6 Tips for Long-Term Success as a Freelance Writer

Want to be a successful freelance writer? Think long-term! These six tips for long-term success were prompted by a reader who asked this question on my Overcoming Fear of Success article:

“I have most of the ‘symptoms’ of Fear of Success listed in your article, but it is the idea of not believing that I can sustain the success once I achieve it is REALLY the crux of my problem. Can you recommend articles focusing on that?”

Since achieving goals and being successful is one my favorite subjects, I thought I’d write a couple of articles about how to create and sustain long-term success. One of my favorite books about success is Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling Outliers: The Story of Success. He describes how and why some people are successful.

And, read on for tips for long-term success for freelance writers…

6 Tips for Long-Term Success as a Freelance Writer

1. Create a sustainable pitching and writing schedule. Fellow scribes, you’ll burn out if you don’t create a schedule you can handle for the long run! To create long-term success, set achievable goals for pitching query letters and writing articles. Make sure your monthly and quarterly goals are challenging, yet achievable.

2. Be open to adjusting your writing goals. You need to set and stick to your goals as a freelance writer, but you also have to remember that situations, people, and lives change. What worked last year – or last month – may not work today. To create long-term success, be open to adjusting goals as necessary.

3. Expect setbacks and dry spells. Be prepared to face difficulties, such as going weeks without getting a writing assignment. No matter what type of freelancer you are or how hard you work, you will face setbacks, frustrations, and outright failures. Setbacks and dry spells are just part of moving forward; forward momentum by its very nature brings its own troubles. This tip for long-term success as a freelance writer requires you to be realistic (but not cynical or pessimistic!).

4. Trust that you can and will survive setbacks and dry spells. Remember, you’ve already overcome various obstacles to achieving your goals. You’ve handled difficulties and exerted willpower and self-discipline. To create long-term success as a freelance writer, don’t fear or worry about the setbacks the future could bring. Instead, rest in the fact that you can and will find the resources to handle whatever new problems come along.

5. Be aware of your weaknesses – and learn how to deal with them. Tune in to your personality and psyche: what are your weaknesses and flaws? What could stop you from creating long-term success as a freelance writer? Find tools to help you deal with those now. For instance, if you tend to procrastinate, you might want to learn various ways to stop procrastinating. If you’re a “lazy writer”, read articles such as 5 Tips for Increasing Writing Discipline. Don’t just become aware of the potential pitfalls within you…learn how to cope with those weaknesses.

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6. Take the mystery and glamour out of successful freelance writing. This last tip for creating long-term success is simply about making success a daily habit. Don’t think of success as a one-time thing or something only the smartest freelance writers experience! No. Success is something you can achieve for the long haul – there’s nothing mysterious or glamorous about success. It’s hard work, discipline, and effort. For solid info on creating habits that will keep you successful both professionally and personally, read Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

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Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts,” said Winston Churchill.

Do you have any thoughts or questions on these tips for creating long-term success for freelance writers? Comments welcome below!

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3 thoughts on “6 Tips for Long-Term Success as a Freelance Writer

  • Kristen Escovedo

    As someone who recently took the leap from a full time PR pro to a full time writer, I really appreciated this post. I particularly appreciate the first tip about creating a schedule, which has been the hardest thing for me to do now that I am at home all day.

    I also really enjoyed the quotes you included. It is comforting to know that I’m not the only one who has to force myself to open my laptop every morning, is tempted to hoard the good stuff, or is just plain terrified.
    .-= Kristen Escovedo´s last blog post ..Waiting for the St#%id Birds =-.

  • Tumblemoose

    Hi Laurie,

    Trying to do anything long term can be a challenge. This is especially true in the crazy, topsy-turvey world of Freelance writing.

    Thanks for looking out for us with these tips. I know I’m going to take them to heart.

    .-= Tumblemoose´s last blog post ..Dear Writer, This Is The Wall. You Have Hit Me. What Now? =-.