After about four years of freelance writing and ghostwriting, I have managed to get mediocre success and gain some accomplishments I am quite proud of. Here are the top six.
1. Finding Private Clients
From what I can tell, a lot of freelance writers start the same way I did; with content mills. While they are great for getting your feet wet, learning proper grammar and sentence structure, and building your portfolio, it wasn’t the end goal for me. In the beginning, I just wanted to earn a living writing from home. Before too long, though, I wanted more for what I put into it. I consider my private clients a big accomplishment because they chose me out of others they considered to handle their writing projects, and I was able to escape the content mill tornado of chaos.
2. Finishing NaNoWriMo. Twice.
This is more for the inner creative writer in me. My “novels” were terrible, but I finished, and that’s the point. They call it literary abandon for a reason. NaNoWriMo is a challenge that happens every November for 30 days, where you attempt to write a 50,000-word novel, story or novella. “Winning” Nano means you finished your 50,000 words in 30 days. To some, this seems incredibly difficult, and to others, incredibly easy. If you’re like me and write a good 10,000 words daily for your job, it doesn’t seem that hard. However when it comes down to it, it takes a lot of dedication to find the time and energy to write this month when you’re still trying to live your life.
I have attempted Nano for the last 3 years: the first year I failed miserably, the second year I finished in only 14 days and this past year I finished with only about 2 days to spare.
3. Being Referred by Other Clients and Writers
All creative types want validation, and this is why I love being referred. Not only have these fellow writers or clients paid me to work for them, but they referred me to others. About half the clients I have right now are from other clients who happened to know someone that needed a writer. Networking works!
4. Making a Full-Time Income
That is the goal, right? When I first started writing a few years ago, I may have had dreams of doing it full time, but realistically, didn’t think it was plausible. When it did become a reality, I was ecstatic. This was actually my job. My real job. I could actually call myself a “writer” though I rarely do. Even on days when I just want a break or a paid day off or to not sit in front of a computer 12 hours a day, I try to remember that this is the dream. This is what I wanted to be doing.
5. Calling Myself a Writer
Speaking of using that 6-letter word, I still struggle with it. If someone asks me what I do for a living, I say I write, but I don’t say I’m a writer. Why? No clue. It’s one of those words that feels strange coming out of my mouth. But it’s still an accomplishment, because I can say I’m a writer, that’s what I do. I may not be a novelist, but I get paid for putting words together.
6. My First Article on Yahoo! Shine
It’s easy to be published by Yahoo! Contributor Network, but when you get into the special areas of the site, it’s a whole different ballgame. At one point a few years ago, the site was asking for requests for their different sections. I submitted this article and it was approved. At the time, it felt like a big deal since I made it off the contributor floor and onto the actual official Yahoo! floor. It’s a little embarrassing going back and reading my writing from those days, but still something I’m proud of.
Looking forward, there is a lot more I want to do, but it’s nice reflecting on the successes you have already had. Happy writing!