I often say that there are only three steps to a successful writing career (and I’ve written a free ebook on the subject). It’s true. You’ve got to write, rewrite and market.
- If you want to be a freelance writer you’ve simply got to write. There’s just no getting around it. And you’ve got to write regularly.
- Almost everything you (or I) write will need rewriting. Or at least some editing or polishing. There isn’t a single piece of writing, published or not that couldn’t be improved with some rewriting and/or editing.
- You need to market both your writing and yourself as a writer – you can get a copy of the booklet 40 Ways to Market Your Writing which has 40 ideas you can use as a start – and it’s free.
- When I wrote 6 Things You Really Need For Your Freelance Writing Business I knew number 6 is really the most important: What you really need is persistence, determination and moxie – that’s what makes you unstoppable.
The first day of your writing career
Assuming I had everything or almost everything in place what would I do knowing what I do now if I were starting all over again? My first day would look like this:
- I’d start with an idea list. I’d probably covert the list to a table with four columns, Idea, Publication, Sent, Result.
- As soon as I’d finished writing out a list, no matter if it were one idea or a dozen, I’d pick one and look for a market for it, probably using Writer’s Market, using the steps outlined in How To Read & Use a Market Listing. I’d add to the list every time I had a new idea.
- As soon as I found a market I’d start writing – which at first might only be a list of what I wanted to include.
- I’d plan on writing, really writing, about three hours. As soon as that piece was finished I’d submit it. If I got stuck or finished before the three hours were up I’d start another piece.
- I’d spend another 3 hours working on marketing me. The first hour of the first day I’d spend just listing what I thought my marketing might look like. I’d probably turn this into a table too so I could track my results. Then I’d spend two hours doing something from that list.That might be building a website, updating my blog, or cold calling, etc.
This is in fact pretty much what I did way back when. Oh sure, there were fits and starts and ups and downs. I had huge fears and self-doubts that delayed me, but didn’t stop me. There were kids and jobs and all the stuff of life. But I kept coming back to the writing, rewriting and marketing.
You’re opening day will look somewhat different than mine. In fact it might take you a week to cover all these bases, particularly if you’ve got a regular job. But unless you do all these things all the time, success at freelance writing is likely to be just a fantasy.
How did you get started? What questions do you have about starting?
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