What to Do During Dry Spells if You're a Freelance Writer

 by Suzanne Lieurance

Once you get your freelance writing career going, you’ll probably find that it can be either “feast or famine” most of the time, meaning you have too much work to do, or not enough, or worse yet, periods when you have no writing jobs at all to do.

If you think about it, those dry spells are probably not so bad, except for the damage they can do to your checkbook.

After an extended period of “feasting” on one writing project after another, you probably need a little “down time” to recharge and get ready for the next cycle of work.

But that “down time” from writing assignments can be very productive—and it should be.

Use that time to look for new opportunities, and even create some opportunities yourself.

Make a list of businesses you want to send a LOI (letter of introduction) to, then spend an entire day doing nothing but getting these LOIs written and sent out (you probably already have a basic template for this that you just customize for each business, so it shouldn't be too difficult to get 30 or so LOIs written and sent out).

Develop a class or workshop on writing that you can offer online or even at a local school or community center.

Create a short e-book, tips booklet, or other informational products you can sell yourself, directly from your website (or blog), and get other writers to sell these items for you, too (you can create an affiliate program for your products).

Or get back to that novel you’ve been wanting to have time to write.

Or try your hand at writing in a different genre than you're used to.

You might really like it and you can create another lucrative income stream with books you sell in this genre.  

Once you’ve created something new, write a media release about it and send it out.

Also, remember this, even if you have a great website for your writing business or a professional profile at places like linkedin.com, don’t simply sit around waiting for clients to come to you.

Eventually, once you’ve developed a name for yourself in the writing world, you should have at least some clients who will contact you initially, but until then you need to do all you can to get your name before prospective clients and the public in general.

Start thinking of ways to do that.

The main thing is to avoid feeling discouraged at slow times.

If you use these times productively, they too will pass, and you’ll be ready for another busy work cycle before you know it.

Eventually, after you’ve had some practice budgeting for these slow periods, you’ll probably even find yourself looking forward to them (and you'll finally finish writing your novel).

Try it!

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Suzanne Lieurance is an award-winning author with over 40 published books and a writing coach. 

She offers The Monday Morning Shove, a live group coaching program for writers who want to get and stay focused, so they reach their writing goals.


Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for this article which helps writers handle the ebb and flow of the freelance life. I've found there is always more to write, read and learn. Those quiet periods are sometimes hard on my pocketbook but I can always be writing or reading or learning something which eventually will turn around my financial situation. It's key to keep moving forward and your article helps us do this critical process.

author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition)

Suzanne Lieurance said...

Hi, Terry,

Yeah, the dry spells are actually good. The trick is to make the most of them.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Happy holidays,


Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, these are wonderful tips on how to forge through the dry spells of freelance writing. I've taken your advice many times about continuing to work on marketing or creating other channels of income or my own work until clients start flowing again. It does help!

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