Don't Give Up on Freelance Writing too Soon

Since I’m a writing coach, all too often I see people give up on freelance writing too soon.

They quickly manage to get their first writing assignment, but when more assignments don’t come so quickly or easily, after a few weeks (yes, just a few weeks), they often give up and decide the freelance writing life isn’t right for them after all.

They decide to get a regular job – or stick with the regular job they already have.

They still dream about being a writer, so they decide to write a novel in their spare time to keep this dream alive.

This is okay.

But if your dream is to have the freedom (and money) of a fulltime freelance writing career, don’t give up on that dream too soon.

Here’s what to do instead:

1. Make a point of finding 3 writing jobs to apply for every weekday morning.

Notice I didn’t say make of point of looking for 3 writing jobs.

I said make a point of finding 3 writing jobs.

Years ago, when I was starting out as a freelance writer, I quickly discovered that if I just said I was going to look for 3 jobs every weekday morning, many times I looked but didn’t find any jobs to apply for.

But when I changed my goal to actually find 3 writing jobs to apply for and then apply for them, my writing career quickly took off.

Sure, some of the assignments I accepted weren’t my “dream” work, but they gave me experience and income and led to other, better opportunities.

One note here: If you’re confused about which jobs you should apply for on job boards, decide to become an expert at just one or two types of writing services.

Then go after only those types of jobs.

For example, if you want to offer resume writing and related services (like media kits, etc.), then go after only those types of jobs.

When you know exactly the type of jobs you're looking for, you'll be surprised at how quickly you find them.

2. Besides checking job boards, look for writing opportunities on your own.

For example, if you write for children, look through a children’s writers market guide for publishers who hire freelance writers and accept resumes, then send them a cover letter and your resume.

If you want to write for businesses, find several businesses in your area and call and introduce yourself and tell them what you do, or send a letter of introduction to the owners of these businesses.

You can also go to networking events (in person) where local businesses owners go.

This is a great way to find new business clients.

Also, send out queries to local and regional magazines.

I did this when I was just starting and landed a job as a regular columnist for a local publication.

This gave me some income, some great clips for my resume, and some experience working with an editor.

3. Connect with other freelance writers.

Established freelance writers have all sorts of contacts and tend to know about writing opportunities that aren’t advertised.

Surprisingly, most writers are willing to share this information, particularly if a writing opportunity is in an area outside of their expertise or if they’re booked solid and don’t need more work at the moment.

Join a freelance writer’s group (local or online) and make a point of interacting with the other writers in this group regularly.

I’ve gotten all sorts of jobs this way and I’ve also helped other writers get jobs.

Don't give up on a freelance writing career too soon.

Do what it takes to create a little momentum.

Once you do, it won't be long before your writing career really takes off.

Try it!

For more tips to help you build your freelance writing career, get your free subscription to The Morning Nudge at

Suzanne Lieurance is a fulltime freelance writer, writing coach, certified life coach, and the author of over 30 published books. Learn more about her services at


Karen Cioffi said...

Wow, Suzanne, what great tips on keeping your freelance writing career going. It's so true that a writer can easily become discouraged, but applying these tips will definitely help get results.

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Thanks, Karen. And thanks for sharing the post.

Happy writing!

Anne Duguid Knol said...

There's also the rule of twelve. With twelve submissions always doing the rounds, you have a great chance of one always being accepted. :-)

Anne Duguid Knol said...

There's also the rule of twelve. With twelve submissions always doing the rounds, you have a great chance of one always being accepted. :-)

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hi, Anne,

Yep. I think I've written an article about the Rule of Twelve for Writers on the Move - if not, there's one at my coaching site.

Happy writing!

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Not giving up is the key. Having a support group to keep you going also helps.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

@Anne Duguid Knol, I love your rule of twelve. You also don't have time (or maybe the memory) to worry about your entries. You're too busy submitting! (-:

Unknown said...

Hi Suzanne,

Just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful advice. It seems to me like you might quite possibly be a little bit psychic, seeing as how I felt as if you were reading my mind for the better part of this post. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for the early morning motivation. I especially liked the advice on FINDING three freelance jobs on a daily basis. That type of perseverance is sure to bear fruit. Thanks again!

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hi, Lubaina,

Funny you should say I must be psychic. I got emails from people everyday who read my Morning Nudge and say they feel as if I read their mind and knew exactly what they needed to hear that day. But I'm not psychic. I just know what other writers are going through and thinking. Happy writing!

How to Sell Your Book in Bulk

  by Suzanne Lieurance Did you know that studies have shown that most self-published authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book?   Tha...