartwheel competitions in the disused cricket ground.

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She paused, stretching her back and becoming aware of the room again, her sisters sat like dozy cubs propped against one another on the sofa; hypnotised by the sleepy Sunday mood and the dim light of Alice in Wonderland on the TV screen. Content that all was how it should be she returned to her colouring. The faint cockney slant of her Grandad citing the ‘Walrus and the Carpenter’ travelled from the kitchen; he was helping with Dinner but revealing he’d rather be watching Alice over the top of his glasses (and the latest Terry Pratchett).

The warm scent of beef with mustard crust swirled about her nostrils, her tummy reached out for the food but she enjoyed the wait. The faint scent of baking in the background made her mouth water, Apple crumble and custard — delicious. Her mum peeped round the door brandishing a tea towel of warning “Dinner in 15 minutes girls,” her sisters were startled into life, stretching and yawning as though waking from hibernation.

The smallest sibling crouched by the Girl and peered at her colouring book, picking up a pencil to join in, “Don’t! Get your own colouring book, you’ll ruin it!” she gathered her work to her chest. Her baby sister silently stuck out her tongue whilst returning her eyes to the screen. The Girl got to her feet and went on the quest for dinner. She washed her hands with a creamy bar of Imperial Leather and went to fetch a drink of cloudy Lemonade from the kitchen.

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“It’s nearly ready, I’ll fetch a drink in a minute. If you want to help you can lay the table. Then get your sisters and sit up in the dining room” she was under their feet and timings and patience were reaching their peak. She skipped out into the room next door and placed the cutlery with absolute precision. The scent of woods from around the world filled her nose, a game of Solitaire from Turkey that smelt faintly of a hundred spices, dressers that smelt of varnish and bookcases drenched in ages she would never know.

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With full tummies and contented hearts they stretched the day into the evening, laughing and comparing interpretations of rules and guidelines of their chosen family game. Arguments ensued as ideas clashed in the traditional way.

The Girl spectated, smiling, there was no greater comfort than the events round this table. She loved how each Sunday was a miniature insight into Christmas celebrations, always the same. Routine and tradition were precisely the things that made for a comforting and heart warming childhood.

Surrounded by five women, her Grandad never seemed phased. He always knew what to say and how to respond to their dramas. His particular area of expertise was adhering to their tom boy natures, constructing toboggans from old skis when the snow surprised them in winter, or kite building in the spring sunshine.

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As nighttime swept over the sky the children didn’t protest, each section of the day bringing a new enjoyment. Bedtime was no exception, warm milk and ‘Old Bear’ stories was a recent habit that soothed their fear of missing out. The lights went out and the sound of muffled laughter filtered through the floorboards.

The morning would bring different practices to recreate, each family member taking their own first steps into the week. The Girl looked forward to the morning and the taste of warm buttery toast against the sharp tang of orange juice on her tongue. She drifted into blissful sleep to the angelic sound of nursery rhymes that danced along the hallway from her sister’s bedroom.

Sharing a Chair | Writing Nook

Why it’s time to realise failure is your route to success.

Motivation

I’m writing this for you, but ultimately it derives from an inability to harvest positives from the deep rooted doubts of my own potential.

You absolutely need to stop being so hard on yourself, yes you will fail, yes there will be attempts that you look back on and cringe at, but the only way to be able to look back on those cringeworthy efforts is to make effort in the first place.

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I am a dreamer, I have idea upon idea, some of which I stack up on the ‘pipe dream’ pile and others I will have a good crack at. I dislike the use of the word dreamer as someone who ‘dilly dallies’ their way through life achieving very little. It is time to stop thinking of yourself this way. Dreamers don’t give up, dreamers make breakthroughs and dreamers achieve the unachievable.

We can have delusions of grandeur, but so what? What is better than believing you can do something? When something enables you to lose sight of what you want to be, you are losing sight of what you can be.

I never even considered that being a writer was something I would ever do, but it was something I dreamed of doing. Until the day I just decided to do it, and people thanked me for what I had written. My motive is enjoyment, I promised myself that I would do more of what makes me happy and I realised very quickly that happiness breeds happiness and the fears that held me back, like failure, don’t even bother me anymore. Fears are simply the cracks in the pavement, they shouldn’t stop us from making our way.

Last week I sent submissions to three major magazines, I’ve since had a rejection from one but was still encouraged to send more. The other two haven’t responded and I will probably look back on those submissions in a few years and shudder at my naivety and immaturity but I certainly won’t regret doing something.

 Release all your ideas to the world!

Release all your ideas to the world!

 

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will — Suzy Kassem

Perhaps our fear of failure comes from the shame of looking silly or having to take responsibility for that failure and say ‘OK I got it wrong this time, but that doesn’t mean I am wrong’. There comes a time when you have to be your own inspiration. Be accountable for your own failings. You can’t place blame every time something goes wrong, sometimes it’s just the way it goes and only you can put things back on track. You are also the only one responsible for making things happen.

The most freeing thing you can do is allow yourself to be vulnerable to failure because it will open you up to success. Write a list of all the things you’ve ever dreamed of doing, start ticking those things off and let satisfaction shadow doubt.