What Freelance Writers Can Learn From a Corny Old Movie

Carol Tice

I watched a great old movie with my two sons recently — Angels in the Outfield (not that old, the 1994 version).

What’s a kiddie baseball movie have to do with being a successful freelance writer?

Everything.

In case you haven’t seen it, the story concerns a boy in foster care who’s a California Angels baseball fan. The boy prays for the team to start winning, and soon he starts to see angels on the ballfield, helping the team’s players. Only he can sense their presence, but they turn the team around and the Angels start winning.

In the pennant game, though, the angels won’t interfere. The pitcher is an old-timer recently reinvigorated by the angels’ presence, but he starts to falter in the final inning. Without the angels, he can’t do it.

Suddenly the boy realizes how to help. He stands up and flaps his arms, the pre-arranged signal that he sees angels on the field. Believing he has divine assistance, the pitcher reaches inside and becomes more than who he was a moment before. He is lifted up by his faith.

Then he throws that final strike.

No angels were really helping. Only his belief that he could do it made it happen.

In fact, the pitcher is half-dead of lung cancer and has six months to live, the angel reveals. What he did — pitching a winning game with an arm that blew out long ago — was impossible.

But he went out and did it anyway, because he believed he could.

This movie reminded me that there is one precious ingredient freelance writers need to be successful:

You have to believe you can do it.

If you do not have that faith, down deep in your heart — that writing is your gift to this world and you can use it to earn a living — none of the tips and advice I offer on this blog will help you.

Even though there are a million other wannabe writers out there competing for gigs, you must know you have something special. And you will find your place in the vast freelance-writing market. You know there’s a spot for you in there, somewhere.

Faith makes you unstoppable.

So — believe you can find gigs.

Believe you can write those articles well enough to get the next gig.

Believe you can pay your bills with your writing.

The freelance writing life is just too full of rejection and discouragement and it’s too easy to quit unless you know this is for you.

Then, you will let no obstacle stand in your way. Fifty queries that go unanswered will not turn you back.

Would you believe a college dropout could write for the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and Fortune 500 companies?

I believe I have unlimited potential as a writer, and it happened to me.

Writers often ask me, “Am I qualified to do technical writing? To write for a major national magazine? To write textbook supplements? To write for businesses?”

My answer is: “Do you feel you can?”

Then, yes. Go out and do it. Shine that light.

Do you believe you can be a successful freelance writer? Leave your statement of faith in the comments.

25 Comments

  1. Richard

    Angels in the Outfield is really good movie to watch. It relate how we humans, believe only the things we saw and when its not there, our doubt started to appear and we lost focus. And it needs a a little child faith for us to start believing again.

    Really a wonderful show. And l love your review.

  2. ricki

    It’s the Dumbo principle….The feather didn’t help him fly. It was believing in himself. That, and his awesome ears. Writers have to have faith in themselves AND find their awesome ears. Because a successful writer these days is kind of like an elephant that flies.

    • Carol Tice

      Right on! Or as my husband likes to say, it’s like the amazing flight of bees. They’re too heavy to fly too, on their tiny wings. And yet they do. I’m sure they believe they can.

  3. Di Mace

    Great post as always Carol. Love it. Picked me up on a cold rainy, winter’s day ‘Down Under’.

    Of recent weeks, like Peter Pan, my supportive shadow had somehow come unstitched from me and I had felt very fractured. I put it down to the effect of too much toggling in my life and looking after others needs ahead of my own (typical Mum).

    As all good writers would, I blogged about it. I looked at what the self-doubt had taught me. That allowed me to see the real reason and gave me the gift of reminding me that the most powerful force you have is what you say to yourself … and what you believe.

    You’ve got to believe in yourself before anything can happen – by accident or design.

    So thanks again Carol, for reinforcing the message!

  4. Sarah Porter-Pennington

    Great movie and a great message. A great note to start my day on…even though I’m getting started a little late.

    Faith really does make all the difference. Like Henry Ford said: Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.

    • Carol Tice

      I hadn’t heard that quote before! GREAT one.

  5. Krissy Brady, Writer

    Boy did I need this post today! In fact, I’m printing it out for my bulletin board. My to-pay-the-bills workload has been difficult to deal with lately, especially with being highly sensitive, so my writing has suffered for the past month or so. I’m really lucky though, in the respect that I’m not one to admit defeat; I will keep going and most of the time will throw on that extra pot of coffee to reach my goal word count, lol! What I’m dealing with now, is teaching myself that listening to my body and resting is not defeat, it will just take me a little longer to reach my writing goals. But they’ll be there, patiently waiting for me, since it’s me who has to create them. 🙂

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