The top secret to a creative career?
It’s pretty simple: just start. Most people don’t.
Building a freelance writing career that can take you virtually anywhere in the world isn’t impossible. Through dedication, making the most of your current skills, and embracing a bit of risk, anyone can find writing gigs large and small that both fit their interests and open up a realm of possibilities.
The one question that constantly pops up is some version of, “But if it’s so easy, why don’t more people do it?”
It’s a fair objection.
What derails freelance writers once they’ve begun?
If you want to hear some wise words of advice from an experienced freelancer, read “Backpack, Pen, and Passport: Build a Freelance Writing Career to Travel the World”.
There are all sorts of reasons why aspiring freelance writers have a tough time sustaining their new venture. Sometimes the culprit is time management (especially when they’re in an amazing foreign country). Sometimes they just get burned out. And sometimes it’s one of the other 1,000 things that get in the way.
But the #1 reason new freelance writers give up is because they tackle every problem alone. Too often they reinvent the proverbial wheel rather than tap the advice and experience of the millions of writers who have come before them. Even when they make it through an issue, they’re unnecessarily fatigued and battle-scarred.
You won’t be the first one to find that it’s hard to make time to write — especially if you’re really not in the mood to sit down and mash some keys. Writers past and present have navigated problems with client relations/retention, cashflow, technology, energy, creativity, and more. If you can dream it up, thousands of people have already dealt with it.
If you wanted to buy a car, you’d do tons of research before committing. You’d read reviews and tap everyone who could provide insight so you could avoid getting stuck with a lemon. Freelance writing isn’t any different, and there are just as many resources available to make it easier.
Listen to the experts: tools to help you succeed
You aren’t alone, and it’s never been easier to match up with writers who actually want to help you solve those problems. Hearing podcasts are an excellent, free resource that can help you address your current issues or prevent others before they start. Taking some time each day to sit back and listen to successful writers share their professional expertise will help you avoid the pitfalls that cut freelance writing careers short:
Freelance Transformation with Matt Inglot. With over 130 episodes, Matt Inglot has already covered as much ground as a freelance writer can handle — and each episode still manages to address something new. Got a specific problem? Freelance Transformation’s library of episodes probably already has one to solve it.
Creative Writing Career. Even if you’re not interested in creative writing, CWC is an insanely useful, entertaining listen. The processes writers in different genres go through to develop their skills, their work, and their careers aren’t all that different.
High-Income Business Writing with Ed Gandia. HIBW is, as the name implies, more business-focused than other podcasts. Working in material like building a client base and charging appropriate rates is a solid contrast to some of the more creative-leaning shows.
Reading and Writing Podcast with Jeff Rutherford. Writers can get wrapped up in writing, and they should. But it’s important to remember that it’s actually about reading — you know, that thing people actually do with your writing? Rutherford’s podcast covers a range of genres and authors in a way that blends issues important to both producers and consumers of the written word.
Fire up iTunes or listen in a browser — just start exposing yourself to the thoughts and experience of writers who already know every facet of the business. Why do it all yourself when so many experts are throwing their help at you?