If You’re a Freelance Writer, Don’t Make these Five Career Mistakes

November 15, 2012

This post was written by Shane Jones

Writing Tips  3 comments

Most freelance writers are just normal people trying to make it on their own in the online writing world. Starting your own writing business at home doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and when you work for yourself, you have to learn as you go.

Here are some common mistakes freelance writers make while trying to establish their career.

1. Second Guessing

As a writer, you must have confidence in your work. One of the easiest mistakes to make is doubting your own abilities. Second guessing yourself can cause you to over-think and over-edit your work. Remember, if you don’t have confidence in your writing, no one else will.

2. Over Booking

When you have work coming in from every direction, it can be exciting and overwhelming. You may want to take on every assignment for every client.

If you take on too much at once, you risk missing deadlines or turning in halfhearted work because you were rushed. Plan your time wisely and only accept work you can finish satisfactorily and on time.

3. Getting Too Comfortable

If you have a steady workflow, it is easy to rely on only your current clients. Getting too comfortable can cause you to stop marketing and looking for new clients.

If you make this mistake, when your workload starts to taper off, you’ll have no one to turn to. Try to set aside time every day for marketing and searching for new opportunities.

4. Dropping Assignments

You may encounter a situation in which you are committed to an assignment and are then offered a higher paying job. It may be tempting to drop your current assignment to write for higher pay. However, in the long run, this will just damage your reputation as a writer and possibly cut ties with one of your work sources.

Instead, explain to the higher paying client you have a previous commitment but would be happy to write for them in the future. They’ll respect your honesty and clarity, and will regard you as dependable.

5. Having the Hobby Mentality

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a freelance writer is thinking of writing as a hobby or a pastime. If you do not treat your writing as a serious career, you will never progress as a writer.

You cannot only write when you’re in the mood or when it is convenient if you really want to be successful as a writer. View your writing as a business that will require time, dedication and hard work. To make it, you need to be diligent and take pride in your business.

Avoid these common writing mistakes and you’ll save yourself some time, money and frustration.

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3 comments to If You’re a Freelance Writer, Don’t Make these Five Career Mistakes

  • A.M. Day  says:

    All very good and sound advice. #4 Dropping Assignments hit home for me. I’m not a new writer, but I hired someone to do a job for me within the industry and they did part of it and at the eleventh hour they bailed…on something they offered to do for me in the first place. And supposedly, this person has been in the biz for a while. Probably overbooking. Anyway, very good advice. I wish someone had shared this great advice w/the unprofessional that I hired.

    Thanks for the tips! Good for new and seasoned professionals all around.

  • Sonia G Medeiros  says:

    Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing. I agree it’s critical to treat writing like a career, even before we are published and even if we have “day jobs.” Writers have to write, rain of shine. It’s not always easy but it gets easier when we get into the habit and make the commitment.

  • Shane  says:

    Thanks Sonia and Thanks A.M.! Appreciate your comments!

    And definitely, if you give it enough time, I feel it’ll become like an addiction, and you’ll get so much more talented, and so much better. For instance, I believe Stephen King suggested writing 1000 words a day. Now that obviously for the big leagues, but the principle behind it still stands. If you wan’t to do something well, you need to practice it.

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