Don’t Build Your Life Around Writing

Live because you love to write.

I used to think it was normal to turn down an invite from a friend “because I had to write.”

Did I think it made me sound cooler than I actually was? Who knows. But it happened often enough that a lot of high school friends lost interest in the probability of ever hanging out with me. Writing was pretty much all I ever did, because I thought that’s what would get me places in life, I guess.

I’ve gained plenty from writing large quantities of words over the past 12 years or so. But I’ve also missed out on a lot. Somewhere along the line, someone told me I wasn’t a real writer if I didn’t spend all my nights and weekends typing away at my computer. Desperate to be whatever a “real writer” was, I barely went to football games or dances or parties. I just wrote.

Not that 20-something Meg really cares how many parties she attended in high school (1). But the point is, whoever convinced me writers were only allowed to write — and doing anything else made you something less — lied. Only writing, and not doing anything else, hurts much more than it helps. It’s not just about missing out on life. It’s about not exploring other outlets, or testing any other interests, or connecting with people who “get” you.

Being a writer isn’t about how much time you spend writing every day or week or month. It’s about how you balance your writing time with other things. Family. Friends. Significant others. Hobbies that don’t involve jamming your fingers down on buttons and watching a screen to evaluate the end result.

I think writers who do nothing else are much worse off than writers who feed a number of passions and interests. Who explore the world and create memories and fall in love — and for reasons that don’t always have to involve going home and making a story out of everything that happens to you.

If writing is important to you, then of course you should bump it toward the top of your priority list. But don’t make it your first, your only priority. You’re never going to reach your full potential if all you do is write. You need to experience the world. If for no other reason than to fend off boredom, you need to do other things outside the writing life. The more you enrich your life with a variety of People and Places and Things, the more you’ll have to bring to the page when you do enter your designated writing time.

Writing is fun. It’s fulfilling and nice and great. But in your quest to write as much as you can about the world, don’t forget to also live in it, and experience it, and cherish it. Live because you love to write; don’t write because you want to live. Find balance, and make the most of every moment, for as long as you can.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Why I Don’t Go Back and Correct All the Typos On This Blog


So I was just looking through an old blog post. I do this from time to time, mostly to remind myself what I have and haven’t written about before (it’s easy to forget, because there are literally like a thousand posts because I’m a crazy person).

Anyway, as I skimmed, I found something.

A typo.


I didn’t respond how a normal, sane person would, of course.

Any other person would just … you know … fix it.

Nah. I just left it there. And came here to tell you why.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time I’ve caught a published mistake on a thing I wrote. Now if this were someone else’s (literal) domain, I’d fix it in half a second. But it’s not anybody else’s. It’s mine. Instead of correcting that typo that is probably going to continue bothering me for the next 24 hours, I’m going to use it as … don’t hate me for this … a teachable moment.

If I hadn’t started sort-of this blog when I was 16, I’m not sure I’d be where I am right now, writing-wise, I mean. The reason I recommend blogging to so many new aspiring writers is that blogging taught me, very early on, the most important lesson about writing professionally.

Sometimes, you just gosh darn SCREW UP.


We spend so. Much. Time. Trying. To make. Everything. Good.

And believe me — BELIEVE ME — I understand why, most of the time, you want your work to be spotless. Because it impresses people. Because you’re trying to show the world you know what you’re doing. I’m all for that. And everywhere but here, I do the same thing. My articles go through multiple layers of editing before they’re published (and thank God, because I type fast and I am a terrible self-editor).

But here, things are different.

The more this blog grows (hi new people! I just met you and I love you!), the more I feel a responsibility to be as real and down-to-earth as I can. See, I know what it’s like to read a published book by a renowned author and think, “I can never write like this. It’s so good. How could I ever even dream of writing something like this?”

The thing is, that book you’re reading is not the book that author wrote. At least, not the first draft. You can bet their first draft was, honestly, pretty terrible. I wish more writers would share their first drafts, typos and all. Because when I was 16, and I wanted to be a writer, I tried to be as good as their finished products. And I could never be. And that made me sad.

I leave typos as they are because I want any aspiring writer who stumbles into this mess that is my blog to see that though I write and publish many things, my writing is never perfect. I am a human being whose fingers sometimes hit the wrong keys, who sometimes tries making a list of 26 things and repeats the same item twice, who just tries her best because her best is always enough.

To many, this will make me sound extremely unprofessional. Leaving typographical errors up for the whole world to see. Well, fine. If that’s how they look at it, I can’t change their minds.

It’s not that I don’t want my blog to look clean. I am a perfectionist, after all, and every typo I find makes me a little nauseous, to be honest.

It’s just that I want people to know that I’m not faking it. Any of it. I’m not trying to be the perfect example of what a writer is supposed to be. Within reason, I’m leaving my dumb mistakes out in the open for everyone to cringe at, because THIS IS WHAT WRITING IS. Trying to do something well, and failing, and learning, and doing better next time.

So there. That’s it. I’m not perfect. Guess what? Neither are you. And that’s OK. That doesn’t make you any less of a writer. It does also reassure your readers that you’re not a robot. Probably.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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I’m a Perfectionist. Here’s How That Affects My Writing

Writing is not always easy for me.

My name is Meg. I am a perfectionist.

As a writer and editor, I wish I could say this is all good all the time. I rarely submit drafts with grammatical errors, I sweep through others’ work tweaking the tiniest flaws. I’m a little too organized, I never forget dates, I rarely miss deadlines.

But I use rarely purposefully here. Because as great as it often is to be able to achieve all these things, it takes me longer than it should to do them. I get frustrated when I feel like I’m falling behind. I get even more frustrated when I’m waiting on other people to be able to check off tasks. I don’t always take negative feedback well (internally). In striving to be better than I’ve ever been, sometimes, I just fall flat, because trying to be perfect — trying to do the impossible — is exhausting.

I have not finished writing a novel since 2015. I cannot finish, because I do not want to “finish”an imperfect book. It scares me. Well, I suppose I will finish eventually, but barely.

At some point, something will happen, and I will miss publishing a post and ruin my over two-year streak. Yeah, that also terrifies me, even though logically I know it does not matter.

I don’t even notice anymore how often I hit backspace when I’m typing. When I’m collaborating with a team member and they’re watching me type, I get self-conscious about even that.

Sometimes, I am a mess. But I’m learning to live with that.

But the more I do what I do, the more I’m reminded there is no such thing as a perfect draft. Mistakes mean we’re human. No one really cares if you look or sound dumb, nothing is fully controllable 100 percent of the time, and sometimes, technology just shuts down and dies.

Such is life. I am a learner. If I struggle, it is because I’m learning. If we struggle, it is because we’re growing.

If you relate to any of this, know that it’s not going to go away. It’s always going to be something you struggle with, even if only from time to time or with certain things. But I don’t tell you this to discourage you. I tell you this so you’ll stop letting it control you.

First, the more you practice just letting certain things go, the easier it is to see that one mistake does not equate the apocalypse. Second, don’t let it be a barrier. Barriers force you to stop. Treat this like a climbing wall you have to scale every time you come to it. It’s harder, it takes more time, but it’s worth it. Because on the other side, you have something you can be proud of. You can hand your work off to someone knowing that if it isn’t flawless, they’ll help you get it as close to perfect as it needs to be.

There are pros and cons to the way my and your brain works. Being detail-oriented and organized is one of the greatest assets a writer/editor can have, especially in your early days as a professional. I know it’s easy to only focus on the bad, the negative, the inconvenient. But that’s because treating your flaws as weaknesses is just part of your personality. It takes a lot to overcome the fear of admitting your weak points. But try to see this as something good.

Trying to be perfect all the time, especially when you’re working, is exhausting. Don’t let it wear you down or wear you out. You’re only at your best when you’re not trying to be THE best — at least not all the time. Relax. Let the draft go. Write first, edit later. Take only as much time as you want to, and nothing more. And most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy what you do. In my experience, enthusiasm makes everything easier — even when things are harder than they should be.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Can One Word Motivate You to Do All The Things?

What’s your one-word theme?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about motivation. It seems all the personal development experts have their baseline “just do it” mindset with the apps and generalized strategies to back them up. I, too, have found myself defaulting to the simplest and most unhelpful piece of writing advice anyone has ever given: just write, no matter what.

Because even though I know it’s easier said than done, I forget how different we all are. I personally do not struggle with motivation, at least not in the same way many of you might. But it’s not helpful for me to tell you I don’t have a problem without trying to use my experiences to help you solve yours. After all, I’m not here to tell you about me. I’m here to motivate you to be better.

But in order to do that, I want to write to you about themes — mainly, the theme I’ve set for my life for the last half of this year.

My theme, for the last half of 2017, is Earn. Not just earn paychecks (though that’s important), but also credibility and respect, professional partnerships and Fitbit badges, Starbucks reward stars and Saturday nights spent watching Netflix. Earn strings together everything I want to do. I want to work hard, but I also want to play hard. I want to write more, read more, watch more, be more.

When I’m tired or frustrated or distracted, when I don’t want to work, when I just want to dive so deep into the BuzzFeed vortex that I forget my name and where I came from, I’ve started asking myself one question: “If you don’t do this now, what will you earn?”

The answer, of course, is nothing. Well, other than a lot of guilt and anxiety, which no one actually wants to earn, because that’s not fun. I would much rather kick and scream my way through an undesirable thing, document it in an invoice (for later earning), and reward myself with tea or a Marvel movie (earning the fun) for getting my work done.

Some days, that might be the only motivation I have. But it’s so much more than just knowing I’m going to get a paycheck at some point in the near future. It’s also knowing I can do something fun, and guilt-free; knowing that if I do this one thing, I’ll have earned continued respect from my client for delivering something on time like I always do.

Your theme for the week, the month, the rest of the year, could be anything. You could be really bad at remembering not to work 24/7, and establish a theme of Rest. You could have a long-term goal you’re struggling to break up into pieces. Your theme for this one project could be Progress.

I think words are powerful. I think if we assign them to specific areas of our lives, they can remind and motivate us to do more of what we want to do, and less of what we don’t. Because everyone is motivated by something different, a theme can signify a group of things you want to focus on in your life — and in a way link you to others who share similar ambitions.

Give this a try this week, or next month, or when you start your next project. Or assign different themes to different parts of your life. At work, your theme could be Level Up. At family dinner, your theme could be Conversation. In your relationship, your theme might be Listen, or Trust, or Compromise. Maybe it won’t change anything, or motivate you to work toward a common goal. But maybe it will.

Staying motivated to write is not easy for everyone. I’m trying to be more compassionate about this. And I hope this theme (ha!) can start a constructive conversation. What motivates you? What do you do when you don’t feel motivated to put your ideas into words? If you could assign a theme for your life for the rest of the year, what would it be — and what would you hope it could help you accomplish?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Don’t Forget to Celebrate Your Small Successes

A victory’s a victory, no matter how small.

There are a lot of reasons many aspiring writers never build success full-time careers. Life gets in the way. They can’t move past a failed project. One day they just decide they’d rather have a stable nine-to-five that pays the bills instead of trying to juggle 10 clients at once with no benefits.

There are also mental and physical barriers to writing full-time in the long-term. Burnout happens. Frustration and exhaustion drive people to quit — even if they love what they do.

All these things are sort of normal among creatives … but maybe they shouldn’t be.

Maybe the problem isn’t that we’re financially flustered or it’s too hard to balance family and the writing life or we’re not happy with the way writers are treated.

Maybe we’re not treating our work, our writing, with the right attitude.

I write for a media company. Because of the way my team and the business is structured, I have to meet certain production quotas (though they’re flexible, depending). It would be very easy for me to crank out one article after the other, waiting for something to hit big … but since the majority of articles never do, I’d be waiting a long time to celebrate a well-received article if I waited for a big hit.

When I look back on my week and notice something has done well, I count that as a success. These are very small things — millions of people aren’t reading. But we get too caught up in waiting for that to happen. That’s why burnout happens. Because we don’t take even a moment to say, “Wow. I did a good job with that thing. I am proud of that. I want to do more.”

I’m learning to celebrate every little victory. Maybe not publicly, but I’ll celebrate it. Because if you sit around and wait until something “big” happens, if you don’t convince yourself every small step forward matters … you’re going to be miserable! And you deserve better than that.

So rejoice! Even if you don’t think you deserve it (because you’re wrong). Be proud of and satisfied with the things that work, the payoffs, the rewards, even if they seem small to you. Wrote every day, five days in a row? Gold stars. Ten people read your blog post? Fireworks. Finally started working on that idea you kept putting off starting, even though the writing isn’t your best? Parades, marching bands, your own fight song.

It’s not about thinking you don’t have to work any harder. It’s about looking back at the work you’ve done, taking a moment to reward that success, and then using your small accomplishments to fuel more hard work. Don’t move on from something great until you’ve acknowledged your role in it. You did that thing. You. How cool is that?

So go ahead. Do a happy dance. Eat some chocolate cake. Take the night off. As long as you get up tomorrow morning and keep doing what you’ve been doing, the successes that follow will be bigger. And following this pattern, before you know it, you’ll need to figure out how to celebrate all your dreams (finally) coming true.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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18 Ways to Challenge Yourself This Month

Go ahead — give them a try.

The more you write, the more you fall into a rhythm. This beat becomes easy to follow — so easy that you stop growing.

After awhile, writing gets comfortable. Too comfortable. We settle into habits, not all of them good. We let yourselves get repetitive. We depend so much on routine that we forget what it’s like to wander outside our comfort zone.

It’s time to break out of your rut. Try one (or all!) of these writing exercises to challenge yourself to do things differently. You might even begin to break a habit or learn a new skill in the process.

1. Write the shortest thing you’ve ever written.

2. Write the longest thing you’ve ever written.

3. Explore a genre you’ve never touched before.

4. Create a character that’s the exact opposite of yourself.

5. Take something you’ve written previously and trim it down to half its original word count.

6. Do the same thing, except double it.

7. Share something you’ve written with a friend or family member who’s never read your work (or hasn’t in a long time).

8. Look up writing meet-up groups in your area. Go check one out!

9. Write a personal essay about your past. Go deep. You don’t have to share it — just write it.

10. Write a letter to someone you love. Again, you don’t have to send it.

11. Then write a letter to someone (or something) you hate.

12. Write a story from your pet’s point of view.

13. Write about something you know nothing about.

14. Write about your fandom/obsession — but do so as if you can’t stand it.

15. Try to write 5,000 words in one day. (Already do? 1o,000.)

16. Write about your least favorite emotion.

17. Write a letter to your future self.

18. Go a day without writing anything. No emails, no texts, no notes to self. Then write about how terribly that probably went. :)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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The Real Reasons You’re Not Where You Want to Be (Yet)

You’re not lazy. You’re just impatient.

We all have aspirations — things we want to accomplish someday, that we plan on making a priority at some point or another. It can be frustrating, looking at your life and realizing you aren’t where you wanted to be yet. What happened? You had it all figured out — and then it all fell apart somehow.

Are you lazy? Not meant to be a writer after all? Absolutely not. You’re not lazy, and if writing is something you want to do, you’re meant to do it in some capacity. Here are a few real reasons why you might be, in your own eyes, falling behind schedule.

You’re not making, or meeting, smaller goals

I know goal setting as a concept isn’t everyone’s “thing.” But technically, we all have goals. If you want to be a writer someday, that’s technically a goal. It’s just a very big, very vague goal. Maybe the problem isn’t that you can’t stay on task or get done what you want to get done. Maybe it’s that you’re not setting the kinds of goals that could motivate you to make more progress.

Setting specific, achievable goals is essential. Of course, for many writers, it’s easier said than done. I am a self-motivator — I don’t need anyone else to tell me to do something or encourage me to continue, I just do it. Most people aren’t like that. You might need external accountability — someone or something to prompt you to do stuff gosh darn it. Apps, a special friend — whatever works. Set goals, keep working toward them — no more excuses!

You’re not challenging yourself enough

All good writers challenge themselves regularly. It’s great to repeat something a thousand times until you get really good at it, but at what point does your skill level plateau? If you don’t challenge yourself in some way, you aren’t going to reach your goals.

If you’ve been doing the same thing over and over again for awhile — even if you feel content with it — it might be time to switch things up a little. Do something that’s hard. That’s the best way to improve, and the better you become at something, the greater your chances of creating a successful career out of that thing.

You’re expecting too much too soon

Patience. It’s that word no one wants to hear but everyone needs to pay attention to. Because here’s the deal: whatever you’re trying to accomplish as a writer, it’s going to take a long time. Probably way longer than you’re expecting. It takes years to grow a blog, write a book, establish yourself as an authority somewhere. If you haven’t gotten to wherever “finish” is for you, it might be because you think you should be there already, even though you’re not even close.

Writing success is not a race. Your timeline is not definite. Just because so-and-so published a whatever when they were some age does not mean you’re failing if you haven’t beaten them. You will do your best writing only at your own pace. Granted, if you’re writing a sentence a day, your pace is a little sluggish. But in the grand scheme of things, when you accomplish something doesn’t matter. It’s how you do it, how well you do it, and how passionate you are about it that counts.

It’s not your time

I don’t believe anyone should wait for things to happen to them. Especially when it comes to their careers. You can’t sit around and wait for someone to notice you or compliment your work or offer you a job. Writers who “make it” put in a lot of time and effort even after they earn their success. If you aren’t actively pursuing what you want, it’s not going to happen.

But you also have to remember that everyone gets their chance. It just usually doesn’t come when you want it to. It always shows up when you least expect it. If you’re not where you want to be yet, it could honestly just be because it’s not your time, your turn, your moment … yet.

That’s not to say you can’t work, can’t hope, can’t try. It just means that hard work with very small payoffs does not last forever. There comes this moment when you realize you’ve pushed yourself to your limit,  you can’t imagine enduring one more day of this, you just don’t think it’s worth it anymore. And that’s often when the good stuff happens — right when you start to believe it never will.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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Is Freelance Writing Right For You?

Should you start freelancing? Here are a few things to ask yourself first.

I’m going to be completely honest with you here: I started freelance writing because I could not find another writing job.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I didn’t have nearly as much writing experience as I thought I did at the time I graduated college. If I would have known freelancing would launch my writing career, I would have started six months earlier. But I didn’t. Because it took me way too long to figure out if I was even ready to do something that seemed so “out there.”

Can you relate? Do you want to try your hand at freelance writing, but you’re just not sure if it’s the right move for you?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start freelancing.

How disciplined are you?

Can you start, make progress on, and finish projects without being micromanaged? Can you juggle multiple assignments at once, all with different sets of guidelines? Can you just do a lot of things in a timely manner from the chaos of your own home? Because that’s often what freelance writing is like. You’re given a task, and you’re expected to finish it on time. Mistakes are frowned upon (if not unacceptable), and not getting things done means you don’t get paid, don’t get offered more work, or both.

Simply put, not everyone is built to be able to sustain a career in freelancing. It takes a kind of discipline I believe is part learned, part ingrained in your personality. You can become a more disciplined writer — but if you don’t already have this in you, you really might struggle to keep up. That’s not to say you can never freelance. You just might not be ready yet.

How skilled/knowledgable are you?

Some aspiring writers can begin their careers with freelancing with minimal experience — but it depends on the niche and what’s being asked and expected of you. Freelancing is not for learning how to write better (at least not directly), or being taught anything other than how one specific client wants things done. While you do learn how to write better by writing a lot, it’s not your client’s job to educate you. It’s your job to know how to do the work, and learn on your own anything you don’t already know or understand.

Anyone who wants to freelance can make freelancing work for them. Just know that if you’re calling yourself any kind of expert, you’d better have the skills and background knowledge to back that up. I say this coming from the health and wellness niche, but it applies for every field and niche. Know your stuff before you dive in.

Can you consistently provide quality work without expecting feedback?

Another thing clients usually don’t do: give freelancers feedback on their work. It’s one thing to correct small mistakes if it’s part of the client’s SOPs and you need to do it correctly for future reference. But freelance writing works like this: receive assignment, submit assignment, get paid. Usually, there is very little back-and-forth between writer and editor. It’s not because an editor doesn’t want you to do better — it’s just not their job to help you do that.

This took some adjusting for me, since I came into freelancing from an internship program designed to teach student writers how to be better writers. It was strange sending off my work and never seeing or hearing about it ever again. But with this adjustment comes an important lesson about self-evaluation. If you want to do better, you’re responsible for looking over your work and figuring out how to make it better. That’s a really useful habit and skill to have.

How good are you at dealing with people?

Think freelance writers are lucky because they don’t have to be social in an office? You don’t get a pass because your office doubles as your bedroom (or is that just me?). I’ve worked with many clients who have been trained as managers, who are professional, and who are easy (sometimes fun!) to work with. Not every client you cross paths with will be such a blessing. I’ve also had clients who don’t understand the concept of how long research takes, don’t respect my time, yell at me for not giving them exactly what they wanted, assume I don’t know how to do my job because I’m a freelancer/20something/woman/”nutritionist”, and micromanage me so forcefully that I’ve given them their money back and quit after a week. (Side note: do not do this. It is the one and only time I ever have, but in most cases, the money you earn is wholly yours).

Part of freelancing is having really good people skills, at least digitally and professionally. This ranges from sending short, concise emails to building up the courage to ask for more money. Being easy and even enjoyable to work with can completely change your freelancing experience — even if you get the occasional client that is anything but. Sometimes, they honestly just don’t realize their behavior is ridiculous.

Do you enjoy writing — like, really enjoy it?

Because you’re going to be doing a LOT of it. And it’s not always going to seem worth it. I can only speak from my experiences, but on the days clients were rude and things weren’t getting done and I wanted to quit, it was my deeply-rooted love of writing (and the topics I was writing about) that kept me going.

But it goes beyond enjoying the writing process. You also have to have an interest in/passion for what you are writing about. I once wrote 40 articles about men’s fashion for a client. I hated every single minute of it, because I just don’t care about men’s fashion. Kudos to people who do, but if that had been my only freelancing experience, I would have given up within the first few months.

Are you in it just for the cash?

Be honest here. Because — especially when you’re starting out with little experience — new freelancers don’t make much. Even more experienced freelancers who’ve gradually raised their rates, in the grand scheme of things, don’t make much. Can it pay the bills? Sure, if you answered yes to all the above questions. But freelance writing alone will not make you rich. At least not early on. There are plenty of people who make six figures freelance writing. You’re not going to do that anytime soon after starting. Many people never will.

If you’re doing it for the money, just understand that it’s not going to start pouring in right away. My first month, I made $40. You can begin freelance writing with a goal to make as much as you want to. But if you’re expecting thousands of dollars right out of the gate, maybe take a step back and really think about why you want to do this.

As always, your “why” is everything. Why do you really want to freelance? There are no right or wrong answers here. But your response says a lot about whether or not you’re cut out for this. Again — just because you might not be prepared now doesn’t mean you never will be. I wrote and edited for a magazine for free for 4 years before I started freelancing. I desperately wanted to start in college, but knew I wasn’t ready. It’s OK if you don’t start tomorrow. Freelance writing is not a job robots will take away from you. If not right now — someday. You’ll get there. If you truly want to do it, you will find a way to make it happen.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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When Your Passion Is Enough

What if passion is the only thing that keeps you going?

For the past 25 months, I have published a post on this blog, consistently, every single day.

I don’t really like talking about this, because it makes me sound … proud. I mean, I am, don’t get me wrong. It’s a huge accomplishment, and something I fully intend to keep up with for as long as I am able. But having posted so consistently for what feels like so long (in a good way — I’m not bored or anything) actually speaks to an important point I’d like to address: motivation.

What keeps a writer motivated to write more than often seems possible?

I often struggle to understand why so many people have issues with this. It’s not because I’m not empathetic to those who have problems focusing, or mental health issues, or honestly just a lot going on in their lives that makes them put writing on the back burner so readily. I get all that, trust me.

But it makes me question how in tune people really are with their passions.

Yes, I used the word ‘passion.’ You know, that thing people try to say can’t make you money or whatever.

I’m not saying these people are lazy! No! Stuff happens! It’s OK!

But we really need to rethink how important passion is when it comes to our work.

Writing is weird, because it’s a creative profession. Same with sculpting or playing the violin or ballet. Hard work isn’t all that easy to see from the outside. So a lot of people wonder how a sculptor or a violinist or a ballerina gets so gosh darn good at what they do.

Passion isn’t the whole pie. But I’m pretty confident in guessing, for most people — regardless of your profession — would agree it’s a pretty big piece.

I don’t blog because I want a bunch of followers or because people are surprised when they discover I’m a crazy person armed with a wireless keyboard. I do this because I like it. If I hated doing this, if I dreaded waking up every single morning knowing I was going to have to write ANOTHER blog post today, I would have quit 24 months ago.

How do I keep it up? I like it. That’s literally the only thing that drives me most of the time. Comments are nice, knowing I’m helping people is wonderful. But I’m not here to make a living, I’m not here to pretend like I know All The Things just to attract an audience. I am here because I write. A lot. I like writing. A lot. When there is nothing else here to motivate me, that is all I need. That is enough.

Questions about motivation are, and have always been, extremely difficult for me to answer. How do I stay motivated to write? I literally just do it. And I do it because, at the end of the day, it makes me happy; it makes me feel accomplished; it reminds me that I have an actual purpose in this world. I understand that’s not enough for many aspiring writers. That’s why I repeat, as often as I can without beating you senselessly over the head with it, that you have to like what you’re writing about. If you’re writing about X for the sake of writing about X, you will never last.

Motivation to earn, to grow — it’s all numbers. That’s a huge motivation for me, too — I get it. But sometimes, I just want to crawl under my blankets and watch Netflix and not blog about what it’s like to be a writer. Some days, a blog post is barely all I can manage to do because my brain is throwing tantrums. That’s still enough for me. I’m not me when I’m not doing this. Whether my love for writing comes through in these posts or not, I hope you know that’s why I do what I do. Because it gives me life. Because I’ve been building this blog for 8 years, and I am so, so proud of what it has become. If I could write 10 blog posts every day — and if it wouldn’t drive you insane — I would.

In life, you have to search for the passions that make you want to Human when Humaning is hard. If nothing else in your life is stable or OK, at least that one thing always will be.

So instead of asking how to stay motivated, instead ask yourself this: what makes me want to get up and Do Things when I don’t want to? That is your passion. That is the thing you should go after with all your strength and resources. For me, that just happens to be writing. It might be writing for you, too — or something that involves the same skills, even if your job title is a little different. All that matters is that you find The Thing, and you do The Thing, and you enjoy The Thing, and you live your life always knowing The Thing will be there, driving you forward, making everything bearable that wouldn’t be without it.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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25 Reasons to Keep Writing, No Matter What


  1. No first draft is a good draft.
  2. There is no such thing as a perfect story.
  3. The only ways to write better are to write more, read more, and never quit.
  4. A day without writing is just a day without writing. A lifetime without it would just suck.
  5. If you don’t get this idea written down, you’re going to implode.
  6. It’s OK to be a little tired.
  7. Impostor Syndrome is real. It shouldn’t stop you from creating, though.
  8. People are mean. Keep writing anyway.
  9. People get jealous. Keep writing anyway.
  10. You’ve come so far. You still have so far to go.
  11. You have so much more to learn.
  12. You have so much to teach others.
  13. You have so many stories to tell.
  14. Someone out there thinks your words are amazing, even if you don’t.
  16. You’re not you when you’re not writing.
  17. Writing puts into words many things we just can’t say out loud.
  18. You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write.
  19. Failure is how we learn, grow, and move forward.
  20. Every small achievement is a success.
  21. Words bring people together, whether you see it happen or not.
  22. Whether you reach all your goals or not, you’ll have done something that made you happy.
  23. Because it was your first love.
  24. Because you’ll always love it, even when it’s hard.
  25. You never know — your dreams might really come true someday.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.

Join now.