I wanted to share with you the single most important piece of advice I give to new freelance writers. It’s important not only for new freelancers, but for anyone who is trying to start something new–a new direction for your business, or a new service you want to add or whatever.
Ready for it? Ok, here it is….
Ta-da! Thank you, thank you, genius, I know. That’ll be one million dollars, please.
But seriously, it’s true. Any time you want to do something that you haven’t already been doing the key is to start, get yourself in motion, pick a direction, and GO.
I write about this in my free niche challenge that people love so much. (It’s a free email challenge that takes you through the process of picking a niche for your freelance writing business.) And the most important thing I teach in that lesson is not how to pick a niche, but how to get started and the importance of getting started.
I was recently listening to a podcast from my mentor, Julie Chenell, in her Create Your Laptop Life podcast. And she was talking about how it’s easier to change directions or to switch tracks when you’re already in motion. And that really kind of hit me in the face because it’s so true.
Don’t get stuck in getting ready to be a writer. Just write.
So many of us get bogged down in waiting until the timing is right or the schedule is perfect, or the plan is there, or we’ve picked a perfect niche or we’ve written the perfect pitch template, and we’re just waiting for some point in time where we’re going to be ready to move. And so we don’t move. My husband refers to this as getting ready to get ready, and how many of us get stuck in getting ready to get ready?
The most important thing you can do is to stop getting ready and actually go.
If you want to be a writer and you don’t know what your niche should be, then start writing without a niche. Just go to the job boards and apply to everything you can find that is going to pay you decently and that doesn’t make you want to cry.
Later, if you have been writing in a specific niche for a while, you can branch out. Or if you’ve been writing with no niche and you want to, you can narrow it down, either in the industry that you write for or the type of stuff that you write or whatever. But you’re not going to know what the perfect niche or client or service is for you if you’ve never done any of before. And so if you want to make sure that you have the perfect blog post for nursing schools before you move into that niche, it won’t work. You will never move into that niche.
Just write a blog post for nursing schools and then publish it on Medium.com. There. You’re a nursing ed writer. Now go out there and start offering your writing services to nursing programs.
Don’t wait until everything falls into place. HINT: Things do not just fall into place! You pick up the pieces and you put them into place yourself! Just start doing it! Just focus on that first piece, that first step. Take the step. Then take the next step. Keep moving. Soon you’ll have some pieces. And off you go.
It’s never going to be perfect. Stop waiting for perfection.
The most essential thing that I could encourage you to do is to get in motion, and stop waiting for it to be perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. You’re never going to be ready. There is never some ideal time when the skies open up and the angels sing and a dove descends from heaven with a golden certificate declaring you READY.
You have to declare yourself ready. Like, today. If you’re reading this right now, you’re ready now. I hereby grant you permission to write your first sample blog post and publish it on your website. Or on medium. Or on your friend’s blog. Permission granted. YOU’RE READY. GO. DO IT.
The thing is, if you wait around and prepare long enough, maybe you’ll be ready for that first step… eventually. But then, if you’re ready for the things that you want to do, then you won’t be ready for the next thing that you want to do after that. Maybe you’re ready for this thing that’s immediately in front of you, which is great. Do it. But by the time you’ve done that first thing and you get to what you think will be the next things, you’re actually probably going to be looking for bigger and scarier things. The “next thing” changes. It always looks bigger once you get there.
And you are never ready to do the big thing that you want to do.
You’re just never ready to do the big thing. By the time you have identified this big thing and then by the time you’re ready to take on the big thing, the big thing isn’t so big anymore and this thing that you actually want to do is even bigger and you’re really not ready for that.
It’s easier to keep moving than to get moving. Move.
In other words, starting is the hardest part. So just freaking get in motion.
It’s easier to pick a niche once you start writing. It’s easy to change niches when you already have a niche. It’s easier to pick up specific types of clients when you are already picking up clients.
It is really hard to pick up the perfect client and send them the perfect pitch and write for them the perfect blog post, if you are not already picking up any clients, you’re not already doing any pitching, and you’re already not doing any writing.
Maybe you got into freelance writing to support your blog because you want to be a blogger. And then eventually you decide you don’t want to be a blogger but you’re afraid of not being a blogger anymore because that’s what your identity has always been. Well… to that I say, just stop being a blogger. Let it go and do something different. I mean, seriously. You’re making it too hard. The amazing thing about being the one in charge of your work… is that you’re in charge. And you can stop doing stuff you don’t want to do anymore, and you can start doing the new stuff.
(Side note: I created my low-cost course, Clips Camp, to help you do exactly that: get started. It’s all about putting together a strong portfolio so you can get out there and start impressing prospective clients right from the start. It’s fairly short, and you can have your portfolio written in a weekend. Perfect for frustrated beginners! Now get moving! Click here to learn more.)
Attention all new or would-be freelance writers: Just do it already! Start! Today!
If there’s one thing I want you to take from this little encouragement kick in the pants, it’s the importance of getting started, of moving, of going because it’s so much easier to change when you’re already moving than it is to identify the perfect direction and then launch only in that direction.
You are going to waste so much more time waiting for perfection then you would waste if you got started and then did some course correcting.
It is so much easier to change directions, to pivot, to add something on, pick something up, or put something down, when you’re already in motion.
So just. freaking. start. already.