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Published Article
by Patricia Fry

How to Finally Build a Freelance Career
Or Finish That Writing Project

By Patricia Fry

A new season is upon us. Are you ready to take your writing business to the next level? Will you finally complete that novel in 2009? Despite years of putting off your dream, you can succeed. You can earn a living as a freelance writer. You can experience the joy of authorship. Here are some suggestions to help you move closer to your writing goals.

  1. Schedule time each day to write. Make writing a priority just like you do feeding the dog, working out and going grocery shopping. You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in smaller pockets of time. I once wrote a 200-page book in eight months while writing for only two hours per day.
  2. Do five things every day toward your writing goal. For example:
    - Write five paragraphs or five pages of your novel.
    - Come up with five article ideas (or send out five reprints).
    - Make five book promotion contacts. (Submit your book to five reviewers or booksellers, locate five book festivals and other book promotion opportunities within your state, send out five newspaper press releases.)
  3. Spend time at least once a month promoting your writing business. Develop a marketing letter and send it to potential clients or introduce yourself and your expertise to new editors, for example.

    Last year, when my business slowed down, I sent letters to half dozen local businessmen and women reminding them of my editorial services. I promptly landed two good assignments.
  4. Get creative when it comes to your writing business, article work or book promotion.
    • Find new ways to work with clients: writing resumes, creating brochures or rewriting employee manuals, for example.
    • Expand your article base. Tweak old articles to fit very different kinds of magazines, seek out new magazines and come up with new article topics for familiar editors. Reframe your spiritual piece on how to help a friend through the grieving process to fit a mainstream or young adult magazine. Rewrite your article on pet therapy dogs for a regional magazine. Pitch a true adventure story for that new magazine you found.
    • Discover how to get more exposure for your book. Seek new venues and schedule speeches on the topic of your published book. Promote your book to libraries across the country. Enter your book in appropriate contests—award-winning books are more appealing to consumers.

  5. Stay positive. As a writer, you are constantly setting yourself up for rejection. Your articles are rejected. Your writers group is critical of your work. You criticize your writing. It’s hard to come by positive feedback.

    Here’s how I conquer this writer’s curse.
    • I display things in my office that make me feel accomplished and loved. I have my published books around me, of course, and then there are family photos, treasured gifts from friends, certificates and ribbons I’ve won and some of my best photography.
    • I connect often with my most positive and supportive friends and family via brief emails and phone chats.
    • I take mini-vacations almost every day. I spend an hour walking amidst stands of oaks, along a nearby river, around a lake or at the beach. Go out and ride your bike, walk the dog, sit and read an uplifting book or play with a kitten or a child, for example.
    • I frequently engage in something creative outside of writing. I spend time in my garden or working on a needlework project. Other authors I know paint, draw, do woodwork or participate in little theater.

If you’d like to establish yourself as a freelance writer, you’re tired of looking at that unfinished manuscript or you want to set new goals for selling copies of your book, make this your year of achievement. Incorporate these ideas into your lifestyle now and you, too, will do yourself proud.


Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for 27 years, having contributed articles to numerous magazines. She published her first book in 1983 and now has many self-published and traditionally published books to her credit including: The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, A Writer?s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book [Author's Note: Right Way has been retired. See my most recent books in the left column of this page.].

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