This is a guest post by Thuy Yau. It addresses something I think is the most important factor hindering a lot of writers. If you find it difficult to get started as a writer but don’t know what’s hindering you, read this article!
Words cannot describe the sense of accomplishment I feel at being a guest poster here.
For the past fortnight, I have been in awe of Bamidele Onibalusi. To me, he is the epitome of success. The sort of freelance writer that you admire from afar, but feel too intimidated to talk to.
That’s how I had felt. Until now.
It all began with one article. An article about people who referred to themselves as “aspiring writers”. The writer questioned the term, stating bluntly that you’re either a writer or you’re not: it simply did not matter whether or not you were earning any money.
But I had been calling myself an “aspiring writer” up until then, thinking it was a more accurate representation of what I was. I wasn’t a professional yet, so how could I call myself a “real writer”?
But what was an “aspiring writer” exactly? Going by the literal definition, it would’ve been someone who wasn’t writing yet. But was intending to write – someday.
But wait a minute, I was writing at the time! So how could I have been an “aspiring writer”?
I Am a Writer!
And then it hit me. I was a writer! I wasn’t getting paid, I wasn’t selling books, I wasn’t even getting more than 50 visitors a day. But I was writing. I was writing to help others. I was writing because I wanted to touch lives. That’s when my attitude towards writing changed.
I started calling myself a “writer”, I developed the self-confidence that every writer needs to be successful. I didn’t care anymore that hardly anyone read my blog; I believed in my talents and knew that someday people would believe in them too.
That is when I came across this article by Krissy Brady, a freelance writer in Canada. It illuminated the many fears of writers; one being their fear of failure.
And I thought to myself:
“Why couldn’t I be a success story?”
“Why did I fear people like Krissy, just because they were more successful?”
That is when my confidence started to increase, as well as my writing opportunities. I was interviewed by a German journalist for her book, had a post featured on a parenting website and in their newsletter, and someone offered to pay me for advertising space.
I Took the Plunge!
Feeling less intimidated and more confident, I decided to do something crazy. I tweeted Krissy Brady one of my blog posts. I didn’t think she’d care, I didn’t think she’d even respond to me. But lo and behold, she retweeted my post to her followers. She even told me that it was a great post. I felt absolutely elated. I was so proud of what I’d accomplished.
That same post was also retweeted by the Sydney Writers’ Centre:
The more I communicated with Krissy, the more confidence I had in myself. I didn’t let her writing experience get to me. I saw her as someone reaching for the same goals. She wrote to help others; she wrote because it was her passion. She may have been more successful in the professional sense; but in terms of who she was, she wasn’t any different to me.
How I Landed My First Ever Guest Post… The One I’m Writing Right Now…
I then noticed that Krissy was following Bamidele Onibalusi on Twitter. As I valued her opinion, I was curious to see who he was. As it turned out, he was another person living their passion and writing to help others. But because he was well-known in the online community, I felt nervous at the prospect of contacting him.
But I told myself his position didn’t matter. I couldn’t let the fact that he was powerful, successful and wealthy stop me from achieving the same.
Using the self-confidence I recently gained, I had a conversation with him via Twitter. I even followed it up with a shameless plug about my website.
Days passed and I hadn’t heard anything else. I had given up on my networking going anywhere.
Then it happened. Bamidele retweeted one of my blog posts. He said it was a great post, and even told me that he agreed with ALL of what I’d written.
My jaw practically dropped to the ground. Knowing that two successful freelance writers agreed with MY opinion made me realize that I definitely had what it takes to be a professional writer.
Bamidele ended up retweeting another post of mine, then Facebook liking a few more. Feeling confident that he had enjoyed reading my work, I expressed interest in writing my FIRST ever guest post – the one I’m writing right now.
So why am I sharing my story?
Self-confidence is everything
Because I agree with Bamidele’s statement that self-confidence is the most powerful weapon that a writer can have.
I believe a person’s self-confidence can be severely affected when they are intimidated by those who are more powerful, successful and wealthy.
But everyone has to start at the bottom.
Don’t be intimidated by those “above” you
There will always be people more powerful, successful or wealthy; some of them may have been doing this for longer than you have. But in order to be a successful writer, you must look beyond their higher position. You must seize the opportunities given to you.
When you take writers off their pedestals, you are more likely to feel confident enough to contact them, show them your best work, or ask about opportunities you originally thought were out of your depth.
By being surrounded by people “better” than you, you are actually helping yourself to become a better writer. Through networking, you can share in their knowledge, wisdom and experience.
There is no reason to feel intimidated by people “above” you…. use that self-confidence and believe that you CAN be a successful writer too.
About the author: Thuy Yau is a writer, who likes to help others lead happy and fulfilling lives. She blogs about personal development at Inside a Mother’s Mind and is writing her first novel. Everything she writes is to inspire, encourage and motivate others.