An honest writer may reach for his or her pen with the same glimmer of hope as a child reaching for confections. One word may spill into another until a harmless novel is inspired, a movement, a poem which captivates the imagination. Indeed, to harness the power of words is merely a human endeavor, to make a bold statement is divine.
Over the past several years I have worked hard to stamp out an existence as a freelance writer – to prove I can harvest my words as well as the next professional scribe. I have never applied for writing positions or pretend to know the golden rules for grammar. It doesn’t really matter to me, because the views I express are free and from the heart.
While an editor may play fancy with words and inflection, the true intent of writing is to communicate a basic theme with readers, to illustrate a point in far simpler terms that many cannot express.
Regardless of whether you’re writing fiction or hard journalism, your message must be articulate, sharp and sincere. In order for your words to open minds, your literature must have a clear objective and purpose, a climate for which to place those words, and ultimately an audience who understands your content… hopefully.
That being said, this process is not always cut and dry. Editors may not always agree with your final point, and readers may yawn indifferently at the desperate crop of words you’ve planted. While writing can be a therapeutic exercise for some, it can also serve as a heartbreaking love affair filled with a wide spectrum of emotions, to include anxiety.
It doesn’t matter if your poem is based on some puffy cloud you witnessed at sunset or that your article hits the jugular of a deep political vein. If your readers are bored, if they are not moved by your fountain of literature, then you must re-examine your place in the guild. You may want to explore a new approach, because once a writer becomes formulaic or predictable, then you may as well consider a new venue altogether, like technical writing which doesn’t require much creativity.
While failure will always remain a difficult pill to swallow, I would suggest that not everyone is cut out for this special craft. As well, even the most hardened veterans of the industry can take their lumps; extended periods of time without work, working for peanuts, or even working for free. There’s nothing wrong with this. It happens to published authors, experienced journalists and various other professionals on the editorial side. It’s the nature of the beast.
Let’s not even explore the starving reality for critical poets and philosophers; their tanks may always run on empty.
The only suggestion I can recommend is to put aside your expectations and ego. Even for those who have been striking the keys for decades, the more you write, the more you push your words and passion, the more blood you will get from that stone. Never marginalize yourself or compare your talents to others. As soon as you lose your creative compass in the hot pursuit of success, then I would suggest you stop typing immediately and find a nice pasture to take a nap.
Always write for love before money. If you are honest with your passion, if you sprinkle every element of your character and soul into those finite words, the industry will always find a way to take care of you. The key is believing in your gift and nourishing it with faith.
Be honest with your heart and dig deep, because the world still needs writers, and your message will always be important…