Having a really good list of excuses and having a fat bank account and all that it buys never go together.
There are all sorts of excuses not to write, not to write a set number of words every single day, not to get good at writing. There are even more excuses not to make yourself into a freelancer attractive to clients, not to build your own promotional platform, not to promote and market yourself, not to get good at self-promotion, selling, negotiating, deal-making, client control and management.
The cash value of all those excuses is $0.00, yet people invest a lot of creative thought in assembling them.
And since most people are very comfortable with their excuses and very uncomfortable with certain requirements for creating a successful Writer’s Life, they stay put where they are. Year after year.
Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit explained that he disliked ‘adventures’ because they so often made one late for dinner. I’m not sorry to be bearer of bad news: creating a successful freelance business is going to require being ‘late for dinner’ a lot. Meaning: doing things you do not necessarily like. Developing interest in and getting good at things that you may not initially be interested in and may not be any good at. Many people prefer a good list of excuses others will easily sympathize with and that they can sell themselves on to actual achievement.
For about four of the nine years I was one of three ever-present speakers on the #1 seminar tour in America, visiting audiences of 10,000 to 35,000 in 25 to 27 cities a year, one of our guest speakers at many events was the actor, Christopher Reeve – best remembered for his role as Superman. Crippled, paralyzed from waist down at young age in a polo accident.
For him to do 40 minutes on stage required about 5 hours of painful, humiliating, difficult and even dangerous travel, beginning with the arduous project of just getting him out of bed and into his special wheel chair equipped with breathing apparatus, moved to the stadium, finally to stage. He could speak about 25 words then pause for machine to keep him alive then speak 25 words then pause for machine to do its work, repeat, repeat.
If ever anybody had ample excuses everyone would easily sympathize with, to do nothing, he owned them. He chose not to use them. I am a very determined guy, but I doubt I’d have such resolve. Fortunately, what has stood between me and my goals every time, throughout my life, has not been so formidable. Odds are, the obstacles between you and your goals are nowhere near as daunting either. Comparatively, most people are discouraged and de-railed by a lot less.
Owning a Writer’s Life, able to work where and when and with whom you want, on work that interests you, away from cubicles and office politics, free of commutes, with the income you choose is a rare, incredibly elite, privileged way of life, a great accomplishment. It is not supposed to be easily obtained. It brooks no excuses. None.
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