I watched a great old movie with my two sons recently — Angels in the Outfield (not that old, the 1994 version).
What’s a kiddie baseball movie have to do with being a successful freelance writer?
In case you haven’t seen it, the story concerns a boy in foster care who’s a California Angels baseball fan. The boy prays for the team to start winning, and soon he starts to see angels on the ballfield, helping the team’s players. Only he can sense their presence, but they turn the team around and the Angels start winning.
In the pennant game, though, the angels won’t interfere. The pitcher is an old-timer recently reinvigorated by the angels’ presence, but he starts to falter in the final inning. Without the angels, he can’t do it.
Suddenly the boy realizes how to help. He stands up and flaps his arms, the pre-arranged signal that he sees angels on the field. Believing he has divine assistance, the pitcher reaches inside and becomes more than who he was a moment before. He is lifted up by his faith.
Then he throws that final strike.
No angels were really helping. Only his belief that he could do it made it happen.
In fact, the pitcher is half-dead of lung cancer and has six months to live, the angel reveals. What he did — pitching a winning game with an arm that blew out long ago — was impossible.
But he went out and did it anyway, because he believed he could.
This movie reminded me that there is one precious ingredient freelance writers need to be successful:
You have to believe you can do it.
If you do not have that faith, down deep in your heart — that writing is your gift to this world and you can use it to earn a living — none of the tips and advice I offer on this blog will help you.
Even though there are a million other wannabe writers out there competing for gigs, you must know you have something special. And you will find your place in the vast freelance-writing market. You know there’s a spot for you in there, somewhere.
Faith makes you unstoppable.
So — believe you can find gigs.
Believe you can write those articles well enough to get the next gig.
Believe you can pay your bills with your writing.
The freelance writing life is just too full of rejection and discouragement and it’s too easy to quit unless you know this is for you.
Then, you will let no obstacle stand in your way. Fifty queries that go unanswered will not turn you back.
Would you believe a college dropout could write for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and Fortune 500 companies?
I believe I have unlimited potential as a writer, and it happened to me.
Writers often ask me, “Am I qualified to do technical writing? To write for a major national magazine? To write textbook supplements? To write for businesses?”
My answer is: “Do you feel you can?”
Then, yes. Go out and do it. Shine that light.
Do you believe you can be a successful freelance writer? Leave your statement of faith in the comments.