I’ve met some cocky people in my time who seem to think that just because they’re talented writers, they deserve to be hugely successful freelancers. BUT THEY’RE WRONG. Writing ability is just one slice of the freelance-writing pie. Here are some other of the other slices:
Are you sick of me banging on about this yet? Well, tough, because I’m not done yet. You’re never going to become a successful freelance writer if you don’t believe in yourself. Because if you don’t believe in yourself, no other fucker will either, because that sort of thing is really hard to hide. It shows up in your ums and your stutters and your ‘I usually charge’s. You need to become confident. Or at least learn to pretend you are, otherwise you’ll be stuck with asshole clients who’ll take advantage of you forever.
Did I write this article just because I wanted an excuse to say ‘gumption’? Maybe. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a point. So, what exactly do I mean by gumption? I mean a go-get-‘em attitude and the initiative to take matters into your own hands and figure out how to get shit done. Essentially, the ability and willingness to put the work in.
3. A Professional Attitude
Several things comprise a professional attitude. Integrity, good communication skills (you know, actually replying to emails promptly), responding politely when something isn’t going your way. Listen, you know what a professional looks like. And if you don’t, you’re in the wrong industry.
You may not think you have any connections. But you do. So don’t panic. Just make sure you tell everyone you know what it is you do these days, and that you’d love it if they could either a) point you towards somebody they know who might need a writer, or b) remember you when asked if they know any good writers. The more people who know what you do, the better. So get that info out there. ‘I’m a writer and I’m available for hire!’ Yeah, go you! Get your fine self out there. Because if nobody knows you exist, nobody’s going to hire you.
Seriously, one of the best ways to get clients is to have them referred to you by someone else. If that happens, you’re pretty much guaranteed a win: after all, somebody this client knows and (presumably) trusts has specifically recommended you for this job. Bam. You’re in.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you can become a successful freelance writer if you don’t understand how apostrophes work or whether or not there’s a difference between there and they’re. No indeed: if you’re a shitty writer, you’ll struggle, so you definitely need to make sure your skills are up to par. What I AM saying is that there are some other things you need too, and without those, you’ll still struggle — perhaps even more so. Because nobody wants to work with talented writers who don’t answer their fucking emails.