You get paid as a storyteller when you’ve been persistent and consistent.
You get paid when you’ve actually put yourself out there.
Over the years, countless people have e-mailed me to ask how they get started in the writing industry. I ask them what their portfolio looks like and how much content they’ve written online.
The answer is usually zero work online and a non-existent portfolio.
See, the thing about making it as a creative in any industry is that you need to reach a point where you can put yourself out there. Where you show the world the kind of work you do.
It comes down to the fact that most people are terrified of being judged. They don’t want anyone to say something negative about the work they do.
The thing that everyone should understand about “haters” is that they don’t actually have any work. That’s why they are so negative.
I rarely ever judge even bad pieces of art in any form because I understand how hard it can be to get to a place where you’re ready to share your work. I do, however, judge the cities who produce zero art but call themselves experts in any field.
If you look at anyone who has made it in any creative industry, their first few pieces were, well, rough. Even famous YouTubers have horrible, grainy first videos. They got to where they are now by never stopping.
That’s the big secret. Far too many times in my own writing career, I’ve stopped because my work wasn’t coming out as well as I wanted it to. Instead of remembering that it’s in the constant trying, I got in my own way instead.
I remember being told years ago that if I wanted to be a decent writer, I should go buy 200 pens and write my way through all of them. Then, I might be a halfway decent writer. I’m still working my way through them, actually. (Yes, I really did buy that many pens, and yes I still have them.)
While this is a dramatic example, although a good idea, the underlying message is grounded in persistence. The grit behind waking up and facing another blank canvas of any kind, determined to mold it into something better than yesterday.
You get paid when you’re persistent.
That’s when your mind shifts from “hobby” to “professional”. (For more reading on this, read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.)
When you’re a professional, you gloss over the negativity because your work is separate from who you are. The amateur is too in love with the label, so any negativity they take as a direct attack on who they are.
I wish I could hand you a simple solution and say, “Here’s how you deal with any criticism on your art,” but there isn’t such a thing. At least, that I’ve discovered yet.
We all have to struggle with this but know you’re not alone.
Any other creative knows the exact struggle you’re going through. Any other creative isn’t judging you because we know how hard it is.
Only people who wish they were you will be negative.
There are no shortcuts, but that’s what makes it fun.
Finish the work you started. Share it with the world.