31 December 2010

Freelance Writer's Resolutions

by Carrie Bailey

Paid work has taken a backseat in my career over the last few months while I finished editing The Handbook of the Writer Secret Society, but now I am ready to return to freelance writing.

If you haven't heard the statistic about published writers, those fortunate enough to be picked up by publishing houses even, only 5% are able to make a decent living off their writing alone. What does that mean for the would be career writer? It means that unless you're independently wealthy or otherwise supported and employed, you need to write the content of other people's publications and have them pay you for it if you want to be a writer.

Note: If you believe you're going to sell your first nanowrimo book and make millions please do not read any further, because I don't want to be the person to spoil it for you.

To freelance, you need to find people to write for, write, get paid, and repeat the process. Truly, it is as simple as it sounds, but it is daunting for some writers, because it is the exact same process as writing a novel, selling it, and becoming a world famous author. The same obstacles exist for the reluctant writer no matter how much they are paid or where they are published. For that reason, I've taken a few secrets from the handbook and adapted them for new writers to help them get over those mental hurdles for 2011. After all, being altruistic and a dedicated artist are both beautiful qualities, but so is being able to accept compensation for your work. It's gorgeous.

Resolutions for New Writers 2011:

1) Stop fearing rejection. As blogger and YA writer, JJ McCommanchie would say, "rejection is gold." In fact, you should not fear it at all, but pursue it. This is quite logical. If you get used to rejection after it happens a number of times, it won't be an experience to fear as you'll be used to it. Even better, if you're actively seeking rejection, along the way, you'll find a few times, here and there, you won't be rejected even though you were expecting it. Strange but true.

2) Change your writing habits. Luck is something we create for ourselves and there are actually proven methods to achieve this. First of all, opportunity won't happen if you don't look for opportunity or try to see it in what is already available to you. But probably just as important is that luck happens when you change your routines and do things differently. If you look in new places, interact with new people, you're likely to find new opportunities for...freelance work.

3) Murder your inner critic. Probably, this should have been number one and it doesn't mean stop revising or editing your writing either. You have to put an end to the internal dialogue that tells you that your writing isn't worth paying for or that you are not a real writer. Turn around, look at that critic straight in the eye and reply in a gravely cowboy voice, "Says who?" Then, place your hand on your pistol holder and spit on the ground, because...that's intimidating.

No matter where you are in a writing career, you're the only one who can give yourself permission to seek compensation for your work. When you freelance, you don't have the benefit of meeting a hiring department, being tossed the keys to your office, and a name tag pinned to your chest on the day you begin. However, for the right person, it is a very liberating venture. And for the next month before I start school, it's what I'm going to be doing, because it's flexible like that. Here's a few links to start:

Elance: I've heard that between the various services for freelancers, these guys have the least problems, but do correct me if I am wrong.

Duotrope's Digest: I haven't used the online submission tracker, but it sounds good.

Here's an article on Places to Sell Your Writing

Write Jobs is a site that links to many of the usual suspects...



  1. It is really hard to not have the fear! Ya know? I want to apply to every single freelance writing ad I see, but then I get this little person in the back of my head that says, "You're not good enough for it!" And wow does that stop me in my tracks. :)

    All very good advice, though. 2011 WILL be different! :)

    Happy New Year!

  2. nice concise post. All true. Very nice. Thanks.

  3. Number 3 - I'm seriously working on Number 3. Thanks for reminding me I'm not the only one... we can and shall conquer that beast this year!

    Happy, Creative New Year!

  4. @Tonya You certainly aren't the only one I can tell you. I hear it over and over again and I used to say it myself.

  5. You can also check odesk for freelance writing jobs.

  6. THANK YOU! I have been looking for some stuff like this for a while now. I Love your writing style!