If you have thought about sitting down and dashing off a book about your life or work or interests, it’s time to think again. Professional writing cannot be dashed off. It’s hard work. Let me explain why that is true.
Robert Louis Stevenson was once asked if he loved to write. He replied, “I hate to write, but I love to have written.”
Anyone who has ever tried to work as a freelance writer understands Stevenson’s sentiments. It’s a joy to see your byline in print, to receive a royalty check in the mail, and to get compliments from people who are enthusiastic about the things you have written. However, getting to those stages of the game is rough. At times, a blank computer screen can be quite an intimidating object. Simply stated, freelance writing is a very challenging career and one which should not be jumped into by a starry-eyed individual.
Fortunately, writing is one of the oldest of all professions. As far back as 1520 B.C., Job lamented, “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!” (Job 19:23 NKJV). There is a wealth of recorded experience to draw upon. Novice writers can study the lessons passed on by the masters and, in so doing, avoid certain pitfalls. Just as we can learn by doing, we can also learn by reading what others have done.
Adapted from Writing for Profit by Dennis E. Hensley [Thomas Nelson, 1985; revised 2003]. At Taylor University in Upland, IN, Dr. Hensley teaches students in the Professional Writing Major how to get off to the right start in their quest to become successful freelance writers.
© 2011 by Dennis E. Hensley. All rights reserved.