10 Reasons Why That Other Writer Always Seems to Get Ahead


Ever wonder why some writers seem to do so well with their careers while yours is just sort of hanging steady? “It must be luck.” You tell yourself – and anyone who will listen. “That person isn’t as talented, he was only at the right place at the right time.”

Before you get jealous and start writing off that other writer’s success as luck, think about why he did so well.  Hard work and dedication pay off, complaining doesn’t. There are plenty of good reasons some freelance writers are doing better than you, and it probably has nothing to do with luck.

10 Reasons Why That Other Writer Always Seems to Get Ahead

  1. Hard work: Anyone at the top of the field didn’t get that way by being lucky. That writer worked hard. He built up his portfolio, his contacts and his reputation. He didn’t sit around wondering why he wasn’t a success, he set out to become a success and reached his goal. If you’re worrying about other writers, you have too much time on your hands. Turn that into something more productive.
  2. Focus: That other writer is a success because he’s not off doing 100 other things. He’s focused on the task at hand. His success isn’t an accident and it’s not luck. He had his eye on on the prize, he focused on his work and he did what he set out to do. Instead of thinking about competition, focus on your own career. Eliminate distractions.
  3. Drive: Successful freelancers are committed. They drive themselves to do their best. They’re not comfortable in the middle of the road, they’re in the passing lane because they want to win the race. Worrying about competition slows us down. Good writers know luck is just an excuse.
  4. Networking: Successful writers aren’t sitting at home, twittling their thumbs wishing fellow freelancers ill will. They’re doing what they have to in order to land clients and align themselves with other writers. Successful freelancers don’t rely on luck. They rely on opportunity and good connections.
  5. Commitment: That other writer is committed to doing the best job he can. You see, luck will only get you so far. Talent, skill and dedication also come in to play. If someone is committed enough, he’ll succeed. You can gripe about it, or you can get ahead too. It’s better to make your own success than to make your own luck.
  6. Outlook: Successful freelancers have a positive outlook. They’re not complaining about the other guy, because they want to help the other guy.  They don’t pass up an opportunity because they’re unsure, they know they can do it. Positive people have positive experiences.
  7. Attitude: That other writer? He doesn’t think he’s perfect. He’s not arrogant. He doesn’t call people names if they don’t do things his way or share the same ideas. He has a positive attitude towards himself – and other people. This shows through in his work. He doesn’t get offended and his artistic integrity doesn’t suffer if a customer asks for a change or revision. His clients and colleagues love his attitude because it doesn’t bring them down.
  8. Grace: Instead of looking to take down fellow freelancers, he looks to help them get on their feet. Instead of writing off someone’s success as luck, he uses his good fortune as a platform for helping others. Instead of being part of the problem, he’s  part of the solution.
  9. Friendship: He doesn’t see other writers as his competition, instead, he sees opportunitties. Opportunities to learn from others and opportunities to collaborate. Instead of blaming another freelancer’s success on luck, he reaches out to see if there’s some way to work with together. He makes friends, not competitors.
  10. Relationships: Successful freelancers build relationships with other writers and the people who hire writers. They build relationships with clients and potential clients. They rock the customer service.  They have happy, satisfied customers.

Still think that other writer got ahead simply because he was lucky? That’s just an excuse made by less successful writers in order to make up for their own lack of accomplishment. That other freelance writer got ahead because he worked hard. He’s not sitting around worrying about the other person and he knows he controls his own destiny.

What are you doing to make sure you get ahead?


8 responses
  1. michele Avatar

    Such great points! Keeping this in mind since I’m a new(er) writer!

  2. Dave Doolin | Website In A Weekend Avatar

    At the moment, the exact thing I’m doing to get ahead is printing this article on a PDF file that I can refer to over and over again. Maybe tape it to my wall. Hard work and superior product are NOT enough.

    The world will NOT beat a path to find that better mousetrap. I know this from painful experience. They just won’t. Networking and relationships matter, really matter.

    1. Deb Avatar

      Dave I’m going as far as to say they REALLY, REALLY matter.

      Rock on!

  3. Victoria Avatar

    Excellent work and very true! After reading many of your articles I am learning so much to help me to become a better writer. Thank you for all your advice! =)

  4. Jodee Avatar

    I think nurturing relationships and making connections with a number of people – whether you think they can do something for you in your work or not – is the key. You never know where your next lead is going to come from. If everyone you run into is someone who could potentially help you along or pointing you in the direction of your next great gig, can you really afford to treat anyone with anything other than the utmost respect? You can’t.

  5. Camesha Avatar

    Wonderful post:) Numbers 9 and 10 are so true. But how does the opportunistic freelancer handle the all-to-competitive-only-contact-me-when-you-need-help freelancer. Is it possible to tell who’s genuine and who isn’t?

  6. Tania Mara Avatar
    Tania Mara

    This is such an amazing list that it’s hard to pick only one item. All of them really help any writer get ahead.

    If I had to vote for the most important factors, I’d pick hard work, focus and relationships. But really, none of the others should be neglected.

  7. Alina Bradford Avatar

    I have gotten a lot of work from simply making friends with others and not intending for work to come my way. I think this is the best way to network.

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