More Lessons in Freelance Writing

Just over a year into full-time freelance writing, I recently realized that things could and should look better. I spent a few sleepless nights stalking other freelance writers on the web. Linkedin profiles, blogs, and personal websites of other people in my field, plus lots of advice from established freelance writers, pointed fingers at my mistakes. The biggest problem was my attitude. Basically, I wasn’t treating my freelance career as a full-time job. Writing a few articles every month and a short story or two, was not much with 24 long hours each day and no commuting to complain about. And of course, less work published means less money in the bank. My second big mistake was relying on one or two regular clients. One client still owes me money from January. While the other client is wonderful, a publication cannot have the same writer’s stories every week. That just doesn’t happen. Depending on the one or two regular clients also encourages extreme laziness that made me pretty much forget about the term ‘pitching an idea’. So, here are some changes I made in my routine:

– I drastically reduced my Facebook and gtalk chat time during the day. Even a freelancer needs office hours for discipline. I also figured out that it is best to work when others are working so that e-mail exchange is timely.

– I made a list of potential clients and started contacting editors. These are magazines, newspapers, and portals, that I’ve ignored just to stay in my comfort zone. Pitching at least one idea a day is part of my work schedule.

– Story ideas became priority. Every day, I sit in silence and think about possible feature articles and short stories I could write. Then I spend some time checking out relevant websites for more ideas and angles to my articles. Earlier, I hardly spent time thinking of ideas. If an idea suddenly came, I asked the editor/wrote the piece. Now I’ve made it a habit.

Just in four weeks or so, I can see a difference because my work has been accepted by new editors and I’ve been writing much more than before. When I worked in an office, I would feel the hours and get annoyed. Doing what I love to do, makes all the parts of my freelance job a positive challenge and makes me forget how long I’ve been working for!

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