If you look at writers who successful you find that although their writing, their markets, and their whole approach to their career, they have some things in common. What it boils down to is that success in freelance writing is often a matter of choosing the right habits.
Each of these seven items is pretty much of equal importance. They knit together and performed regularly over time will weave together a successful freelance writing career.
You have a writing schedule that you can keep to most days/weeks. A successful writing career begins with writing regularly, whatever that looks like to you. Experiment until you find a writing schedule that works for you, knowing that over time it will change.
You have written goals about how much you want to earn. Study after study proves that people with goals are more successful than those who don't have them. This is true for writers too. John Soares has outlined the why and the how of goals for writers.
You have a marketing plan that you actually follow that moves you toward your goals. Marketing doesn't have to be complicated. You don't need a college degree. It's a learnable skill as Lori Widmer's wonderful book shows. Design a plan and stick with it. If you're not sticking with it, change it until you figure out what works for you.
You regularly review both your goals and your plans to reach them. Goals and plans probably need reviewing every six months or so. After all, life happens and things change. You want goals and plans you'll stick with and you want to be flexible enough to recognize when to change them. Those reasons can include everything from major life changes to the simple recognition they aren't working as well as they once did.
You have keep track of your money and have savings for taxes, business emergencies and growth, and an emergency fund for life. You treat your writing like the business it is. That means keeping track of your money and setting up savings for taxes, including self-employment tax, business equipment and other expenses and in case of emergencies
You regularly take time off. Everyone involved in a creative business - actually everyone working - needs time off. The word, recreation, is just that for writers and artists - time to re-create ourselves. Time off means everything from a nap to a wonderful month long travel adventure. Make sure you take care of yourself so your writing can take care of you.
Your turn: Which of these do you find most difficult? Tell us about it in comments.
Write well and often,
* A nod of thanks to Stephen R. Covey who wrote the original book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
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