How to Start a Writing Career (And Be a Huge Success)

(Or How McDonald’s Hamburgers and Snowballs Can Help You Achieve The Success You Crave)

If you want to learn how to start a writing career – a proper writing career where you become so successful you quit everything else you do for money – you need to learn one of the key principles of success.

>> I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online – from scratch. Find out how you can do the same RIGHT HERE.

The way to have any real success at anything is to set your goal and then chip away at it every single day.

You might hear that sort of thing all the time and I admit it sounds like a lazy sentence, so let me place it into another context:

[Tweet “The things you do every day determine what your life will look like 10, 20 and 30+ years from now.”]

That’s easy to grasp, right?

There’s a hidden danger in there though, and one that sees a lot of people give up on their dreams and goals astonishingly early.

The hidden danger is this:

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The results of the daily actions you take towards your goal(s) aren’t immediate.


To learn how to start a writing career – and be a huge success – we need to talk about McDonald’s hamburgers (of course):

Say you’re a relatively healthy person who eats nutritious meals most days. One day you decide to replace your daily lunch of salad with the greasiest of McDonald’s hamburgers. You don’t make any other changes to your diet or lifestyle – just this one.

For the first week you’re unlikely to see any major difference in your body. After a month you might see a small change – perhaps you’ve gained a few pounds. After two months you might see further changes still.

Now, all these changes are gradual. They happen over time and they happen in small increments.

But what happens after a year? After two years? How do you think your body will look in 10, 20 or 30+ years time? I’ll tell you:

It’s going to look radically different! You’ll going to feel radically different to if you just kept to the salads too.

But you made only one small change – on a daily basis.

Now what do you think would happen if the reverse were true?

You start off eating a hamburger a day and replace it instead with a healthy salad. You wouldn’t shed all your excess weight overnight. You’d be unlikely to see any real results for weeks, if not months.

But in 10 years time? You’d reap the benefits of making that one small daily change. You’d be healthier, look leaner and have more energy.

A double edged-sword

So you can see there’s a danger and a beauty to goal-setting: It’s easy to implement actions into your day that will take you towards your goals, but it’s also easy to give up when you don’t see instant results.

Most people don’t stick it out long enough to build up the sort of momentum where great things start to happen.

They take their foot off the gas way, way too early!

And the people who don’t? The people who have reason enough, desire enough and are downright stubborn enough to keep pushing on with those daily (often mundane) goal-orientated tasks? Who are these people?



These are the people you read about in the news or online who had that fabulous stroke of “luck” and/or incredible “overnight success”.

These are the wealthy, successful, often happy and healthy people that you’ve envied and perhaps admired – the people you assume had more opportunity, more luck, more money or a better upbringing than you.

But that’s not how they became successful.

Most of them were likely worse off than you to begin with!

They just identified their most important goals, focused on them and completed the small tasks every single day that would eventually lead them to where they wanted to go.

When they met with temporary failure, they pushed on. When their plans weren’t working, they reassessed, reevaluated and soldiered on. Every single day.

I’m sorry then if success isn’t as glamorous as the mass media would have you believe.

You’ve been duped. We all have.

How to start a writing career – the only way

If you want to learn how to start a writing career and make a full-time living as a freelance writer you can absolutely do that. But it won’t happen overnight.


You’ll have to do small things to improve your craft and to improve your ability to get writing clients every single day. You’ll have to complete daily tasks towards your goal until the momentum builds.

Think of building your writing career as like pushing a snowball across a huge field covered in a layer of five-inch-thick snow.

As it gathers speed it collects more and more snow in the same way you’ll collect new contacts, opportunities and writing work if you only work on your goal a little bit each day.

You have to keep pushing the snowball. It will get easier once you’ve built the initial momentum, but you need to keep pushing or it will come to a grinding halt.

If you’ve skimmed the rest of this post, I urge you to stop and read this:

If you could see right now all the positive effects that your daily actions towards your goal will create in your future, I’m certain you’d take action every day without fail.

You’d make no excuses. You’d create no alibis.

If you could see into your future and see the ripple effects caused by failing to take those small, seemingly insignificant, actions every day, I’m positive you’d create a plan and stick to it.

But you can see neither of those results right now.

That’s the point.

>> Get practical, step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.

Image courtesy of Celestine Chua via Flickr. Some text added.

10 thoughts on “How to Start a Writing Career (And Be a Huge Success)

  1. Thanks for sharing, Kirsty. I wrote/edited professionally at a seminary six years ago and am rebuilding my portfolio after not writing for years.

    My goal is to eventually earn a living as a writer again. So basically, persistence is key.

    I am now looking into purchasing your book.

    I have been writing for free to build clips. I did this in the past and it led to the job I mentioned above. Is this ok? If you can email me a reply, that’d be appreciated 🙂

  2. I love the hamburger analogy. I’m doing small changes in my diet to be healthier, but it also has something to do with being a more productive and successful writer:)

    I sometimes like keeping a “done” journal in addition to to-do lists. Even if you just mentally go over what you have done for your writing career, you realize how far you’ve come.

    1. Great idea Pinar. I think everybody should keep a journal, no matter what their aims and goals are. It really does help keep you on track and motivated.

  3. Hey Kirsty,

    I was one of the slackers for sooooo long; forever envious of others, wondering why I’d not achieved the success I’d always dreamed of. Recently I set all that aside, set goals and just got on with it. I have to completely agree with what you’ve written. It’s not been easy and there are days when I’ve wondered if I need my head read. But lately, I can see the effort starting to pay off, and that’s enough incentive to keep on chipping away everyday.


    1. Good for you Matt – great to hear. I think the key is to understand that the effort will start paying off… eventually! Thanks for stopping by!

    1. I do have somebody I tend to use for eBooks and the like. Do you need one or are you looking for work? Or do you think I need one? [*Frantically scans this blog post for errors*] 😉

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