Originally published on August 25, 2015 @ 7:50 am
What is the biggest freelance writing mistake to avoid when you first get started?
Forgetting to write for yourself.
You see, almost every new business owner out there will make mistakes along the way. They'll try something that doesn't work, or they'll take a risk that doesn't quite pan out.
And freelance writers will make mistakes, too. It's bound to happen. Practically an inevitability.
We will take on a bad client even though we might know better. We will send a poorly-written proposal because we're in a hurry on a highly-competitive project. We will skip the downpayment because a client had kind eyes. We'll miss deadlines.
And while all of these things are important and can hurt your business, forgetting to write for yourself is a surefire way of putting you right out of business.
The Biggest Freelance Writing Mistake to Avoid is Forgetting to Write for Yourself.
After years of freelance writing for other people, I did something that I never thought I would do – I quit. I really did. I went back to school to learn family therapy.
And then, a few days later I realized how silly that was because of course I need to be able to make money while I was in school, right? So back to pitching emails I went.
But here's the thing, I was burnt out. I had already been freelance writing for nine years by this time, all through college and then some. And so the thought of having to go back into freelance writing even after going back to graduate school pained me. And I resented it.
Then 2015 happened. And 2015 was poised to be a great year. I graduated with a master of arts degree in Adlerian psychology. My thesis on how the deployment cycle affected military family stability was picked up for publication, and my professors all seemed to love me.
Then, after walking across the stage and receiving my robes, one of my professors said, “we need more writers in this profession.”
So I got home that night and went to work writing a new book. And I poured all my focus into this book. I hadn't felt that level of creativity and excitement about writing in a long time.
Now, that book has been published for 5 days on Amazon. It debuted at number 6 on the Kindle list for parenting books and number 1 for step-parenting.
And it's dawning on me: I love writing.
Of course, I've always known that. It's one of the reasons that freelance writing seemed like such a natural fit for me. Because I loved it.
And I'm willing to bet that it's a major reason why you wanted to start a freelance writing business.
Burning out had been a tragic side effect, but it wasn't because I fell out of love of writing. It was because I had forgotten how much I loved writing.
Those nine years I spent freelance writing, I was chasing the client: bidding on job boards and bidding sites, taking on any and all clients I could find. Juggling far more clients than I ever should have because I had to. The pay was low, which meant I had to take on more projects to pay my bills.
And most of the stuff I was writing I didn't even really care about. Sure, some of them were fun projects, but they weren't anything I was passionate about.
So, I made the decision to relaunch. I am moving away from those bidding sites, branding myself, and this time I am going to go into the social marketing niche which is a subject I care deeply about, and I'm starting over – but with 9 years of experience under my belt. But this time I am making one major change: I will not forgot to write for myself.
No matter how busy I get, no matter how many projects I end up working on, I am going to make sure to take some time every week to work on my own stuff: my own blog, my own book(s), my own projects. Because that's what keeps that love of writing alive – the writing.
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