No matter how successful freelance writers are, they’ll aways have ups and downs. The key to maintain long-term success is learning to ride those highs and lows without losing balance or momentum — which is what these tips are all about!
Before the tips, a quip from Gloria Steinem:
“As a profession, freelance writing is notoriously insecure,” said Gloria Steinem. “That’s the first argument in its favor. For many reasons, a few of them rational, the thought of knowing exactly what next year’s accomplishments, routine, income, and vacation will be – or even what time I have to get up tomorrow morning – has always depressed me.”
Whether you’re thinking about starting a career as a freelance writer or you’re an experienced freelancer in a slump, these tips for coping with the insecurities of a writing will help. For even more tips, read The Freelance Writer’s Bible: Your Guide to a Profitable Writing Career Within One Year.
Tips for Freelancers – Dealing With the Ups and Downs of a Writing Career
1. Diversify your writing. Magazine, book, and online publishers have stables of writers; freelance writers need a flock of clients. I’ve been writing regularly for three national and a bunch of regional publications, and I’m always looking for new writing opportunities. This way, if I stumble into a slump with one or two publications, I’ll have a few more to tide me over. For more info, read How to Earn Money by Diversifying Your Online Writing.
2. Maintain a blog or website. I really struggled with whether or not to create a website — The Adventurous Writer — but I’ve found that it validates me as a writer, it’s a great place for my new experts or interviewees to verify my credibility, and it reminds me of my growth. I update it weekly, and it’s a great reminder of the progress I’ve made as a writer.
3. Take casual work that’s not writing-related. Working every couple of weeks in an office, museum, or trendy coffee shop can help you cope with the insecurities of writing by generating new ideas, writing inspirations, plot twists, character developments, and so on. Getting paid to be out of the house is a great way to keep the juices flowing, and it’ll help with the financial droughts that may be inevitable.
4. Suggest column ideas to editors regularly. I’d love a regular monthly column, and I’ve pitched different ideas to two different magazines and one newspaper over the past couple of years. Two declined my generous offer, and I only pitched the third a week ago, so I’m still hopeful (but it’s a long shot). But, having a regular column can really ease the insecurities of being a freelance writer.
5. Send reprint articles regularly. Don’t let your old articles get dusty on a shelf. Rework them, or send them out as is as a reprint possibility. Keep a record of when the first rights have expired, and re-use your past articles and stories. Read How to Sell Your Reprint Articles for tips!
6. Network with other writers and entrepreneurs. Don’t just hang out on writers’ forums or join writers’ organizations; spend time with other entrepreneurs. Exchange ideas and energy with people who are building and maintaining their own businesses. Learn how they cope with the insecurities of freelance work. For info on getting more writing jobs, read Networking Tips for Successful Writers.
If you have any tips for freelancers on coping with the ups and downs of a writing career, I welcome you below!