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Freelance Writers – Want To Break In & Earn Big? Win This Contest

Carol Tice of Make A Living Writing and I are offering the How To Break In & Earn Big Webinar. We know how we did it but we want to make sure we get all your questions answered.

So I’m having a contest. (Can’t let Carol have the only contest can I?)

Tell me either:

  • What’s preventing you from really breaking into freelance writing?
  • What’s keeping you from earning big?

or both.

Post your statement or question or comment about these in comments below before Friday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. I’ll pick a winner who will win:

A free ticket to the Webinar! How about that! If you win and can’t attend you can give your prize away (let me know to who) or substitute for the audio, 40 Ways To Market Your Writing.

Spread the word; let’s see what’s on your mind.


{ 34 comments… add one }
  • I’ve always been a writer, and do my own blogging now. But, any advice about writing and selling ebooks would be wonderful. I am in process of writing with this intention, so this contest would be heaven sent!

  • At times I am reluctant, apprehensive, a tad overwhelmed or take the easy route out and “do some more research.” Should I exploit a popular subject matter with my own take? Or should I find the lonely and ignored niche market?
    I have the personal toolbox, the writing experience, the wisdom and a successful background of developing and launching projects.
    I guess I’m seeking that invisible wind at my back to guide my sails so I don’t have to make the choice myself. But if their are no winds I need to crank up my own engine.
    I’m sure there are no shortage of excuses, if anybody needs one I have a couple of spares. Get me into your webinar so I have an EXCUSE TO SUCCEED.
    After tipping my toe into the water, your webinar could push me into the water with a head first dive. Just promise me that I won’t be walking the plank.
    Seriously, I’m more than a little ticked at myself for not utilizing my talents further. I think the isolation of working for yourself is a double edged sword, it sometimes works against you.
    I have helped launch projects for others, now I need to launch my own project. I have the time to invest and now it is time to “just do it.”
    I have written evergreen stories for AOLSeed (before they slashed their payouts) and recently was the sole writer of breaking news for a new website that got into the top 100,000 sites in a matter of 100 days (then they had money problems). Prior to that I worked for 20 years in the “old” media- newspapers and Television.
    Hopefully, your webinar can be the wind at my back or the kick in the behind that I need!
    Thanks and Good Luck, Paul T. O’C

  • edna

    Can I just take the webinar? I’m sure I won’t win the contest. I’ve read many of the comments here which I can relate to and have gone through. I took other full time jobs for years and wrote on the side or as one person mentioned, sat in my cubicle thinking about writing. Out of all the fears and issues that held me back, in retrospect it was my lack of belief in myself and my abilities as a writer and marketer that were the strongest.
    One of the turning points for me was to writer on a topic that I knew about. I tried topics that I either went to school for or had done as a serious hobby. That worked better, so I kept pushing in that direction and answered every online writing and magazine opportunity I could find. Some went out of business, others got sold, another had his business deflate with the economy.
    Now I’m at a good point in my writing career where I have a main consulting gig that pays well and am picking up a few smaller gigs to supplement it and provide some variety.
    I could use help organizing and managing my writing projects and need help marketing my business. But I’m on the way and I’m grateful to be doing what I love to do.

  • Angela

    I’m too busy doing things for others that I don’t have the extra time or energy to devote to advancing my own personal career. I’m resolving to change that this year.

    • Angela, it’s tough… sometimes it means giving up something to create the time… not easy, but it can be worth it.

  • Anne, I don’t think anything is preventing me from breaking into freelance writing. It’s a wide open field and, if I work hard, learn from people who already made the journey (e.g., people like you!), hone my craft by writing often, deliver knock out copy, maintain a manner of professionalism and respect with clients, then … I think there will be room for me here. I know that it will take time, perseverance and prayer.
    Thank you for your committment in helping people like me!

    • You’re right, there’s plenty of room for more writers to earn a good living.

  • Wenona Napolitano

    I have trouble approaching possible clients, I’m not sure what to do or what to say.

  • Rita Cain

    I can’t really put a finger on my reluctance to make the commitment. I don’t have any excuses. I have a degree in journalism but I have always been employed in the energy industry. It has allowed me to support my family while finishing my education. My “job” has gotten in the way of my first “love” of writing.

    My children are grown, degreed and on their own. Three years ago I started a writing group in Tulsa. Our membership is 140+. I am responsible for guiding those writers yet I struggle with my own ideas and commiting them to paper. I believe my hesitancy involves a fear of failure and a need for encouragement. I know I need to roll up my sleeves and just DO IT. Thank you, Anne, for this opportunity to share. Rita

  • Tina

    I sat down to write at 8am this morning, I Had to make the bed.
    I sat down to write again, my husband needed to talk.
    I sat down to write again, I really needed to read the headlines.
    I look up from the headlines and it’s 11am. Jerry Springer is on followed by The Maury Show, followed by, followed by, followed by…
    I’ll sit down and start again after I go for my power walk, alone, so I can gather my thoughts and think about what I need to do in order to continue my story… Ok I’m back. My creative juices are flowing, my writing chair is warm and comfy…I’ll just peek at the afternoon headlines…and so goes my day. 🙂

  • Hey Anne,

    My biggest stumbling block is spending too much time on low paying assignments that I don’t have time to market for better ones!!! Because I work full-time as a paralegal for a university, my freelance career is part-time at this point, which is even more reason to make the most of the time I have to write by finding better paying assignments. That is my goal for 2011 🙂

  • I think my biggest problem (out of a thousand) is lack of confidence. I tell myself all the time that I believe in myself, but I immediately echo that with, “right?”

    “I CAN do this, right?”
    “I’m a good writer, right?”
    “I’ll make it big one day, right?”

    As you can see, those ‘right’s are breaking my confidence, but I just can’t get rid of them. Every time that I have to explain to me wife that I’m going to spend the afternoon working on my novel, and she says, “It’s not work unless you get paid,” my confidence goes down. Every time I have to beg and plead to the land lady if I could pay rent on the fifteenth, my confidence goes down. I finish November with more than 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, confidence goes up. I read the crappy story that I wrote, and just how stinky it really is, my confidence goes down.

    I guess if I ever want to be a successful freelance writer, I’ll have to really believe in myself and my writing, and I’ll have to get rid of those ‘right’s (somehow). THEN I’ll make it big (right?).

  • Cindi

    Lack of a solid plan is keeping me from success as a freelancer. I have spent the last 2 years shooting in the dark with very little success; this year, I’m learning from my mistakes and looking for a plan to follow. That’s why I believe attending your How to Break In and Earn Big Webinar would benefit me: it would give me a plan to follow to success. Thank you for the opportunity to win a free ticket and thank you for the newsletter. I appreciate and use the information.

  • Whether I win your contest or not, I want to thank you for posing the question. Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about my restraints from breaking in and earning – well, anything close to a living wage. Like so many other brave and wonderful writers above have commented, my restraints are:

    *lack of appropriate knowledge (how and where to market, focusing my niche)
    *an overwhelming sense of information overload when I try to rectify the first point
    *a continuous, unrelenting need to keep food in my stomach and a roof over my head, meaning every effort must count

    It would be wonderful to talk with a pro one on one about these issues. I feel as if I’m just on the edge of breaking through and the smallest amount of mentoring could be enough to tip the scale. Your offering is much appreciated and serves as new incentive to keep up the effort.

  • I broke into freelancing a few months back and have made pretty good progress so far. I haven’t gone full time yet, though, because I’m afraid I won’t make enough money. My writing is solid and I’m confident of that, but I’m still learning how to market myself. It’s challenging because I’m having to convince myself that yes, I can be a salesperson!

  • Paul Marshall-Lessley

    I’m not completely sure what is holding me back Anne, my inability to clinch a niche and stick with, or my frustration over too many writing gigs not paying enough for the style of writing I sincerely enjoy penning.

    I am wholly aware of my reticence at networking, but I can’t seem to get by it. After all, I know that once I open the door for communication, things become noticeably easier, but breaking the ice tends to be a bit awkward.

    Decent paying writing jobs have come my way before, but they have been one-time deals. I wish I knew how to secure the long-term gig I have been dreaming of. I plan on attending your webinar if my rowdy (and sometimes motley) crew of kids cooperate. If not, I fully expect to purchase the text format.

    Looking forward to the engagement,

  • I am terrified. Of succeeding, of failing, of just simply doing! I don’t have the confidence I need in myself. I won’t put myself out there. I am afraid of taking risks. I talked about this with a good freelancer friend of mine and she said, “Maybe you are afraid of succeeding.” So, that’s what I need help getting over. These are things that are preventing me from breaking into freelance writing. I haven’t even begun to think about earning big bucks from my work. I just need to get started.

  • Diana Dart

    I’ve definitely broken in, but I think the biggest obstacle that is preventing me from earning big is… me. I don’t have the confidence to set the rates I hear about and I’m too busy doing the lower paying jobs to really market myself properly. Ugh. Niche is building, but my own skills and lack of focus are the next hurdles to leap over (or barrel down).

  • My own motivation level is my biggest obstacle. That and my desire to have a steady income. I make decent money (not spectacular, but decent) writing for smaller markets and content mills because I fear devoting the time and energy to write a piece on spec for a larger market only to have it rejected. I fear looking like a fool to the editor and to the sources I used for the article.

    I am comfortable where I am, so although I would tell you I am a gambler, the truth is I am not a risk taker. I need to better market my skills, demand payment that is in line with quality of my work and take risks. I also need to balance my life and dedicate my time to what I truly want to accomplish instead of Facebook games, newsletters about being a writer and such, and instead actually write.

  • Jenn Crowell

    For me, breaking in to freelancing in a consistent fashion (not the occasional gig here and there) is difficult because I feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of research involved — looking for paying gigs, networking locally, investigating markets to pitch. I need to develop a schedule or structure for those tasks to make them more manageable — otherwise I shut down from overload.

  • Jen

    My biggest obstacle is marketing. I started freelance writing after I got a part-time consultant gig that pays me enough money to get by. The part-time work has been a wonderful safety net that I’m grateful for. I’ve also had success with a university magazine. But both of these jobs came because I knew the people who were hiring. I can be very introverted, so I struggle with blindly marketing myself to people who don’t know anything about me.

    Thanks for listening!

  • How much time do you have to read about my restraints?? Here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version:

    1. My writing is too scattered. I need to find a niche and focus on it. (Should I focus on B2B copywriting, auto responders, direct marketing, travel writing — that I love but the pay stinks — or what??)
    2. I don’t have experience in areas that I want to write for and am not sure how to go about getting it.
    3. Full-time work = writing time plucked out from the need-to-clean-the-house-go-grocery-shopping-and-sleep-at-least-5-hours-a-night conundrum.
    4. I want to be able to ask questions and get directions from a pro.

  • My own lack of imagination! when it comes to new oppurtunities. I’m a published writer who need to find a way to really make a living – as a writer. So I have broaden my field from poetry to prose, from prose to copywriting to blogging. But i have only just begun. Now I want to start looking for oppurtunities to earn some money – but how and where – that’s the question.

  • What stops us from being successful is not our lack of desire but our abundance of obstacles; most often, the greatest obstacle is fear. Perhaps I fear commitment, rejection, or discipline. Perhaps I fear the hard work.

    For me, the hard work is not writing, but rather finding the gigs, marketing myself, and setting reasonable fees. I don’t have a niche market so will try anything from email campaigns and press releases to feature articles for non-profit organizations. But I find these mostly through freelance sites and have not established relationships with clients. As well, this type of writing, as opposed to creative writing, is not really where my passion lay; it is hard to be successful without having your heart in it. A person can only be enthused for so long writing web copy that feels meaningless.

    It is a piece-meal operation at the moment which requires risk and a great commitment to the process of establishing myself.

  • What stops us from being successful is not our lack of desire but our abundance of obstacles; most often, the greatest obstacle is fear. Perhaps I fear commitment, rejection, or discipline. Perhaps I fear the hard work.

    For me, the hard work is not writing, but rather finding the gigs, marketing myself, and setting reasonable fees. I don’t have a niche market so will try anything from email campaigns and press releases to feature articles for non-profit organizations. But I find these mostly through freelance sites and have not established relationships with clients. As well, this type of writing, as opposed to creative writing, is not really where my passion lay; it is hard to be successful without having your heart in it. A person can only be enthused for son long writing web copy that feels meaningless.

    It is a piece-meal operation at the moment which requires a great commitment to the process of establishing oneself.

  • DeAnn Owens

    Dear Anne and Carol,
    Thank you for this opportunity. I need all the help I can get! I am on the beginner’s edge of a freelancing career. I have found modest success with newspapers and a national trade magazine, but these gigs are not enough to give me the career I want or pay the bills. I have been dreaming of being a professional writer forever, and honestly, if I could do anything else, I would. I now realize ignoring my love of writing to focus on a more traditional 9-5 career is just counterproductive because whatever cube I am in, I’m just dreaming of writing. I have read a lot about how to freelance, and I am a bit paralyzed by the conflicting information. I just don’t want to start out on the wrong foot and jeopardize my career before it really gets going.
    Thank you so much for listening!
    Take care,

  • Super idea, Anne! I think all of us – even those of us who have lucrative careers – can learn a thing or two about how to do better.

    Good luck to those who enter (keeping myself out of the running so others may benefit).

  • Fajr

    Honestly, I could blame not breaking into freelance writing on my full-time job or not enough hours in the day. But ultimately what you give time to is what your life becomes. For me it is a combination of fear of failure mixed with not knowing where to start. I have clips under my belt, but I’m stuck at what to do next.

  • edj

    I just feel overwhelmed. I don’t know what I’m doing. I believe I’ve got the talent, the ability, the knowledge, and the commitment–but somewhere in there it all breaks down. Maybe I’m just scared.

  • I believe that what is really stopping me from doing what I need to do to get out and get into the freelance world is fear of failure. I have written things here and there and get good reviews, but I fear putting myself completely out there. I know I shouldn’t, but it almost seems as if it is an uncontrollable beast. I have, however, made it a goal to put myself out there a little more in 2011, regardless of my fears!

  • Shyness! I’m not a very good networker, even though a lot of my jobs have come that way! I need to be brave and just go for it.

  • I think part of it is psychological – not liking to talk about money, not daring to ask for more in case they then decide to use someone else.
    The other part is moving to the next level. I have lots of experience writing for regional mags and publications, but that doesn’t seem to count for much when applying to larger pubs – they still want to see what other nationals I’ve written for.
    I know I can do this; I just need to break down a few barriers (real or perceived).


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