Tag Archives: writing

10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer


This year marks my 20th as a freelance writer. I’ve learned much along the way— maybe some of what I’ve garnered will help you to begin your own freelance journey.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you start up your business:

Think like a business owner.

Remember, you are not only a freelance writer but also a business owner. As a business owner, it’s your job to attract clients and keep them satisfied. The business part of freelancing is your “professional footprint” and equally as important as your writing.

Create a marketing plan. 

Every successful business has a marketing plan. Freelancing is no exception. You should create and implement a plan to interest potential clients and persuade them to use your services. Set goals!

Keep your social media presence professional. 

Your online business and personal interactions should be separate. Set up a Facebook business page where you can interact with clients and customers. Have separate Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts for your business. Create a business web page and/or blog.

hqdefault.jpgMake solid working relationships a priority.

It’s vital to build strong relationships with clients. After making initial contact with a potential client, follow up by email every 4–6 weeks about the possibility of freelance assignments. Try to offer something new, like a link to your Facebook business page or web site. This is effective on two levels: it keeps your name on the list for new projects, and it establishes an ongoing relationship. With both new and customary clients, a solid relationship pays off.

Maintain a routine. 

Freelancing doesn’t mean sleeping in on mornings when you don’t have a project. Every day is a workday. Get up at a set time and “go to the office.” If you don’t have a writing assignment, then your job is finding one.

Remember—nothing is a sure thing. 

You can’t count on a project happening until you have a contract. Sometimes, a publisher will decide not to follow through on a project. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

1Look toward the future.

When I first started out, I had a great freelance job writing 30 hours a week for a client. It was a job that came with healthcare benefits, a 401k plan and the opportunity to write for a leading educational textbook company. My only regret is that I didn’t look beyond the present. When their business slowed, I was let go. I had few other clients to rely on, and it took a long time to rebuild my client list. Lesson learned: Always look to the future and plan for the unexpected.

Save for “rainy days”.

When the economy slows, the publishing industry feels the economic crunch along with most other businesses. Keep several months of living expenses in your savings for times when you have no assignments—and no income.

celebrate Celebrate the positive.

There are days when you’ll wish for a job with a regular paycheck and benefits. During those times, think of all the great things about freelancing: You’re doing something you love, working from home and creating your own schedule. You can take time off to run errands and wear PJ’s all day, if you want . . .

Start each day doing something good for yourself.

For me, it’s prayer and then coffee. I ask God to inspire my writing, and then I make myself a flavored cappuccino or latte. Even better, I pack up my laptop and head to a coffee shop to write . . .

I think I’ll do that right now.
I’m heading for my favorite coffee place
to celebrate 20 years in business.

What else can I say? The freelance life is good.


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Filed under Freelance writing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, Writer's responsibility, Writing goals

Lost in a Sea of Lists

I recently downloaded onto my Kindle Bryn Donovan’s book, “Master Lists for Writers”. Since then, I’ve been blissfully lost in her sea of lists!

51bHYN1SlyL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_From the description on Amazon.com:

In this book, you’ll find: • lists of phrases for describing facial expressions, body language, gestures, physical appearance, and emotions • 175 master plot ideas, including romance, high-stakes, family, and workplace stories • lists of words for writing action scenes and love scenes • inspiration for figuring out character traits and quirks, backstories, occupations, motivations, and goals • lists for describing settings and writing dialogue • lists of good character names for contemporary stories…plus medieval England, Regency England, Wild West, and WWII settings • and more!

Trust me. Once you begin reading her book you won’t be able to put it down. And I’ve found a few other lists for you to peruse.

• Shaun Usher’s “Lists of Note”  A collection of notable lists including: 20 Rules for Writing Detective Stories, Orwell’s Rules for Writers, Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Things to Worry About. Usher’s site isn’t updated as often as I’d like, but still, there is plenty of content to keep you interested. “Lists of Note” is also available as a book.

• Listverse is a huge database of lists on almost any topic you can image. Browse the lists and you will find plenty to write about. The site is updated daily.

Listverse_full-width_LeftLists are grouped into six categories:


You can also search the site by topic.

A few lists from the past week:

10 Facts About The Talking Knots Of Ancient Peru
10 Fascinating Facts About The Human Skeleton
Top 10 Bizarre British Ceremonies

• Finally, before you drown in a sea of lists, sail on over to the Encyclopedia Britannica site and ponder their list of lists. Similar to Listverse, these are grouped by category:


And, like Listverse, the database is mammoth. Here are a few of the Editor’s Picks:

6 Fictional Languages You Can Really Learn
Top 10 Must-“Visit” Fictional Lands
9 Mysterious Disappearances of People Other Than Amelia Earhart

Lists, lists, lists. Essential additions to a writer’s toolbox. Use them to brainstorm story ideas, plots, character traits and more . . . the list is endless!



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Filed under Fun, Lists for Writers, Tools for Writers, Uncategorized