So, you want to become a commercial writer?
That means you’ll need to be prepared to write about just about anything and everything that comes along. If your attitude’s ‘I write romance’ or ‘I write Sci-Fi’, you’re going to be facing a life along the same lines as a certain ‘Old Mother Hubbard’. On the other hand if it’s “I’m sure I can do it – what is it you want?”, then you’ve got chances.
That doesn’t mean that it’s OK to write rubbish as long as you get to the relevant word count. Absolutely not. Apart from it degrading yourself, you will also incur the wrath of your client who was expecting a quality guide/blog post/brochure/sales letter/article etc. A client’s wrath means bad reviews and no pay.
You see, unlike creative writing, you have but one client for one piece of work and, if he or she ain’t pleased, they will tell you so in no uncertain terms. There’s no hiding behind one lousy review and ten good ones with commercial writing.
Writer’s Block is another thing that you may have to overcome. You have 10,000 words to produce this week – produce them. If not, you will surely be for the high jump. You’ll need to learn to think on your feet and to adapt to the demands of your clients and the work that you are doing for them. If you can manage that, you’ll have chances.
I’ve been doing commercial writing for years and I’ve really enjoyed it. My specialism has been to take on the most difficult jobs and the most demanding clients. Not only are these easier to win for someone with a track record of proving themselves competent when it comes to delivering such work, the jobs also pay better. That said, notice the use of the phrase ‘track record’ – that’s something that comes with time. If you’re just setting out down this road, start with less lucrative but more straightforward projects.
Never think ‘Is this me?’, think ‘How can I do this one?’.