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My Biggest Freelance Writing Mistake

October 3, 2007 5 comments

freelance writingIn the last blog post I made, I promised I would blog about the biggest mistake I made in my freelance writing career. Therefore, since I intend to keep my promise, that is what I will be blogging on today. So, Michele, since you did tag me for a meme, it will be my next blog entry, which I plan to enter either tomorrow or the next day. Thanks for the tag, and I'm looking forward to it very much!

The biggest freelance writing mistake I made was one I knew better than to make, but for some reason I didn't listen to the angel on my shoulder telling me, "Now, Misti you know you're not supposed to depend on this so you'd better fix the problem soon." Instead, I listened to the angel on the other shoulder -- the evil angel -- and he told me, "You're good to go. There's no reason to waste time right now, just keep on doing what you're doing." Errrr… I could kick myself in the butt for not following the advice of the good angel, but it's too late now.freelance writing jobs

I know you're dying to know what I did, even though I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, but I'll share it with you with the hopes that you'll learn from my mistake. You see, several months back I landed my first BIG freelance writing job. This freelance writing job put an additional $500 a month income into my pocket. Yes, for me that was big, and I was persistent in following-up with the editor for that job. However, as many freelance writers know, you can't always depend on the freelance writing jobs to last forever. Why? Well, because some companies, publications or etc. may not make it, some will pay for a while then one day stop paying, or something unexpected may pop up that causes you to lose that freelance writing job. With that said, you should ALWAYS have a few other clients as well, just in case one doesn't work out. With no other clients under your belt, if something happens that causes you to lose the only big freelance writing job you have, then you lose a big chunk of the income you've been depending on to pay bills, feed your family and etc..

As I said, I was persistent in following up on that job. When I first applied, I sent the editor my cover letter as well as clips to some of my past articles, which were relevant to the freelance writing job I replied to. Within 24 hours, the editor replied to tell me she loved my writing and my style, but unfortunately, she already had a writer for the job I applied for. However, she did tell me since she liked my writing, she would keep my information on file in case another freelance writing position came open. One week later as I was searching the job boards as usual, I ran across another freelance writing job opening by this editor. I remembered her saying she would keep my information on file, so I typed a quick e-mail to remind her of what she said, and then I let her know I was interested in the freelance writing job she had just posted. She did remember me, and to my surprise, I got the job and began work the following month! I worked hard to get this freelance writing job, because I wasn't making very much with the gigs I currently had under my belt, and of course, hubby was telling me, "You have to do something. I need help with the bills." The only income I had at the time was writing articles for Associated Content, which we all know doesn't pay a whole lot, and there were times when they didn't offer me what I believed to be a fair rate for non-exclusive rights, so I would decline their offer. Then there was the normal submission process, and as all writers know, this can produce several rejection letters. Furthermore, when you get an acceptance letter, sometimes you have to wait months for the payment to arrive. To make a long story short, I was only making around $200 a month, so I had to do something.

I was so excited about the new freelance writing job and the extra $500 that I failed to listen to the good angel telling me to keep on searching and applying for more freelance writing jobs as a back up. Moreover, the job I had taken required much more work than I had expected, so my time was limited. In fact, the work involved was worth more than $500 a month, but we needed the money, and $500 a month wasn't necessarily chump change.

I can honestly say that now I wished I hadn't listened to the evil angel, because hubby's complaining again, and now I have to start at the bottom. I think I got lucky last time getting that freelance writing job so quickly, because this time it seems like it's taking forever. I have applied to several freelance writing jobs in the past two months and still have nothing. I do get responses, but they tell me they hired someone with more experience, which is understandable. In addition, writing for Associated Content just isn't doing it for me. They have lowered their offers significantly since they launched their new pay for performance, and because of their unreasonable offers, I have been declining some. Don't get me wrong, the pay for performance is great on top of their already one-time offer, but I do believe they could go back to making at least halfway decent offers, because from what I hear, Associated Content makes a lot more money than they pay their writers. Hmmm… I think I'll research this a little more; I'm curious.

I think I've rambled long enough now, but I hope that my biggest freelance writing mistake has taught you not to depend on one freelance writing job -- no matter how much it pays. ALWAYS keep searching for other freelance writing jobs and applying to them, because you never know when the one you just got will no longer be there, and then you'll be in the same boat I am in now, if you too listened to the evil angel instead of the good one. Please, friends, don't make the same mistake I did.

PS
If you believe in prayer, please pray that the Lord will help me find the freelance writing jobs I need to feed my family of six -- three children, and including myself, three adults. I pray every night, but the more you have praying for you the better, right?

Oh, yes, before anyone asks, yes, I could go back to work and write too, but I don't think my Asthma will let me.

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5 comments: to “ My Biggest Freelance Writing Mistake so far...

  • Lillie Ammann 1:44 AM CDT
     

    Misti,
    E-mail me and tell me a little more about the kinds of freelance work you are looking for. Sometimes I turn down projects that aren't right for me, but I always wish I knew someone interested in and qualified for that kind of work to refer. Most of what I get is editing - not sure if you're interested in that. In the not-too-distant past, I've turned down editing academic papers and a children's book.

  • Irreverent Freelancer 9:22 AM CDT
     

    Tag, you're it! See details here: http://irreverentfreelancer.blogspot.com/2007/10/8-random-things-about-irreverent.html.

  • Michele L. Tune 10:07 AM CDT
     

    Thanks for sharing, Misti, I know it took "guts!"

    Keep persevering. Isn't that what writers are all about? Trudge through the rejections, wait for editors to call, email, respond in any way so we'll know one way or another if we get that check...

    Be encouraged!

    Remember:

    Never give up on your dreams--work toward them!--Misti Sandefur

    Smiles,
    Michele

  • Misti Sandefur, Novelist/Freelance Writer 11:53 PM CDT
     

    Lillie, I appreciate your generous offer and will return the favor. As you already know by now, the e-mail has been sent, and the other things we spoke about in the e-mail that is more urgent, they should be sent tomorrow. ;)

    Michele, thanks so much for your encouraging words; they really helped. I haven't given up by any means... I could never give up on my writing anyway, because if I did, I think I'd go crazy. ;) As for my dream, I've not given up on it either. I just have to push myself more and work harder.

  • Nikki Leigh - Author 9:41 AM CDT
     

    Any person who is self employed and that certainly includes freelancers have to keep looking for work. Its never good to sit back and think that there's plenty of work coming in. Unless I have at least 2 months of work lined up or 2 months of income in the bank, I'm always searching for work. Even if not actively searching the job boards for work, keep your eyes open for the next job :) I can't get family and friends to understand that if I'm not working, there's NO money coming in and I've discovered the mortgage company just doesn't care if there's no work available :)

    Nikki Leigh
    www.nikkileigh.com