Capitalize on Your Weirdness
Steve Roller again, with your final edition of The Writer's Life this week.
About the subject line of today's issue … don't take offense at "Capitalize on Your Weirdness." From one writer to another, I consider us all one big, happy, slightly off-kilter family. I mean it in a loving way, really.
We haven't met, but the fact that you're pursuing the writer's life tells me that you're a bit outside the norm.
You want more from life than just a steady job and paycheck. You want the opportunity for creative expression. You want to be able to work from anywhere, on a schedule that only you determine. You want to be highly compensated for your talents.
A lot of people want those things, but you're actually doing something about it.
And if you're anything like me, not only do you march to the beat of a different drummer, but you also don't mind that other people think you're a little off (in fact, you might even enjoy it!).
I mean, people thought I was weird because I didn't go to a single drinking party in high school. Until they realized that I had spent my time studying and working to get scholarships to college.
They thought it was weird that I worked 80 hours a week during summer breaks from school. Until they found out that I had traveled to 19 countries before I graduated.
My friends and neighbors think I'm weird now for driving a rusted-out 1997 minivan. Until they realize the money I'm saving has taken my kids to five continents so far. (Of course, they still think leaving Wisconsin in the summer to spend a month in Ecuador is a little strange.)
How about you? What's your story? My guess is that if we had a deep conversation over a late-night bottle of wine, all kinds of good stuff would come out!
And you know what? That rocks! Because boring people make boring writers.
If your life has been less than perfect up to this point … if your career path has been an up-and-down ride like mine … if you've suffered setbacks and loss, but also incredible joy and happiness … if you believe that the best of life is yet to come … I predict that you will be a great writer.
We've been talking all week about reinventing yourself and living a life of no regrets.
Let me leave you with this.
If you truly want to make the writer's life work for you …
- Accept that you are going to be a little different. Even though you're surrounded by hundreds of like-minded souls here at AWAI, becoming a freelance writer is a bit outside the norm.
- Take inventory of what makes you unique (or, as I like to say, "weird").
- Claim it. Own it. Revel in your weirdness! Incorporate it into your story on your website and social media profiles.
- Use it to your advantage when determining a niche. If your hobby is running 50k races, focus on the ultra-fitness niche. If you're a self-help junkie with bookshelves full of Deepak Chopra and Wane Dyer programs, that might be a logical area for you. If you have dreams of leading Amazon jungle tours, give travel writing a shot.
And one last thing. Whatever direction of the writer's life you decide to pursue …
Immerse yourself in your identity! Whether it's an identity you've been cultivating all along or one that you're going to reinvent yourself into, throw yourself into it headlong!
Ten years down the road, you'll be able to look back and say, "No regrets."
Leave me a quick note by posting a comment below and let me know if you've ever had someone perceive you as weird (I'm hoping I'm not the only one). And tell me if you plan to parlay that into your writing.
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