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"Financial Writing Tips For The Freelancer"

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  • Tip Bones

I would like to speak a little about the financial end of being a writer. This is taken from my new book so I could bestow some insight on this subject. 

Being a writer or author is not what many think it is. To be successful, you must have a genuine solid financial plan to get you through the dry spells of writing. I will clarify this a little further today.

Before I neglect to suggest something very valuable, let me now address the subject of “money and writing.” Everyone needs money. We all know this is needed for us to survive. In many people’s opinion, for someone to become a successful writer (or any kind of creative art job) many individuals, unfortunately, make the inaccurate assumption that you are most likely going to become super-rich. This is not the case. Far from it. (Sorry to burst your bubble). And while it makes somewhat perfect sense to most individuals that those writers who are fortunate enough to sport huge mansions, and a fleet of shiny, expensive sports cars parked in their six-car garage (who made it from writing). This too may not also be the case.

You can not go into becoming a professional writer for just the money alone. Yes, you heard me correctly. I will say it one more time, but differently: “Do not go into writing for the money alone, because, in the end, you may be very disappointed with yourself and the industry itself.” 

Yes, I get it, you need to pay the rent or have a mortgage payment you need to pay, or you may also need to pay for gas, food, and shelter, etc. These things I mentioned are indeed (understandable) needs, and not wants. They are indeed necessary for us to just survive.

Incidentally, if I have not previously mentioned before regarding “professionalism,” now may be a great time to bring it up again. You see, when you start thinking as yourself already being something for which you long to be, the better chances you will have at landing more writing gigs and being that published writer. Does this make sense? For example, let’s say you do not currently assume you are professional at your craft, or not good at what you do. If this then is the case, most likely others also will not consider you to be a serious professional writer. 

So education one; start believing you are already making a career and living as a writer. After which you can then start acting as if you already achieved becoming a professional career writer, and others will follow suit and treat you as such. In the beginning stages of trying this out, you may first begin feeling a little unsure about yourself when acting this part. But remember, you are a professionally published writer now, and you can get all the practice you can get acting this part out to get that great contract you are searching for. You will be very surprised as to where this may lead you, in pursuit of your writing career as a living. You never – ever know what tomorrow may bring you or take you. Give it a try and remember, “nothing ventured – nothing gained.” Honestly, it is quite simple. Also, try and remember all we talked about up until now.

I especially love this next bit of suggestion, (a bit of a spin-off of the last suggestion) but I will confess, that it isn’t for everyone. Not all of us writers can handle this with success. In other words, there are some drawbacks to initiating this procedure and incorporating it into your daily routine. Want to know more about this? Okay then, pay close attention, because you cannot afford to mess-up this career advice. 

So, here we go. I am going to give you the next bit of great advice. Get ready, set, here we go: "You need to fake it until you make it.” Have you ever heard of this adage before? If so, you know what I am suggesting you do. Why not? Have fun at this. The more fun you have trying to reach your goals, the more creative you will become. And the more creative you become, the more positive results you will receive. 

Want to hear a little story about this from a well-known adventure novelist, who by the way just passed away a little while ago at age 88. The author's name is Clive Cussler. Let me further explain more about my hero:

Clive Cussler, was the author of dozens of action novels and sponsor of countless shipwreck-hunting expeditions, who passed away at his home in Arizona. At the time of his passing his net worth was over $100 million. So, Clive knew how to make money. 

Cussler, 88, came to fame with the publication of the thriller "Raise the Titanic!" in 1976. It was the third book in his now-famous Dirk Pitt series, but the first to gain widespread public attention, and it soared onto the bestseller lists. The book becomes a movie in 1980, and Dirk Pitt went on to a long, adventurous career, appearing in 22 more novels between 1978 and 2018.

Overall, Cussler published 84 volumes of fiction, nonfiction and children's fiction throughout his life, selling about 100 million copies. The numbers will keep going up after his passing: His 85th book, "Journey of the Pharaohs," is due for release next month, and his publisher told the New York Times that there are still more manuscripts in the pipeline. 

Cussler was also an avid diver, and in 1979, he used the proceeds from his book sales to finance a subsea-search nonprofit, the National Underwater and Marine Agency - a real outfit named after a fictional agency in his Dirk Pitt series. NUMA has located 60 wreck sites to date, and Cussler participated in many of its voyages and dives - as documented in a nonfiction book, "The Sea Hunters." 

Among its other famous finds, NUMA conducted or contributed to the discovery of the Confederate ironclad Manassas; the steamer Lexington; the Cunard Line steamship Carpathia (the ship that rescued Titanic's survivors); and the Confederate sub-H.L. Hunley, the first combat submarine to sink a warship. 

He moved to Denver to work with a larger agency, but eventually got his manuscripts to an agent, Peter Lampack, "by pretending to be another agent on the verge of retirement," looking to offload a promising writer. Lampack immediately sold The Mediterranean Caper, which featured Pitt and was published in 1973 (it has since been retitled Mayday). A second Pitt novel, Iceberg (1975), followed, and Cussler gave up his job to write full-time. Pacific Vortex was finally published in 1983 after Cussler became a worldwide phenomenon.

So, there you have it. Cussler faked, pretended, whichever word you wish to use, nevertheless he ended up making-up his own literary agent, during the time he was working full-time as an advertisement copyrighter. He made one of his friends from the advertising agency professionally make a letterhead with a professional logo and then sent the letter to a reputable Literary Agent, who later confessed to Clive Cussler that he thought the name was of a chap he met at a bar when he was drunk. This was admitted to Clive before he passed away when Clive finally told his agent the story. Crazy I know. However, there are countless stories of an individual artist who has professed to impose similar acts to get noticed. It helps if you are also good at your craft, but so are lots of people.

So, what you need to do, is perhaps come up with some kind of action plan, may only implement this plan-of-action when you have exhausted all of your other resources. If you keep doing what you have always done without making changes for the positive, then you must change your approach until something does work. Period. So, get to work, and we will talk more about how to make more money as a freelancer in your profession of writing.