10 Habits of Successful Freelance Writers

For most of the Freelance Writing Jobs community, it’s not enough to be a freelance writer. You want to be a successful freelance writer. However, freelance writing success isn’t found on a job board or even a blog. You can find your success by cultivating good habits and working hard to get ahead.

The most successful freelance writers know what it takes to be the very best:

1. Focus

The ability to complete projects without succumbing to distractions is important. When you’re constantly stepping way from your work space to check on kids, see what’s to eat or watch the news, you’re not getting much done. It will take more effort to finish a piece if you have to break your focus every ten minutes. The most successful freelance writers find times to work undisturbed. This might mean finding times to work when no one is home, or working at a place such as the library where there aren’t as many distractions. Focus enables writers  to stay on task, work without as many mistakes, and finish each project sooner than if they had to stop every 30 minutes to handle home matters.

2. Drive

What motivates you to stay on task and continue to find work? Successful freelance writers don’t stop at one project or client and they have more than one gig. They’re driven to land new clients and achieve higher rates of success and pay. If you’re driven you won’t stop at anything to achieve your goals. You won’t settle for only low paying gigs, but will instead use all your experiences as stepping stones to take it to the next level. Drive is what keeps us going. It gets us out of bed and through our day. We don’t procrastinate because we’re driven.  We’ll stop at nothing to get what we want.

3. Confidence

Successful freelance writers are confident. They don’t hope  and they don’t wish … they know they can get the job done. Their confidence shows through in every query letter, every job application and every writing project. Their confidence doesn’t keep them from applying for or accepting jobs, nor does it keep them from raising their rates and landing lucrative projects.

4. Communication

Successful freelancers know the importance of keeping the channels of communication open with their clients. They ask lots of questions and encourage questions from those they work for. They regularly inform their clients of a project’s progress and don’t let questions go unanswered for days. They know the onus is on them and if they don’t hear back from a client in a reasonable amount of time, they will make contact again. In short, successful freelancers don’t leave anything up to chance.


Perseverance goes hand in hand with the second item on our list, drive. Successful freelancers are where they are today because they don’t give up. Even when the going gets tough they continue. They don’t let rejection or famine stop them from their goals. They’re not spooked by the competition. They’re successful freelancers because they’re not quitters.

6. Goals

For successful freelancers it’s not enough to write and earn a living. They have goals. There’s a clear picture in their minds about what they want to achieve and how they will get there. They know what they want to earn, the types of writing they want to do, and what they hope to achieve with their writing. Each day is a carefully planned step in achieving their goals.

7. Collaboration

Successful freelancers work well with others. They don’t see other freelancers as competitors but more as collaborators. They find others to work with on book, blog, and ebook projects and outsource work when there’s overflow. Successful freelancers know they can’t fly solo all the time.

8. Follow Up

Successful freelancers follow up. They follow up on queries and letters of interest, and they contact their clients after a project is completed to ensure satisfaction. Successful freelancers ask clients if there’s anything else that’s needed and to be kept on file for future projects. Successful writers know how to give value with their experience.

9. Accept Feedback

Successful freelancers ask for and appreciate feedback. They enjoy hearing when a job is done to a client’s satisfaction, but also, they want to know when clients aren’t satisfied. Both positive and negative feedback are given the same consideration and all are opportunities for improvement.

10. Promotion

Successful freelance writers don’t wait for business to come to them. They promote and market their work and their business. They network online and offline in hopes of building brand awareness and a client base. They share online and attend networking events. They know promotion is key to success.

What are your successful habits?


2 responses
  1. Debbra Brouillette Avatar

    Excellent article! As a self-employed writer/editor for 30 years, I agree with all your points. You covered the topic well!

  2. Jeanne Avatar

    Nice post! Like the tips.

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