Freelance Writing Success: Are We There Yet?

Success can be kind of a slippery word. Like beauty, it’s in the eye of the beholder. We all want to be successful in our freelance writing career, and there is no shortage of resources telling us how to do it.

Some of the information is readily available online, including the posts that the team here at Freelance Writing Jobs brings you on a regular basis. If you are wondering, “how do I….” you can find multiple answers to your question by checking out freelance writing blogs and websites. You also have the option of going to your local library or bookstore to find more information about writing. There are even magazines devoted to becoming writer, how to become a better writer and how to find writing markets.

When it comes to what defines freelance writing success, each person has a different answer, and that is how it should be. As you change and grow, your ideas about success will change. I remember working at my first full-time job in the early 1980s and thinking that I would be successful if I was able to make $200 a week. (I was making $150 a week at the time.)

Over the years, my ideas about success have changed, and I’ve changed and grown as well. I realized that one person’s success can look quite different from another individual’s notion of what that is like. I have two beautiful daughters, and one of them has special needs. What this means for our family is that how we define success will be very different, but no less valid for each one of them.

For your writing career, how you define success may be different at different stages. It needs to be based on your skills and abilities, your financial needs, and your values. Some people choose this type of work because they want or need to have a flexible schedule due to medical or emotional issues or because they are caring for children and/or their parents. Other people come to freelance work because they want to be experience the joy and challenges of running their own business. Both of these types of  people are successful, because they are doing something that works well for them and that fits in with their values.

What do you value, and what does success look like to you?


9 responses
  1. Samantha Bangayan Avatar

    Beautiful post, Jodee. To me, success is loving what I do, day in and day out. =)

  2. dannybuntu Avatar

    Well, I’m pragmatic. I’m in it for the money.

    The other side of me says that I want to be a genuine certified travel writer – who really travels.

    The whimsical part of me says I want to be a Tom Clancy or a John Grisham – with the success of a JK Rowling. A game or two under my name would also be ideal. 🙂

  3. Rob Avatar

    I have never been wildly successful financially in any of my endeavors, but then again, that kind of success has never been my goal. Writing is a new career for me and after two years, I feel like I’ve past a milestone. I now have a number or regular clients who appreciate my efforts and pay me an appropriate amount of money for them. I call that success.

    As I sit here on my little hilltop enjoying the rest, the view and a sense of accomplishment, I see another, higher hill in the distance. As soon as I’m refreshed, I’ll set out on a journey to that goal.

  4. Rob Avatar

    passed a milestone, not past! How embarrassing

  5. Jodee Avatar

    @Samantha: Thank you for the kind words and sharing your definition of success.

    @Rob: I would say that you are very successful. I love the word picture you shared about sitting on the hill and enjoying the view before setting off for the next one.

  6. John Soares Avatar

    Jodee, what I value most is time I spend with friends and family, and time I spend outdoors hiking, doing tai chi, and just enjoying nature.

    You’re right. Freelance writing goals do change over time. When I first started my goal was to supplement my meager income as a part-time college instructor. Eventually my goal shifted to paying all the bills.

    Now my goal is to get high-paying assignments that allow me to work about half-time, pay my modest bills, fund my retirement accounts, and leave me with that free time I mentioned. For the most part I’m meeting that goal.

    Very thought-provoking post. Thanks!

  7. Krissy Brady | Sell Crazy Someplace Else Avatar

    A wonderful post! Success to me is enjoying what you do every day; living a fulfilling life through what you’re passionate about. For me, regardless of the pressure I feel in terms of meeting writing deadlines or checking off submissions I want to send out, it is exhiliarating and never burns me out. When I write, it’s not the monetary value of it that keeps me going, it’s the fact that it makes me feel like a whole person. A step closer to a publishing credit is a step closer to knowing myself better as a person.

  8. Jodee Redmond Avatar
    Jodee Redmond

    @ John: Thank you for the kind words. It sounds like you have figured out your own definition for success.
    @ Krissy: Thank you, too. I like what you said about finding your writing personally rewarding.

  9. Gayla Baer-Taylor Avatar

    Great post Jodee. My own definition of success has been very much the same over the years. I have twins that were born prematurely and while they look and act normal, they have some lingering health issues that have always been at the forefront of my responsibilities. Success on many levels has been my ability to provide for my kids in a way that would maintain their health and provide a nice life for them. When they were 3, I became a single mother and have raised them without help at all, since. They are a pair of very handsome 18-year-old men now, and are still in high school as a result of those setbacks – but their teachers have let me know they are great boys. That’s success! And my being able to work from home allowed me to raise those fine young men myself.

    Over the years, I’ve often said “I’m not exactly sure how the money comes, it just does.” That has been through niches I’d stumble on, gigs I’d land, long term jobs I’d secure, ads, sales, affiliate marketing, etc.

    Call it Law of Attraction, faith, prayer, whatever – it has worked for me. Whenever I needed it most, it’s just been there. To this day, I work with the same belief. What I need, will be provided. I love what I do and I keep giving my best – that’s really all anyone can do. Somehow the financial success just follows.

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