If you’re like me, the first year of freelance writing is full of ups and downs. In my first year, I made money, gained clients, lost clients and learned more than I had ever bargained for!
At the beginning of my writing career, I had a hard time focusing on the core issues to develop my business. I found that I was spending too much time on tasks that weren’t vital to my success and not enough time on the things that were.
I’m here to tell you the three most important things I learned in my first year as a freelance writer, so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did!
3 Lessons The First Year of Freelancing
1. Find a Mentor
When I started freelancing I had so many questions. What’s a pitch? How do I even write a pitch? How much should I charge? I quickly realized that I needed help.
Internet searching wasn’t cutting it. I needed help from an experienced freelancer, someone that I could ask questions of and get guidance from. That’s when my friend and now writing coach, took me under her wing and guided me every step of the way.
With a writing coach or mentor, I knew that I was getting accurate information from an expert.
I could have searched the internet to find bits and pieces of the information I needed. However, having someone who has already gone through the process helped to develop my business with my goals in mind.
It’s hard to ask for help, and it’s even harder to pay for help. I get it. But in the long run, I learned the information faster, more accurately and had more fun doing it!
2. Be Persistent
My first year as a freelance writer I knew that it would take work but I never could’ve dreamt how much work. I wanted to give up. Editors weren’t accepting my pitches, writing boards weren’t showing any great leads. I was stuck.
Yet, I kept at it. I kept pitching, writing and blogging. It took time and a whole lot of persistence but one day I received an email from an editor. A company actually wanted ME to write for them.
Whenever I felt like my business wasn’t progressing, I had to keep moving. I suggest joining a writing group with people in your writing niche. It’s a great way to both network and learn from other people’s experiences.
Another tactic to keep myself moving forward was to stay accountable to something or someone. I like to have a writing schedule with blocks of time devoted to work. You might find having a friend or coach keeping you on track works. Find something that works for you and stick with it. Progress will happen!
3. Just Do It
Nike knows what they’re talking about. When it comes to writing, Just Do It!
My first year, I was nervous and hesitant. I didn’t want to make mistakes. I let fear slow me down. I questioned every move I made. Once I let go of the fear I started writing. I gained the confidence to develop a website and write blog posts, articles and so much more!
If you’re having a hard time making the first move like I was, try not to overthink it. Start writing blog posts or journal privately to get the creative juices flowing. Just the act of writing will spur new ideas and give you the motivation to move on to bigger and better projects.
Another tip to get started is to write what you know. It’s so much easier to jump into freelance writing when you’re writing about things you know well. I’m a nurse and mom, so it’s easy to write about health and parenting topics. If you love gardening or photography you’ll find writing about those topics comes naturally.
The saying, “nothing worth having comes easy” is a phrase that I repeat to myself when I’m in doubt or struggling.
That first year of freelancing can be tough! How are you going to make it through your first year? Take my advice: find a mentor, stay persistent and just do it. After a year of ups and downs, these three lessons always held true to my freelance writing wins.
Patty Weasler BSN, RN, CCRN is a health and wellness writer with experience in nursing education and writing healthcare content. As a certified critical care nurse with more than a decade of experience, she draws from her strong clinical background to provide the best content for her clients.