Two Ways Freelance Writing is Like Weight Loss

Carol Tice

Becoming A Freelance Writer Is Like Losing WeightBy James Patterson

It’s January and, inevitably, gyms and Weight Watchers locations around the country are filling their coffers with money from new members making yet another resolution to finally lose that weight. And, just as inevitably, most of those eager people will abandon their weight-loss goals once again and go back to their old habits.

I guess you could say I know a little bit about what it takes to lose weight. Between October of 2008 and May of 2009 I lost a total of 65 pounds, or almost 27 percent of my body weight. I trained for and ran a half marathon. I became a different person.

It’s no coincidence to me that, at the same time, I started my freelancing business. Looking back, almost all of the principles you have to understand to lose a significant amount of weight are the same ones necessary for developing a successful freelancing business. I want to talk about two of them here.

There’s No Secret….Well, Actually There Is

Friends and family who see me now notice my weight loss. When I tell them I’ve lost 65 pounds, I almost universally get asked “Well, what’s your secret?”

When I tell people I work from home, work 25 percent fewer hours and make 25 percent more money than I did in my old 9-to-5 job, I get the same question. “What’s your secret?”

The truth is, there’s no one magic secret that successful freelancers are holding back in order to hoard all the good clients.

When people ask me that universal question, I like to play a game with them. I say “Actually, I do have a secret. It’s a secret that most people don’t know about and fewer are actually willing to use.”

Their eyes get wide and they get curious, then I tell them the answer. “It takes lots of really, really, REALLY hard work. That’s the secret.”

It’s true. Whether it’s freelancing or losing weight, you have to work hard. Those who do, and persevere through the discouragement and the disappointment are the ones who have success.

Those who give up when the first prospect says no or give up when they can’t wake up early enough to go the gym are the ones who wonder why they can never build a successful freelancing career, or why they make the same New Year’s resolution every year to lose weight.

Team Up With People Who Support You

If there was one thing that made the difference between all the times I tried to lose weight and failed and this time when I succeeded, it was this. It was actually my wife who came up with the idea to sign up for a half marathon.

I thought she was crazy. I had never run more than a mile all at once since middle school. Now she wanted me to run 13.1? But there she was with me, every step of the way in the training, the sore feet, and there we were at the finish line together after we had both accomplished our goal.

We both lost a tremendous amount of weight and became regular runners. I couldn’t have done it without her.

If you’re trying to go it alone in the freelancing world, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. Team up with someone who shares your goals.

Joining Carol’s freelance mentoring group was one of the best decisions I ever made and it’s had a direct impact on my bottom line. The support Carol and the group provides gives me the confidence I need to try new things and push myself past what I think I can accomplish.

In May, I’ll run my third half marathon. I’ll also celebrate my first anniversary of full-time freelancing. It’s a dream come true, and both accomplishments were worth every bit of blood, sweat and tears. Trust me, if I can do it, you can too.

What other major life accomplishments have you achieved that helped you in freelancing writing? Tell us about it in the comments.

James Patterson is a freelance health writer and public relations consultant at OnPoint Writing and Communications. His past clients include the National Institutes of Health, the President’s Cancer Panel and the National Diabetes Education Program.

Photo via Flickr user alancleaver_2000


  1. edina jackson

    Great blog and great post. I have found some very interesting tips here. so thanks again.

  2. Stephanie Mojica


    I get those questions a lot too…like how do you REALLY make more than 700 percent of your hourly salary (I used to make $12 an hour writing for a newspaper; now my low hourly average is $90 per hour…of course, I don’t write eight hours a day!)

    Support as you and others such as Carol and Krissy mentioned is so crucial. I needed to really “master my psychology” and found better support in groups, coaching, and positive forums than therapy. Therapy was way too focused on past trauma and not moving forward…

    I too am doing well on the weight loss…but I gave up sugar, flour, wheat, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners. I’ve realized that I wanted to be free in all ways possible; including not being enslaved to any type of food.


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