Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Note: In the right margin under CODE "A- FREELANCE WRITING" are free videos and newspaper/journal articles on this topic.

Hello Mr. Morton- Well, my kids fledged the nest and we're paying for their college educations. Expensive! My husband is working full time, but we still could some extra cash. I have much time on my hands and desire to write articles for newspapers and magazines, maybe even publish romance novels some day. I fear failure and procrastinate too much, so I need to develop good writing habits. Any tips on learning how to make it in this highly competitive field?- Writer Wannabe
(Photo- Judy Ann Davis of Clearfield, Pa. announces the release of her first novel, “Red Fox Woman,” with Black Rose Writing. The novel is classified as a mystery, western and historical romance)

Dear Writer Wannabe- Having a full-time, nice paying job elsewhere helps. I won't offer you a "cook book" approach or specific list of ingredients that may help your writing career. But, in general, you must cultivate perseverance and dependable writing habits. Begin by deciding what kind of writing you want to do, then detail all the good habits necessary to transform your writing dreams into reality in the type of genre you choose.

This soul-searching will put your writing integrity and commitment on the line, for your personal list of good writing habits will keep staring you in the face. These heretofore under-utilized behaviors will gradually seep into the daily writing routine you must acquire. Hopefully, all your rationalizations that nurture bad writing habits (fear of failure, avoidance, procrastination, denial, etc.) will eventually be undermined.

There are no short cuts to obtaining a long string of writing successes. I know a writer who had 3 novels published, only to have his next 4 proposals and 54 article submissions to national magazines rejected!

Writer John Steinbeck once commented, "Writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business." It's a tough business and you must be able to brush off rejections... and keep writing.

To integrate good writing habits into a daily routine, proceed in "baby steps"- start short, easily reachable goals at first and focus on replacing one bad habit at a time. Years ago, I wrote articles and sent them to newspapers free-of-charge, just to accumulate some "tear sheets", which I sent to editors to eventually help sell my writings. If you candidly imagine the writer you'd like to become and list the good habits needed to get there, you'll no longer conceal (from yourself) how your current bad habits are imprisoning your writing career.

In today's down economy, home businesses are growing popular. Writing is one, for most newspapers and magazines accept email submissions.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S., has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at BGSU. Questions about family, parenting, personal or educational issues? Contact him at the secure Bpath Mail Form . To visit his national FAMILY JOURNAL column, click HERE.