You love to write, but you also love to make money writing. Right? Here are 10 ways to get more writing jobs, based on my success as a freelance writer.
I earned over $40,000 in my first year writing freelance articles for magazines. There is no secret to making money as a writer, no special talent, no quality or personality trait that will help you succeed.
What worked for me is reading as many business books about writing as I could find. The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli is awesome – it helped me alot. 2014 Writer’s Market is also super duper important, because it reveals hundreds of magazines, blogs, e-zines, newspapers, etc – most of which you probably never heard of.
10 Ways to Get More Writing Gigs
1. Diversify your writing. Get 2014 Writer’s Market – it’s the best way to diversify and get more writing jobs. Diversification isn’t just good investment advice, it can actually improve your chances as a freelance writer. Diversifying in freelance writing means exploring many different paths to one destination (publication and making money as a writer!). For instance, if I want to be a successful freelancer, I need to cultivate relationships with at least a dozen magazines. One of the best ways to get more writing jobs is to explore all the possible different path to a single destination (publication and making money as a writer!). But diversification requires information, which is why I recommend Writer’s Market.
2. Act like a Boy Scout. What’s their motto? “Be prepared!” If you want to get more writing jobs, you need to prepare for all eventualities. The most successful freelance writers spend alot of time writing query letters, making phone calls, and setting up interviews. Just as importantly, the most successful writers learn how to write better and better and better. Usually, this means writing tightly (get to the point asap), and letting your voice shine through. Your voice will make you memorable – read Want More Writing Jobs? 5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart as a Writer for tips.
3. Imagine how things could be worse. Are you dejected, disappointed, and dismayed by the lack of writing jobs you’re offered? Improve your success rates by visualizing how life could be worse. Picturing the worse case scenario (and how lucky you really are) will increase your feelings of gratitude, which will keep you cheerful and optimistic. The more optimistic you are, the more you’ll improve your chances as a writer. This will increase the chances you’ll sell articles, books, and blog posts.
4. Take smart, thoughtful risks to get more writing jobs. The more calculated risks you take, the higher your chances of success in writing are. Send query letters to big national magazines like Reader’s Digest even if you don’t have clips – but make sure you follow their writer’s guidelines. Contact experts for preliminary quotes before you send queries – but always be professional and respectful.
5. Keep everything – and be organized. One of my favorite television shows is ‘The People’s Court’ with Judge Marilyn Milian. The “lucky” people in her courtroom are those who have all their documents ready, get all their agreements in writing, and keep all their receipts. Being organized will help you get more writing jobs; your filing system will help you create more ideas, your idea book will keep you creative and motivated, and your invoicing system will help you stay on top of which magazines still owe you money.
6. Act on opportunities. I finally sold an article to MSN Health after I pitched several ideas. How did I get that writing gig? It was the fine print at the bottom of their website: “looking for freelance writers” or words to that effect. When you see opportunities like that, pitch once, twice, thrice…up to a dozen times. The most successful freelancers who get the most writing jobs are those who see the possibilities and actually follow up on them. Repeatedly. Over and over. Nonstop.
7. Listen to your gut. To improve your chances as a freelance writer, tune in to your instincts. Do you feel compelled to pitch to that magazine, contact that publisher or read this particular book? Your mind, emotions, and body pick up on signals in your environment and in the universe. Trust your intuition, listen to your gut, and you’ll sell more of your writing.
If your gut is telling you to write about kumquats but you don’t know what form your content should take, read 11 Types of Magazine Articles to Write.
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8. Learn about self-fulfilling prophecies. In psychology, a self-fulfilling prophecy is “a false definition of situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true.” In normal speak, what you believe will come true because you will subconsciously and consciously act in ways that cause the event to happen. Self fulfilling prophecies are very powerful and real. Do you believe you can get more writing jobs? If not, then figure out what you’re doing wrong. Then fix it.
9. Let go of your expectations. Don’t tie yourself down to a particular outcome, even if you want a certain writing gig more than anything. By “particular outcome”, I mean publication in that magazine, a response from this editor, or a full feature article with your byline on the front page. To get more writing jobs, you need to be open to all possible outcomes – some of which could seem disappointing at first, but may actually turn out to be better than the thing you originally wanted.
10. Read books about freelance writing. This is the most important way to get more writing gigs, so I’m repeating it. I’m a good writer, so I found it easy to get writing jobs. But, I also read dozens of books about the business of freelance writing. I mentioned one at the top of this article — and I believe anything by Bob Bly will help you succeed. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells is an excellent resource.
Bonus tip for getting more writing gigs: If you’re serious about supporting yourself as a freelance writer, don’t get stuck in cyberspace. Get away from blogs about writing – after a certain point, they are not helpful. They’ll just waste your time and make you feel less creative as a writer. Read books about freelancing, and treat your writing career like a business.
You are an entrepreneur, and the more you learn about running a business, the more successful you’ll be as a writer.