Red Responds: Will She Be a Successful Freelance Writer?

Pauline in Brooklyn writes:

I have begun a career as a writer. I have sold my third book, have one on the shelves and one coming out this winter. None of the books paid enough in their advances for me to truly support myself. However, when my father died he left me money and with it I am able to subsidize my income, something I have taken advantage of for far too long.

In the meantime, I spend my days doing very little to actually create a lucrative career. I mostly watch TV or play online games. It makes me sick knowing how much more effort I need to put in to actually achieve the goals to which I am aspiring. How do you see my future going? I always respect the incredibly sound advice (and kicks in the butt) I read you giving to others so it feels right to ask you.

Do you believe I will be able to succeed as a freelance writer? Or do you recommend I find a real job before I blow all my inheritance and ruin all my chances to be successful and financially autonomous?

Dear Pauline,

I’m really glad that you are open to a little foot-butt propulsion, because that really is all you need. You know what to do, you just don’t feel like doing it. Hopefully, this response is all that you need to get going in the right direction, because what I am currently seeing for you isn’t a fairytale with a happy ending, but more of a tale of woe with a bitter end.

You obviously could go out and get a job and create a regular paycheck. I’m sure there is some company out there who would be more than happy to profit from your labor, pay you less than your worth and abandon you for their bottom line when you need them the most. It’s an option. Or, you can quit lounging around waiting for success to find you, and start working on creating it.

If you want to make a living writing, then you need to be writing. It is awesome that you have books on the shelves, but that isn’t always enough. Sure, they will make you money and over time some nice residuals, but that isn’t helping you now. Since you do have the luxury of your inheritance to fall back on, you have the opportunity to turn off the television and scour the Internet for freelance writing projects that can generate a fairly substantial income. Not only will this help to pay the bills, but it also has the potential to increase your book sales. A byline is a great marketing tool.

You don’t have all the time in the world before you fritter away your nest egg. The problem is you have access to it. Talk to a financial planner about some long-term investments. You don’t have to go wild in this unstable market, but you need to remove the temptation. Something as simple as locking up your funds in a CD can give you the incentive you need to get busy. Your money will be safe and accessible if you need it, but the penalty may be enough to make you think twice about reaching for the funds.

Give yourself three months to create and generate the income you need by utilizing your talents. If you fail, accept that you have failed yourself, blown a golden opportunity to create a life that so many dream of having the opportunity to create, and rejoin the rat-race.

I can’t make you do what you should be doing, I can only tell you what your choices are and that the clock is ticking. If success isn’t enough to motivate you, then maybe the threat of “failure” is. Decide now to blaze your trail into a secure and self-created future, or be prepared to retire on Social Security, pinch your pennies and tell tales of how your life “could have been.”

Good luck!
Ext. 9226

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