You Can Lead a Horse to Water…One Writer's Journey

Note from Jodee: Freelance writer Spencer Spellman shares his thoughts about freelance writing and the importance of perseverance and marketing your services. Enjoy!

by Spencer Spellman

It was about 18 months ago when I decided I would dabble into writing. I had recently been laid off from a job and had moved in hopes of finding better work, but instead found myself finding something worse. After months of putting writing off, I was going to write one article, just to get some feedback on it. That one article began a snowball effect that is still building.

I never did get feedback on my article. However, I did get an email from the magazine’s editor, a week after I submitted it, telling me they needed a short biography to include with the article in their next publication. Now just a year and a half later, I’m an editor for an online travel publication, as well as a part-time freelance writer. I don’t tell you this to flaunt my achievements, but to inspire you.

The problem with many writers who fail, is that they shoot too high, too quickly. It was like when I was playing peewee basketball as a child; I would cross over half court and immediately throw up a shot that didn’t even reach the goal. You can’t expect to get rich quick. My first few months starting out, I might’ve made $50 a month. However, I was writing, and I was never going to move up and make progress if I didn’t write. If you enjoy writing and want to make money from it, you have to write.

Along with actually writing, you must show initiation in growing your work. I’ve never once had an employer or client come to me, I’ve always had to go to them. I’ve had to make phone calls, develop Craigslist Ads, develop a website, send out resumes and more. Initiating business is even more important now, when many economies around the world are failing. There is much more firing, then hiring, which means you have to do even more work. Yet employers need freelance writers. More employers are depending on freelance writers, because they don’t have to give paid vacations or pay insurance premiums.

Despite the state of economies around the world, you can more than make it as a freelance writer. But if you want it, you have to get it. It may mean making minimum wage at first or being denied several times. Like myself, you may receive thousands of denials, before receiving even one acceptance. Don’t worry, this is normal. Even Michael Jordan can attest to this, when he didn’t make the cut of the varsity team when he was a sophomore in high school.

Like many things, freelance writing takes practice and is trial and error. You’ll miss some opportunities, but you’ll also find some opportunities that you would’ve never dreamed of. If you want it, go out now and get it.

Spencer Spellman is a freelance writer. You can visit him online here.





2 responses
  1. c.a. Marks Avatar

    Dang, after just one half-baked attempt at writing an article and submitting it? How lucky are you I ask. I hope you thank the writing gods every single day. LOL

  2. Molly Avatar

    Interesting article, perseverence is a must in this field.
    However, if I understood correctly, Spellman has been at this for 18 months and has received thousands of rejections? He must be writing, writing, writing! That number seems a bit too high to me.

    That said, I always love hearing about others stories in this field.

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