Writing Goals – 7 Ways to Be a Better Freelance Writer


These examples of writing goals are based experience of achieving my goals in my first year of freelance writing – and I freelanced full-time for only eight months! You can be a better freelance writer and achieve your financial goals, fellow scribes.

Before the tips, a quip:

“Success is not an automatic function of individual talent,” says Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success. “It’s bound up in so many other broader circumstantial, environmental, historical, and cultural factors.”





Your success as a freelance writer (or novelist) depends not only on your hard work, discipline, and goals — it’s also about your circumstances, lifestyle, and culture. This is both good and bad! If the timing is right and the planets align, you’ll experience more success as a writer. But, if fate conspires against you, then…you may not see your writing dreams come true.

But, luck aside, you can set and achieve writing goals that bring you closer to getting published as a novelist or selling more articles as a freelance writer. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success for more info on how to be successful.

And, here are examples of writing goals for successful freelancers…

7 Ways to Be a Better Freelance Writer

1. Set financial goals. If you’re a freelance writer for magazines and websites, try setting financial goals of, say, $2,500 per month or $500 per week. This writing goal worked really well for me last year; I’ve increased my financial goals for the new year. This goal works best for writers who are freelancing full or part-time, and who are motivated by money (like me!).

2. Break your financial goals into categories. As a full-time freelance writer, my goal is to earn $4,000 per month. I’ve broken that financial goal into smaller ones: a certain dollar amount from my blogs, a certain amount from magazines and websites, and a certain amount from my Suite 101 writing.

3. Pitch three new articles a week. I love writing for magazines, and my writing goal is to pitch three new article ideas every week. Again, this example of a writing goal works best when writers are freelancing full or part-time — but novelists can think about setting goals of pitching a certain number of literary agents each week or month.



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4. Set a per word financial goal. Can you tell I’m determined to earn a living as a full-time freelance writer? I didn’t set a New Year’s Resolution goal for a per word rate, but I want to earn a minimum of $1 per word.  I will write for fifty cents a word in special circumstances (like for the first magazine that actually accepted my pitch and hired me to write an article!), but I’m discovering that some magazines pay $2 per word! Again, this New Year’s resolution tip works best when writers are motivated by money.

5. Set blog or website goals. Another example of a writing goal is to write one blog post a day. Since I have three blogs (Quips and Tips for Successful Writers, Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals, and Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility), I find this goal easy to achieve. There’s no shortage of stuff to write about! If you want to be a successful freelance writer, be sure to set blog or website goals — it will strengthen your writing career.

6. Find one new writing market a week. I didn’t do this last year, but my writing goal this year is to pitch a query to a new magazine or website every week. Last year, I kept pitching to magazines that never responded – and I’ve learned that after you’ve tried an email address more than ten times without a response, it’s probably a “no go”!

7. Send 10 recycled queries a week. If I don’t hear back from an editor or publisher within four months, I consider that article idea up for grabs…and I send the query to a new magazine or website. If you’re a freelance writer, don’t let your older ideas go to waste! Keep cycling them through, and sooner or later an editor will assign you the article. Read Tips for Improving Your Query Letters for a boost.

What are your writing goals? Whether you want to write a book, support yourself as a freelance writer, or make money blogging — post them where you can see them all the time, and remember Malcolm Gladwell’s words: experts practice for 10,000 hours before they become successful.

If you have any thoughts or questions on these examples of writing goals for successful freelance writers, please comment below!



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6 thoughts on “Writing Goals – 7 Ways to Be a Better Freelance Writer

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Hi Rose,

    Congratulations on taking a one-year leave to pursue your writing career! That’s great…and very exciting. You’re never too old for an adventure, my friend.

    Regarding writing for Suite, yes there are advantages other than money. I describe them here:

    10 Reasons I Love Writing for Suite101

    I’ve never written for a blog that pays $25 per article. The experience might be worth it…but to tell you the truth, I very quickly started earning $1 per word for magazine articles. Freelance writing has a bad reputation — it’s actually far easier than everyone says.

    If I only had a year to create a successful writing career, I would join a business group in person. The online competition for writing and blogging jobs is crazy!

    I’ve found that networking in person — telling businessowners I’m a writer — is the best way to get writing work. I belong to a small business owners’ group, and I turn down work ALL THE TIME because my own blogs are my full-time job.

    I don’t know where you live – if you’re in a small town, networking is more difficult. But if you can hook up with businesspeople who don’t have time or inclination to write for themselves, you’re ahead of the competition.

    Let me know what you think, and what writing goals you’ve set for yourself!

    Laurie

  • Rose

    Hi Laurie,

    I am on a 1-year leave from my job to try out writing as a career and am working as an intern (at age 48) for a Canadian travel trade magazine. I’m also trying to sell articles to other publications/blogs and am finding that many blogs pay $25-$40 an article. In your post, you talk about writing for Suite 101.

    Are there advantages to writing for a blog that may only pay $25 an article for 800 words? In terms of a business plan, Suite 101 would pay a very small part. Are there advantages other than money?

    Thanks for your time,

    Rose

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Boy, I’m bad at keeping up with comments! Two years later, I’m here to say, “thanks for your comment, Rebecca!”

    I hope you achieved your writing goals that year, and are achieving them still 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Thank you for this article. I have a list of New Year’s Resolutions, but none of them pertained to my writing. You just inspired me to add to my list. I think I now have over 50 New Year’s Resolutions:0)