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I want to be a freelance writer and earn a handsome amount but I cannot get my thoughts down on the page - what's causing this?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
My philosophy is to help others if I can, but not harm anybody if I cannot help. I feel certain supreme power is governing us, but I do not believe the rituals of any religions. I rarely visit any place of worship.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
I want to be a freelance writer and earn a handsome amount, so that I can travel extensively.
I want to be a freelance writer and to write from my home. I am an Electrical Engineer and working in a company. I can hardly pick up my pen to write. Often a certain blockade impedes my writings. It is not writer's block, I feel. I have published a few features in some newspapers and magazines. They are not enough. I want to write regularly for journals but often run out of ideas. I am a married man living with my wife and a daughter. When I want to write, my mind speaks to me that "you can not do it" and I stop. I am quite an educated person and read extensively. I even completed a course on creative writing - I often read on this subject. I have that much of knowledge on 'How to write creatively' I feel I can give classes on it, but I myself cannot write.
Wallace's reply
I'd like to start the discussion by sharing my feelings on reading your question. You say you know all the theory of creative writing so that lack of knowledge about the process of writing is not the problem. I feel that the high expectations and ambitions you carry in relation to your writing are the cause of your stumbling.

There was a woman who wrote to me a few months ago about wanting to be a life coach but could not get started - she lacked the confidence. I advised her to give up the goal of being a life coach and to drop the fancy title - Life Coach - and simply help others in a voluntary capacity. If by helping others in a voluntary capacity her work expanded so that she one day found herself working as a life coach, well and good, but to start in the simplest low-key way possible and let her work advance from there. She wrote to me and said how helpful the advice had been and that a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders. I feel drawn to give you similar advice.

I suggest you drop the high ambitions you are placing upon your shoulders and get in touch with enjoying writing and serving readers who share your interests. I suggest you write for a local free magazine, newspaper or booklet or write for a website on the Internet - some publication that serves your local community and which cannot afford to pay for professional writers. Pick a publication that you feel is doing a really good job in serving its readers in an area that you are vitally interested in. Approach this publication about doing a single freelance article for no fee and look no further ahead than that. You will then be acting in accordance with your own philosophy - to help others if you can.

When you go to write this article, see if it flows more easily? Do you feel more confident and self assured in your writing? If so then this is the right path for you. Continue with writing in a voluntary capacity and gradually increase the quality of publication that you write for. Eventually you may feel drawn to write professionally and at that point you will then have the confidence and experience to make the transition... but again, do the transition gradually - write one article professionally and build up from there.

It is a fundamental principle of inner guidance that if I feel drawn in a particular direction but lack confidence, and I am experiencing a drop off in my creativity, to ask my inner guidance, "What is the simplest first step I can take that will help me progress in the path I wish to travel?" Remembering this will help us progress, even when our confidence is at its lowest and we are speaking in negative ways to our vulnerable creative self.

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