Welcome to the blog today April!!
Writing seems easy until you sit down behind a computer—or pull out your notepad—and start working on your next masterpiece. For some, writing comes rather easily and there’s no doubt in their minds they are the best. For others, they make it through the first couple of pages then they read over and they wonder if they’ll ever be good enough to publish. How do you know if you’re good enough?
The answer: You don’t, and you won’t know until you take the risk and go for it. There are some individuals who claimed they always knew what they wanted to do for a living and had no doubts. For years, those individuals had me fooled into believing I was completely lost and doomed to be a failure because I wasn’t sure if I could succeed. For the longest time, I thought most of the successful people in the world were 100% sure about what they wanted to do and their skills.
Then, I started taking risks. The first writing risk I took was showing someone a poem I wrote about September 11th. They asked the English teacher if I could read it out loud for the class and I was so nervous, but the teacher and the class seemed to like it. My friends wanted to push it further: they wanted it published in the school paper, they wanted it hung up on a wall, and they even tried to convince the principal to let me read it over the intercom. She said no, but I still remember the mixed feelings of uncertainty about my talents as a writer and pride because people seemed to enjoy it.
My courage grew and in college I went from becoming a poetry writer who dreamed of becoming more to:
- My first newspaper job as a part-time staff writer and two feature columns.
- Wrote two plays which were performed on stage in front of regular theater patrons (as well as students and staff).
- Interviewing Frank X. Walker, the first poet I ever met in high school and we reunited in college.
I thought I was on the road to success, until the economy collapsed. I lost a lot: an internship at C-SPAN, a first-tier graduate school degree, the chance to live in D.C., etc. But, the biggest thing I lost was my confidence. How was I going to become a famous author and media personality in this economy?
A few months after working at a mediocre marketing job, I was laid off due to company funds. That’s when I decided to jump back into the world of writing. I found a website called eHow, which used to be its own freelance writing site before Demand Media bought it, and I started writing. At first, I said to myself, “Am I making a big mistake?” But, I kept writing and I ended up publishing articles which eventually earned me $200 a month in residual income. I earned a second gig at Examiner.com as their Youth Travel Examiner and I ended up making connections in the hostel industry, wrote an interview which was later used for the Overseas Vote Foundation, and I was even offered a free hotel stay at a large chain hotel in exchange for a review (unfortunately, I was too busy to take the offer).
While I was making connections, I was still far from my dreams. I wanted to work in the media. I wanted to put my Master’s degree marketing skills to good use. And, I wanted to write and actually make good money.
That’s when I applied for the closest thing to my dream job: part-time radio announcer. My radio experience was limited to one radio class in England and a B.A. in Communication. Yet, I was more qualified than anyone else, and I lived in the region, so they said you’re hired. Was I good at it? Not really, but I took a risk and eventually—with the help of a radio talent coach—I ended up becoming a full-time radio announcer, operations manager, and…copywriter for radio commercials.
I asked my radio coach how he knew he was ready to become a radio announcer or program director. His reply, “No one told me I was ready. I just applied for the jobs and they gave them to me.”
This was an interesting concept to me, so I started asking my other successful friends about their successes. One friend, a business owner, told me he didn’t know he wanted to own a business. He knew he wanted to get involved in music, so he started as a composer for movies and realized he needed to become a business in order to continue his career as a film music composer. Now, he owns a successful business, has composers working for him, and their music can be heard in movies, commercials, and video games.
Another friend of mine, an actor, said he originally wanted to be a dancer. However, when a teacher told him he would be good at acting, he decided to give it a try. He wasn’t sure at first, but he stuck with it and has acted in films and television.
I look back on the writings and other things I’ve done in the past and realized that some risks must be taken if you want to succeed. You have to put yourself out there if you want to succeed, especially in writing. Sometimes you’ll succeed and sometimes you’ll fail, but if you go out there and take the risk, then you’ll beat the guy or girl who is staring at the computer screen and wondering when they’ll know they’re good enough.
As for me, I’m not a famous author, but I am writing tons of radio commercials for my station, working as a radio announcer for a great station, doing voice over work, helping a few friends with their marketing plans for their businesses, and I occasionally find some spare time to hang out on Facebook.
Thanks so much April!! I'm the one who is afraid of taking any risks. Right now, I'm taking a HUGE one by deciding to publish my first book!! It's been a long time in coming, and I'm hoping I'm able to reach the goal I've set for myself in finishing next year sometime. Crossing my fingers I'll be editing it by next summer!!