“Excuses are a powerful thing. One excuse can negate 100 opportunities.” – Bobby Darnell
I can’t count the number of excuses I’ve heard aspiring writers use to explain their initial challenges.
Getting stuck in the mindset of excuses is like getting your car stuck in deep mud. You can keep spinning your tires, but without something changing, I guarantee you won’t get anywhere.
On the bright side, overcoming excuses is extremely powerful. It removes the shackles that keep us from opportunity, success, and happiness.
Let’s examine some excuses and explore suggestions to overcome these perceived obstacles.
1. I just can’t find the time
I know many writers who, like me, launched their travel writing careers while still working a full-time job. In my first year of writing, I had over 40 published articles all while employed in a full-time nursing position.
How did I accomplish that? I made a commitment to my travel writing. I allotted time to research publications throughout the week and used part of the weekend to pitch and write articles.
Sometimes demands on our time can actually help us to become more organized and efficient. My advice is to make a schedule, prioritize the important activities, and stick to it. Self-discipline goes a long way.
2. I’m afraid I’ll fail
This mindset is damaging because to embrace this thinking guarantees failure.
I have over 500 published articles, but guess what? In the beginning of my career and even now, I get “nos” from editors for a variety of reasons. No is usually not a reflection on you or the quality of your story. There are plenty of publications out there. Move on.
If you never put yourself out there, you’ll never know. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and then ask yourself, “What’s the best that can happen?” Go ahead and push that send button.
The only true failures are those who fail to try.
3. I don’t know where to start
The answer here is to start. Start writing anything. Instead of constantly running ideas through your head, put pen to paper.
It’s OK to spend time researching and reading other stories, but eventually you need to start. The more you write, the easier it gets. How do I know? Because I and other successful writers have been there.
4. I don’t have a journalism degree
Editors don’t care about a freelancer’s background or how many letters and titles they have after their name. As a matter of fact, when I started my travel writing career and sent bios to accompany my stories, more than one editor was surprised that my background was actually in nursing.
Honestly, what they’re most looking for is a well-written story that matches the voice of their publication.
5. I tried and nothing happened
So many aspiring writers get stuck when they send out pitches or submissions and don’t hear back. They get discouraged and give up. But they shouldn’t.
Like any other career, travel writers must hone their skills. Success doesn’t just happen overnight. Stay patient and persistent. It helps tremendously to sign up for a travel writing program or join a travel writers’ group. Why?
Because it’s much harder to navigate the travel writing world alone. Joining a group will provide camaraderie and expand your opportunities for getting published.
6. I’ll never be as successful as others
If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a hundred times. And guess what?
You shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else. The joy of travel writing is that this is your journey and yours alone. You decide how much you want to travel, the perks you’re interested in tapping, and the number of stories you’re willing to write.
What’s most important here is that you find the way to make your dream a reality. You chart your own course and keep your promises to yourself.
Ultimately, only you can let go of your excuses. I know many writers who started out with one or more of the above excuses, but by getting out of their own way and forging ahead, everything changed.
They did it, and you can too!