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Tip 1 for Living the Freelance Writing Life: Know Where You Are Going

Updated on April 9, 2012

Begin Your Journey

Becoming a freelance writer is a lot like starting a road trip. You should have a destination in mind and a plan on how to get there. Otherwise, you will end up wandering around until you get tired and come back home. I've been feeling like I'm that wanderer and I've learned some things from my struggles, so I thought I'd share them with you.

Like any traveler, you need to sit down and figure out where you want to go with your writing. Take some time with no distractions to do this.

If You Were Rich

If you had all of the money you needed when you were planning a trip, you would choose to go somewhere that you love and have always wanted to see. When planning your writing career, pretend you don't need the money and think about the kind of things you want to write.

Do you dream of writing novels or beautiful poetry? Would you like to write a screenplay? Maybe it's not about what you write, but who you write for. Do you have a cause that you care about and want to influence people towards?

This is the kind of writing that inspires you; the kind that provides that passion to keep you going late into the night. Even if it doesn't make any money right now for you, it's just as important as the kind that does. It's what keeps you doing this every day.

So, without considering how much money you will make, create a statement about what is your dream to write.

Since You Do Need Money

After all of the dreaming, it's time to get serious about making money. Just like a traveler who has a budget and has to choose a destination that fits within that budget, a writer needs to think about the kind of writing they can do that will provide them an income.

You may have to do some research on this one, but come up with three or four kinds of writing that would provide an income that you are interested in doing. It could be copywriting, creating web articles for clients, writing articles on Hubpages and other sites, or writing magazine articles. There are dozens of ways to make money with your writing, so you need to figure out what you want to do.

Don't let the fact that you don't know how to write something stop you from listing it. The only requirement for something to make your list is that it can make you money and you are interested in it. You can always learn how to do it.

Where do you go?

Choose Your Writing Destination

Now it's time to create your destination as a writer. Combine the two areas of writing that you have listed, the dream and the reality, and write a plan. You want to allow time to work on writing that inspires you, but you also have to dedicate yourself to making a living if you want to do this full-time.

Be as specific as you can about how much you want to work and the kind of money you want to make. Don't worry if you are not sure. Put something down and you can change it later. This is supposed to be a living document for your writing that you will use and change as needed. It is not meant to be put in a drawer and forgotten about.

Choose Your Route

Every traveler must choose the route they will take to get to their destination. They must also decide what to take with them to help them on their trip. A writer must do the same. This part of your plan may not be completely decided in the beginning, especially if you aren't sure of your options. However, it pays to do some research to find out what is available and how you can get writing jobs and clients to begin making money.

The items you will take with you on your writing journey are the tools and resources you need. It is obviously any equipment that you will use, such as a laptop. But more than that, it will be any classes or education you need to learn about what you want to write. It may include attending a workshop or writer's conference or attending an online class. It could mean signing up to follow another writer's blog who is doing what you want to do. These tools will make it easier to achieve your goals.

By choosing the path you will take and writing it down in detail, it will prevent you from getting sidetracked on projects that never help you get where you want to go. It will keep you from being stuck in one place when you should be progressing. This is the area where I have struggled. I want to go from being a part-time writer to being a full-time one, but I'm overwhelmed by the work I have and can't work my way up the ladder. It's easy to just stop at one spot along the way, but you have to remember your goal and get back in the car and keep driving.

Enjoy the Trip

Writing is a lifetime journey until we are ready to retire. For some of us, that may be never. We have to take the time to enjoy the scenery as we go along, rather than being too focused on the destination. That is a lesson I'm still learning, but I keep reminding myself that I'm living my dream. I AM a writer. And you are, too.

Do You Have a Plan?

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    • htodd profile image

      htodd 5 years ago from United States

      Thanks a lot,Interesting post about freelance writing

    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 6 years ago from Missouri

      B. Leekley - I also get sidetracked, even while I'm writing. And I can get sidetracked taking on jobs that don't further my goals.

      Cyndi10 - Thank you for the feedback. It does take a lot of work and time. I'm still learning just how much it does take.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 years ago from Georgia

      This was excellent. Well thought out and executed. I enjoyed my journey up to this point, now i'm enjoying the writing journey. I agree with you, it takes a lot of work and it's not just the writing that takes time. There are so many other aspects to being successful in today's markets. Thanks for giving us a path.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 6 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Excellent idea excellently expressed. I have difficulty with the don't get sidetracked part.

    • cherrycrime26 profile image

      January Moon 6 years ago from NY, Now Living in Atlanta Ga

      Great Hug, great tips, the pay off in the long run is worth the wait, voted up

    • jm72writes profile image

      jm72writes 6 years ago from Missouri

      I agree with you. I feel like I am finally doing what I was meant to do.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sure glad I decided on this journey. I have never been happier. Great hub and I hope it inspires others to take the same path.