How to Be More Successful in 2014: Lean In to Your Writing Career

P9Yeah, I know. Lean In was so last year. But there are great lessons in there for writers as we enter 2014 with clear eyes and full hearts. We really can’t lose.

Just Apply

One of the biggest lessons I learned in Lean In was that women only apply for job postings if they feel they meet 100% of the requirements. Men, however, according to Sheryl Sandberg, will apply if they meet 60% of the requirements.

Are you like the women Sandberg talked about? Do you refuse to go after writing opportunities because you don’t feel qualified enough? Unless you’ve never written a word in your life, you are probably much more qualified than you think.

One tactic for proving to potential clients that you have the skills to do the job well is Carol Tice’s simple addition method. In short, take the things you can do and add them together to match when the client needs.

Get Help

Sandberg talks about the support she gets from her husband so that she can lean in to her corporate work. And all of us could use help.

If you feel mired in piles of laundry that you can never get to, either get someone else in your house to pitch in or send the stuff out. Same with cleaning. Get someone else to help or hire a cleaning person to come in and de-grime your place.

If the kiddos won’t leave you alone while you’re doing interviews or writing, get someone to watch them while you work.


Sandberg talked about the groups she formed of women at Google to keep them focused and connected in a male-dominated field. She also looked at research that showed women valued themselves higher when they were part of a group and when they shared each other’s successes in that group.

I am a strong introvert. But even I see the value of connecting with other writers (and non-writers) to get out of my head. After interviewing writers for a piece in The Writer (coming soon), I felt energized and full of ideas for further articles. I even got a great book idea, which I’ll be working on in the first few moths of this year. That’s a lot of gain from a few simple phone conversations with like-minded writers.

How can you connect with your peers? There are local meetups, local and national writing organizations, and online communities such as the Freelance Writers Den. There are a ton of different ways — that will work for your distinct personality type — to choose from.

And if Sheryl Sandberg isn’t enough to pump you up to start 2014 strong, here’s a bit of my favorite motivational speaker, Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights.

What lessons are you going to follow this year to take your career where it you want to go? Share in the comments below?

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