CONTEST: Win a Year in My Online Writing Community

Carol Tice

Essay Contest: Win a Free Ticket to My Writing Community. Makealivingwriting.comSix years ago, I got a crazy idea in my head: I was going to start an online writing community for freelancers, where they could learn how to market their services and earn more.

When we opened the doors in 2011, I had no clue how needed this sort of all-you-can-eat learning platform was for freelance writers.

Next week, Freelance Writers Den turns 6 years old! And it’s over 1,000 members strong.

At this point, the Den is packed with 300+ hours of trainings members can access anytime, on everything from how to do lucrative types of writing like white papers, to how to find better-paying clients.

Curious about the Den? Well, we’re celebrating our 6th year by opening the doors and welcoming new Denizens on our anniversary date, July 11. We’ll stay open for six days (unusually long for us!).

And we’ve got a new way to hop in the Den — you can try it out with a 1-week free pass.

We always do giveaways and goodies on the Den anniversary, but this year I want to go crazy.

So besides free 1-week passes for all comers, I’m also giving away 6 free, 1-YEAR passes to Freelance Writers Den.

That’s right, an entire year of soaking up the Den resources, 4-week bootcamps included, the works.

How can you win one of those 1-year passes? I’m holding an essay contest. Read on for the rules:

Essay contest rules

Here is the essay question that can win you a year in the Den:

What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

Why this question? Because claiming an independent life usually requires you to give something up. It’s not an easy road — but it’s worth it. So…how bad do you really want this? Tell me in your essay.

Here are the details on where to post and how to win:

  • One entry per person. Multiple entries will disqualify you.
  • Limit 300 words.
  • You can post your essay in the comments below (I’ve turned them on, just for this post!) or on my Facebook page (look for the post with the graphic you see on this post).
  • Current Den members are eligible to participate.
  • Winner will be announced the morning of July 12. I’ll email the news to subscribers, and update this post and my Facebook.

Is my online writing community for you?

Maybe you’re new here and not familiar with the Den. If so, recommend you visit the Den home page and watch the video that goes through all our member benefits.

We serve new, returning, and mid-career freelance writers around the world with 24/7 forums, monthly live events, podcasts, an exclusive job board, and training resources galore.

It’s been a thrill to serve so many writers, and to create a platform that makes freelance knowledge affordable for the hungry writers who need it. And it’s still early days! Great trainings are coming up later this year and next.

Good luck, everyone! And hope to see you in the Den.

What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? Post your answer in the comments below (turned them back on, just for this post!), or on my Facebook page.

UPDATE: Winners have been chosen! Congratulations to:

  • Steven Maynard, for his toughness and determination (displayed by his willingness to give up a $50K/year job to focus on writing)
  • Elisabeth Lee (who’s ready to break free of her old thinking patterns)
  • Quincy Miller (who made us laugh with his entry)
  • Kelsey Ray (who displays great bravery in moving to another country to get married – even though she had to go 2 years without a job)
  • Felix Abur (who shows that living in a Third World country doesn’t have to be a barrier to starting a freelance writing business)
  • And Brenda Storey (who displayed a Renegade Writer-esque willingness to break the rules and make the contest her own)

Thanks to everyone who entered – it was HARD choosing winners from the avalanche of entries!

Grow your writing income. LEARN HOW! Freelance Writers Den




  1. Crystal Anthony

    I am willing to give up everything to become a successful freelance writer. That includes sleep, time with friends and family and anything else that would get in the way of my becoming successful. By successful I do not mean being a millionaire. I just want to be able to live comfortably off my earnings from writing.

    • Carol Tice

      Crystal…EVERYTHING? Your health? Your spouse or children’s lives? Time and sleep yes…

      • Crystal Anthony

        Okay. Well not my health. Have to have good health to be able to write and enjoy it. I am single and my children are all grown so I am no longer as responsible for their lives. If I was I wouldn’t sacrifice them. Which is why now is the perfect time for me to get started.

  2. Rebecca Scott Boddie

    I would be willing to sacrifice chocolate, Netflix and new shoes for a year.
    The luxury of really diving into writing with passion and purpose would help me, a struggling freelancer, become more self-directed. With the Writer’s Den resources and feedback, I would feel legitimate and my creativity would have more structure.
    Thank you for this opportunity.

  3. Andrew Nelsen

    What Am I Willing to Sacrifice as a Freelance Writer?

    As a freelance writer, entrepreneur, and member of the Freelance Writer’s Den, I am ready to make sacrifices for myself and others. Because this is what matters. This is for my career. For my community. For the lives of those who will come after me. For the family I may have, and for the families of those whom I serve.

    I will sacrifice nights out with friends spending money (instead of making it).

    No more late mornings. No afternoon naps.

    Instead of excuses, I will have determination.

    I will trade temporary happiness for a lifetime of fulfillment.

    I will leave behind helicopter bosses and unaffected work.

    I will exchange the illusion of security for a future I can make myself.

    The plans for my life will be edited.



    Thrown away.


    But I’ll be the writer, and I’ll never, ever quit.

    I will sacrifice myself — my own pride and ego.

    I will sacrifice my worries for the encouragement of a struggling peer.

    I will give.

    And give.

    And give.

    One day, one essay, one word at a time.

    I will.


    • Crystal Anthony

      Love the way you responded.

      • Andrew Nelsen

        Thanks for your kind words, Crystal!

        I wish you the best in your freelance writing career, and I hope to see you in the Den!

  4. Melinda Rizzo

    Instead of sacrifice being a freelance writer has meant surrender.
    I’ve surrendered the known for the unknown and sometimes unknowable; the sure for possibilities, the expected for surprise.

    I have surrendered a regular, weekly paycheck (something I am working to re-create, thanks to the Den2X materials and community) for the irregularity of sometimes going weeks without a paycheck only to be delighted – no, almost giddy when three arrive in my dented, gray mailbox all at the same time.

    Being a freelance writer is about embracing my employment destiny and wrestling it to the ground. It’s about ownership. It’s about being freed from the confines or an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday work week, a silver pen at 25 years, a thanks for your services, whether they are grateful for me or not.

    I have sacrificed being told what to do by a boss to being the boss of myself. From passing the buck – or staring at the buck just caught in my hands – to being the one and only with whom the buck stops.
    Success is a moving target. Freelancing has taught me to trust my gut. It has taught me that success often means more than the commas on my bank statement.

    Like telling a woman’s story who has worked for the same organ builder in Allentown her entire 60 year career, or covering a school budget story when raising taxes is the only way to keep schools open, or a town meeting where residents pack the room because they care about the proposed hospital going abutting their backyards.

    Hey money is great, it’s the coin of the realm, but doing what I’m built to do is the greatest gift offering of all.

    • Crystal Anthony

      Love your response. Surrender has a better sound to it.

  5. Mohammed Saleh Ali

    I think I have more to gain in joining than sacrificing I quess mainly like most apprentice will have to leave home and get the strings right so as to come back home with a package family will be happy about.

  6. Laura Yeager

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    As a freelance personal essayist, I am sacrificing my PRIVACY every time I create a story. I make my private day-to-day experiences public to entertain and educate others about my life, and ultimately, about life, in general.

    And I’m having some success with my writing career. I’m a freelance essayist/blogger for Psych Central, where I write about my experiences as a person with bipolar illness and as a mother of an autistic child. (Hats off to Carol Tice who helped turn me on to this website when she ran a guest post which mentioned it, about a year ago.) I’m also a freelance essayist/blogger for Cure Today, a cancer website, where I write about being a two-time cancer survivor. Finally, I’m a freelance essayist for Aleteia USA, where I write about spirituality from a Catholic perspective.

    But this is just a beginning. I would like to continue writing personal essays and ultimately become a six-figure freelancer.

    Yes, I am sacrificing my privacy when I create personal stories, but I hope readers are bonding with me through the revelation of my life experiences and are learning from my failures and triumphs.

  7. Charles Simpson

    I sacrifice insanity. The insanity of believing something that hasn’t been true, that I am a writer. Thinking I should write a book or be a writer is a crazy idea concocted by an insanity that I live with, daily. This nagging voice urges me to write, write about your life, your experiences and adventures. The mishaps and triumphs of this existence your labor through, write! You can, yet, I don’t. Therefore, I sacrifice the insanity of not, for the insanity of do. I sacrifice my effort and energy to becoming a writer. For the insanity that ensues doing has got to better than, not doing. Maybe, just maybe the latter insanity will subside and sanity will ensue. Who knows, without the risk of sacrifice you never find out.

  8. Bron

    Sacrifice ..

    A word that can have different meanings, different perceptions to some.

    When googling the word “sacrifice” an interesting definition appears, “ act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity.”

    I don’t plan to go and slaughter, as a sacrifice, nor do I want to, ..I shudder at the thought of hurting something else on this earth!

    I already have surrendered though, so as to write, to begin my journey of becoming a writer. I am no longer working in a full time employed position that I’ve held for the last so many years.. I walked out, and although I am really struggling, and would appreciate guidance and a miracle so as to write to become self sufficient, I have an understanding of moving forward for me, what I need to do, and this site is apart of that!

    When I read “what would I be willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?” A word instantly came to mind.. “time!”

    We all live in a world where most go about their day to day, working, being busy, being time poor, often the mundane, Groundhog Day of the merry roundabout going round and round, living on the edge of hoping, and wishing for a breakthrough..

    ..hoping for that one break that will change it all, so we aren’t just living an existence..

    So many of us are so time poor, making appointments, rushing about, we don’t stop and look around to explore, to discover, to investigate, to unite..we are only human..

    To become a successful freelance writer, I’m willing to sacrifice more of my time!
    I need to, and want to, so as to allow me to grow and move forward as a freelance writer, on the hope of one day through the sacrifice of time, to become a successful freelance writer with a little guidance from you.. and your website.

  9. Sanjay

    A question so pertinent to my existence at this moment. It would probably be more appropriate to ask what have I already sacrificed to begin my transition into the world of freelance writing.

    Let’s start with my job, I have stopped teaching high school kids to pursue my passion, not that educating others isn’t my passion but the time/reward ratio was rather too high for my liking. This has given me the time that I need to finally sit down and clear my mind before spilling my thoughts on paper or the computer screen, but has also brought with it the burden of no income coming in.

    Face to face social interaction has always been something I partook in on a regular basis but has slowly dwindled as my focus has sharpened. It’s not that I don’t care about my friends or family but more that I need to dedicate time to this pursuit, nothing worth achieving is meant to come easy and these words ring true throughout my mind everyday.

    Every second seems more and more precious these days, expression of thought seems far more appealing than dulling the mind with Netflix. I have to take into account that the mind isn’t always in the optimal state to perform, those sneaky treats like my daily chocolate bar and its sudden glucose injection has the power to bring me out of flow, so of course it had to go. Is it shameful to say this is the thing I miss most?

    Sacrifice is part of the journey and I expect to sacrifice more as I continue, as many habits fade away the vision only continues to get stronger.

  10. Diana Burns

    I am willing to sacrifice some of my precious sleep when the muse visits me just as I’m about to dose off and I can’t resist the need to immediately write down those great vivid scenes. I’m willing to get over my stage fright at business networking meetings as I stand up in front of attendees to announce what writing services I offer. My spelling and grammar may not be the best, but I am willing to spend whatever time it takes to seek and find the correct answer. I am willing to forgo my favourite tv program in order to work on my client’s requests. My greatest fear, (which might seam small to most) is setting up my own website. I’m one of those people that struggle with technology so I have set a date with my computer to get this done. I am willing and confident that I can conquer the last thing holding me back from becoming a great writer. I just keep telling myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

  11. Sheila Sendgikoski

    What would I sacrifice….absolutely nothing. You see, I have already sacrificed so much, too much by not going after this dream when I should have. I have sacrificed my health, my pet’s health, my emotional health, my employment health….all because I allowed my life to be dictated and determined by the whims of others. By not making the money to live where we would safe, or pay for the vet bills for my beloved pets, or to only have one vacation in over 20 years to recharge my empty well. Or by my former bosses, who just let me go without a notice or a care, propelling me down the rabbit hole, while I grab hold of anything I can find to stop the plunge, and keep my head above the drowning line. Sacrifice…no. I have done that. What I will do is anything and everything to rearrange my life to fit what is right for me…to work at what I need to get the writing skills I don’t have, the jobs I know I can do so I never, ever have to have my future determined by someone else again. This is not sacrifice to me…this is opportunity….opportunity for my freedom, my future, and I am ready! I may be 60 years old, but at this moment in time when I finally know what I have always known, but was too involved in just surviving to see the truth, well….world watch out. Here I come!

  12. Karen Isaac

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    There are many things that could be sacrificed to become a successful freelance writer. Probably, the most precious thing would be time. There are many examples of time to be sacrificed. Patience would also be on the chopping block. One last thing would be unhappiness. Let me explain.
    There are so many time sacrifices, it would be impossible to name all of them. Here are just a few; time for sleep, time for family, time for television, time for video games, time for sports, time for exercise. That is my short list. Surely there are so many more.
    Patience is not something that many people exercise in the times we are in. Probably, because they feel short of time. That being said, patience would definitely be sacrificed while chasing a dream of becoming a successful freelance writer. It would be hard to wait for hard work to be accepted by others. Patience with finances would be sacrificed, as well.
    Last but not least, there is probably not anyone who would not sacrifice unhappiness to become a successful freelance writer. Unhappiness in work, money, and personal fulfillment.
    To sacrifice some time, some patience, and a whole lot of unhappiness for more time, more patience, and a lot more happiness, does not sound that bad.

  13. Debra Fuller

    The thing is…we only get this one life to live. Finding myself more than half way through it (if age one hundred is the deadline), I have drawn the line in the sand . I’m saying to the grains of sand as they slip through the hourglass of my life that each one WILL count.
    SLEEP has a different pattern and work which once was a career has now become a means to survive until such a time as the hard work of writing pans out and editorial recognition is a reality.
    FEAR is the biggest thing I am giving up…paralyzing, mind numbing, life stopping fear. The fear of the flip side of the coin, of an unfulfilled life’s dream, an unchanged life of talking about life and wanting to write but never doing it will drive me on.
    The sacrifice of unwasted time, followed by advice from mentors, and tenacity, and quality writing will bring freelancing to life and… life to life. Thanks.

  14. Denie Renee

    On June 16, 2017, I officially sacrificed the comfort of knowing I had a paycheck coming every two weeks to cover my bills (even if it wasn’t the amount I was worth) in order to dedicate myself to becoming a better writer and to operating my freelance business full-time. I sacrificed the false sense of security I had exchanging pieces of my soul for money from a job that wasn’t for me. I sacrificed the opinions of people who previously respected me who now think I am crazy for giving up a steady paycheck. But they don’t know how much that paycheck was costing my spirit and body. They don’t know I have a bigger vision for my life and there was no way to achieve it while remaining where I was. Am I’m nervous about paying all my bills on time right now? Yes. But I took this step of faith knowing it was the right move at the right time. I market my business to the best of my ability diligently every day. I attract people who say they are ready to work with me, but then they back out at the last minute and I have to try and find more prospects who are ready to take action immediately. But I press on because I know that I no longer fit the “traditional” job mold. I press on because I know I have a gift to truly help people in their careers (through resume writing) and in their businesses (through copywriting) and I am committed to learning everything I can to get better each day at my craft and at marketing myself. I know with those two things in hand, I’ll have the true financial security I’ve been seeking.

  15. Stephen Anderson

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    Possibly some people are divinely blessed with an ability to compose gripping, compelling, awe inspiring word structures with ease. Every credible author or instructor I have encountered describes a journey years of trial and error, continual practice and experimenting, and long, hard hours of flat out determination to succeed.

    These same people also state they wish they had an expert mentor along the way to show them where and how to accomplish success in a vastly shorter period of time. At 72 years old (09/07/2017) a mentor and a forum are precisely what I need. My beginning sacrifices are…

    Television. I waste many hours on this distraction when I could/would be learning the craft of freelance writing. Knowing it will take significant time to become educated and skilled in this industry I vow to make this change.

    Couch potato life style. Adding an exercise program will give me more energy and having powerful endorphins to keep my brain alert and sharp.

    Conscientious, attentive and committed study to all the information and consultation made available to me through out the entire year in this endeavor. I affirm my word of promise to be an exemplary student in every aspect of this process.

    I am a very low income individual; this might be the only way at this juncture in my life to attain my long time desire to make a viable income as a writer. I have some physical issues that restrict the type of work I am able to preform and writing is a vocation with the hope of filling both my needs – ample income and much less pain.

    Thank you for considering my essay,

  16. Bobbie Renfro

    I love writing. I’ve been writing since I was a child. I’ve written many different things in my life. I am now at a point where I want to follow my dream as a writer. Writing to me is not a sacrifice. It is something I enjoy deep in my heart. Therefore, I can’t say I would sacrifice anything. Now there are things I would give up in order to become a successful writing. Doing things that I love, mainly stuff outside and house work to provide a clean living space for my family. Those are little things. The most precious thing would be my time. Especially time with my family. Time is something you can’t ever get back. Neither is not fulfilling your dreams. I don’t want to look back on my life and say…. hmmm I wish I would have taken that opportunity to become a successful writer. My love for writing is part of who I am, so to me it is not really a sacrifice.

  17. Hajira

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    Being a writer is not easy, I would say, if you have writing talent it’s innate in you.
    I have been writing for just a few years and I want to take it further and pursue my writing dream.
    To become an exceptional writer, my first step should be a freelance writer and test my abilities. Time according to me is the most valuable thing and I am willing to sacrifice it to be a successful freelance writer.

    Other than my time I am always ready to give social gatherings and parties.
    Being a freelance successful writer is worth it.
    Sacrifice is one of the obstacles in your path of success and I am ready for it. My desire for writing increases when I write and I am willing to sacrifice my tīme and other gatherings.For me, writing is real happiness.

  18. Carl

    My 2nd grade teacher assigned us to write a paragraph on Fluffy the rabbit. I wrote 7 pages. I’ve gone on to teaching school, always keeping a journal, paying fastidious attention to the rules of grammar, writing old fashioned letters to my parents and my daughter, engaging in internet debate with passages of power and grace. Despite my love of writing, the only time in my life that I’ve written consistently was in an MA in Creative Writing, with public presentations and a strict deadline. Always, I thought, I’ll write when the conditions are right. Now I think you’ll write despite any obstacles, and if you don’t, your failure is one of motivation.
    The past 8 years have been spent opening and building an auto repair and restoration shop. Now, at the height of my personal mechanical and management prowess, and at the height of maximum profit from my shop, I’m going to close it. I’ve saved enough money for 2 years of frugal living. I’ve bought 20 acres in the high mountains. I’ve designed the solar and water systems. No internet, no phone, no distractions or excuses. Now I’ll find out if I can really write, or it remains a dream that I’m just not strong enough to achieve.

  19. Maria Perry Mohan

    Every day, posts appear on the Internet telling how becoming a freelance writer is your ticket to the good life. Dump your boss! Say goodbye to the 9 to 5! Get great clients! It all sounds great, doesn’t it?

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m rubbishing these attention-grabbing headlines. If it got your reading the post, the headline did its job correctly. But the point is, freelance writing success is not easy to attain. That success is attainable, but there’s a price to be paid. It is by no means a ticket to the mythical ‘Easy Street’.

    I’ve figured out what the price is. It’s time. T.I.M.E. Look at the old apprenticeship system. When a carpenter or a barrel maker wanted to learn a trade, they signed up and ‘did their time’. They served a master of their craft for a specified time and learned that craft day by painstaking day.

    It may or may not work for you to hitch your wagon to another writer’s. But on the Internet, on various blogs, writers are freely sharing their knowledge. If you’re ready to expend time, you can learn how to write a killer blog post, how to master SEO, how to write a white paper. Learn the various skills.

    You may sign up for a course with a reputable writer. You may invest in ebooks. You may read every writer’s blog post that’s ever been written. You can learn how to find clients, how to negotiate a contract, how to manage your time like a pro.

    But then babe, you gotta write. As if you’ve never been hurt. As if your life depended on it. Write. Edit. Submit. That’s the secret.
    When it comes to freelance writing success, I’m willing to give up my time. It’s worth it.

    • Maria Perry Mohan

      Oh, no, spotted a typo. And a missing line spacing. Oh, well! It’s gone now. PTL

  20. Cristee Cook

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    There’s that voice coming in – the voice that tells me I shouldn’t even enter this contest. There will be so many talented writers, how will you ever make it to the top of the pile? Why even bother? I feel my chest begin to tighten, and I notice my breath is quicker. I take deeper breaths to quiet the negative voice and slow down the physical acceleration. Then I begin my mental list of why I want to do this, my reminders to never give up, and the picture of the future I’m trying to create.

    In Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, sacrifice is defined in part as, “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.” Let me then agree to sacrifice my need to people-please, my negative thoughts, my Impostor Syndrome. I will forfeit my fear of not succeeding or succeeding beyond my imagination. I will let go of my judgments or conclusions about the way it is “supposed” to be. And in the absence of these, I will place writing. Writing despite a bad mood, even though one of the children is sick, whether or not my bank account has the right balance. Writing because I love the craft. Writing to actualize my dreams.

    And of course there are the aggressive and practical measures required to succeed at anything new or revolutionary: enter the contests, send the pitches, search the job boards, and never give up. Choose carefully which social invitation we accept. Make a realistic budget and stick to it. Love myself. Practice self-care. Never give up.

    In this moment I feel calmer. The voice of defeat is quieter. It’s time to write.

    • Andrew Nelsen

      Oooh, I love this. By far one of my favorites submitted!

      Great lead. Amazing introduction. Awesome closer.

      I really hope you get one of the Den Memberships, and I hope to see you there!

  21. Melissa Shaffer

    I’m willing to sacrifice my fear of not feeling good enough to be paid for what I’m worth. Turning down a job after finding out I would only make .025 a word for a 1,000-word article was extremely liberating and a powerful first step – but there will be many more self-doubt tests to overcome.

    I’m not going to lie and say that I will never go out or that I will write 24/7. That’s not realistic and burnout is inevitable. Sacrificing time to devote to your freelancing business is implied, especially at the beginning: self-marketing has a steep learning curve.

    My husband and I have a deal: when I can make his teacher’s salary as a freelance writer, I can go ahead and freelance. Freelance writing’s not what I do – it’s who I am. As an English teacher, I try to promote the personal/college application essay as an opportunity to make money by earning scholarships. I put 100% into my teaching and enjoy it. But to be able to have more freedom in writing for a living (instead of teaching it) would be amazing!

    In order to freelance as a full-time career though, I need to experience more self-doubt than turning down just one poorly-paying gig. No doubt
    I’ll have a ton of opportunities. Even Stephen King had those piles of rejection letters nailed to his wall like a badge of honor. Writing’s very much a numbers game, reflected both in pitches and how much I’m willing to reject an assignment based on poor pay.

    I know gaining support from Den members, as well as the “no junk” job board, will help in squashing my monetary fears. But for right now, I’m ready to “feel the fear” and write my way into winning a year of Den membership.

    • Andrew Nelsen

      Hey Melissa!

      Firstly, thank you so much for being an English teacher!

      I had an English teacher in high school who was instrumental in my life, and I wouldn’t be alive without her. I know that your gift for inspiration would be welcomed in the Den, and I wish you the best!

    • James Husum

      Heck, you could turn your passion for crafting personal /college essays for getting scholarships into its own business. I’d imagine there is a big market for this as the competition to get into college is getting more fierce. Offer it as a coaching service, or develop it into a course.

  22. Jacki Gray

    I have been writing…and selling…for too many years. I have about a hundred & fifty articles in print, two books,(one incredibly small) a few TV commercials and probably 65 million rejection slips I used as wallpaper on my office walls.
    Why do I say for “too many years”? Because I’m now past 70 years and still haven’t done the Great American Novel. Of course, to be honest it may be because my work has always been non-fiction, human interest. But, I like doing what I’ve done. Research, interviewing, learning, has nearly always been more interesting than any novel I can think of doing. But now, I need more money for rent and groceries which I sometimes have had to do without but don’t want to again. Retirement hasn’t been much fun so I am wanting to get back to work.
    When I lived in Missouri, editors would call me for articles. I was known in literary circles and have gotten jobs just by calling and telling editors I recalled them mentioning a possible article and now I had a lead on a source.
    Then…I moved to Tennessee. No one here knows me. My Missouri clips aren’t interesting anyone, I am not local, so, presumably, I know nothing relevant to Southern/Hillbilly culture.
    Unfortunately, that is all true. But, I can learn. I can talk. I can listen. And, I have my camcorder. I need some “starter” advice and help.
    And now, my intended sacrifice…to give up my comfortable reliance on past successes. I’ll have to really work on getting into writer’s groups, learning about people past their names, meeting local editors and letting them know I really, really want to work for them. I know if I don’t make the effort, I’ll never get the opportunities. I know it will be difficult because I’ve done it before. And, I’ll have to do it again. Watching late night TV, a Saturday morning low cost Movie, long telephone conversations will once again take a back seat to my “working” hours. It is still as important to me as it was 35 years ago. And, I just discovered a whole family of full blooded Cherokee Indians I want to send a story on to a publication in Kansas.


  23. Margaret Daniel

    I was taken aback with this question and pondered on it for awhile.I do want to be a successful freelance writer but why do I need to sacrifice at all? Why can’t I have it all? Yes, I do understand that becoming a serious writer requires passion, commitment and most of all time and discipline.
    But there ~ I just said it. PASSION is the key word. When we are passionate about something, we will deal with difficulties and challenges which come our way in a positive mindset. So, for me perhaps time is the biggest sacrifice that comes into the picture. If we are serious about our writing, we need to take the time to explore our inner thoughts and feelings so to enable us to express ourselves truthfully in all our writings.Yet, these are the sacrifices that I would gladly undertake for I am passionate about my writing and to be a successful writer has been my life long dream. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to touch people’s lives through my writing.If I am able to inspire someone and make a small difference in their lives through my writings, then I know that all the sacrifices that I’ve made have been worth it.

  24. Joseph Shea

    What am I willing to sacrifice? This question conjures up images of a bloodstained stone temple with an executioner holding a sword in his hands while a mob of people are chanting and howling, destroying something innocent to unburden the many. Bleak, right? Well, I would put my tired eyes, hours racking my brain, my hunger, my disappointment, and the sickness incurred each time asked “what of you do?” all on the table. I would sacrifice these things with my pen mightier than sword. I would wreak havoc to the blank page, although, what did it ever do to anyone?
    The goal for me has always been freedom and enlightenment. Studying philosophy, I followed the path of a writer and world traveler, never earning a penny, just penning journals. This activity created the desire to turn writing into a full-time activity, because I do love the written word. However, this tremendous shift in writing for pleasure to making it into a career has gotten me more lost than any mixed up travel adventure.
    If it’s my best lamb the gatekeepers desire, then have it they shall. I’m willing to sacrifice the time and effort I could be spending on other pursuits, and the money I will need to save while learning this new craft. I’ll sacrifice my quiet nature in order to pitch new clients, and I’ll sacrifice my privacy as I put my words on display. I also sacrifice my comfort, as I dive into the unknown, because I am aware that this pursuit will require me to overcome obstacles I haven’t yet imagined. I am dedicated. I’m looking forward to the organized instruction that could be provided in your Freelancer’s Den, and to eventually contribute my talents back into that group. Thank you.

  25. Diana Murdock

    I’ve grown accustomed to my 4- or 5-hour stretches of nightly sleep, my 70-hour work week that is filled with double shifts, back-to-back late night/early morning routine. I would go so far as to say I thrive on that schedule, while resenting the fact I have no time to write, I don’t have time to delve into Carol’s workshops, that I’ve lost my muse because I’m so strung out during my caffeine-infused shifts. I hide my notebooks, filled with unfinished writing projects, so I won’t be reminded of my shortcomings.

    Like an addict, I book myself solid with several catering companies, because I have extremely lofty financial goals. Now, there are rare days when work is slow and I have a day off or even a half day off. Instead of embracing those moments and using them to my advantage, I feel the angst of downtime and focus on my next booked event. It doesn’t matter that I am burning the candle at both ends to make someone else’s dream come true. The mentality I have created dictates this is the only way to achieve my primary goal of traveling, even though this pattern flies in the face of my ultimate goal – location independence.

    So what am I willing to sacrifice? I am willing to sacrifice this lifestyle that I surround with a fortress-like wall, that I guard with fierce passion. I would sacrifice my comfort zone that I run circles in day in and day out. A world where I am out of the house more often than not. I can do this in my sleep, and oftentimes do. Here I am safe. I know what to expect in my world.

    But to become a successful freelance writer… this life I’ve created, however painful, I would sacrifice.

  26. Madison

    To become a successful freelance writer, sacrifice is unavoidable. Time, money, security and sometimes your own sanity will be on the alter to persue your desire to carve your name out in words. The choice of taking control of your own future, where you decide your fate, you must sacrifice your fears and doubts or you will fail. I have accepted that this choice will test me in many ways. Ways I have probably not even realized yet, but I am willing to offer those up in the name of seeing this dream become a tangible reality.

    What I will not sacrifice is my passion to write. My love of using words to inspire, to inform, to entertain is something that drives me to grow, learn and always develop my skills as a writer. I thrive on using written language to deliver strong messages to those that read it. I feel as though I leave a part of myself in each piece I write, no matter how small it may be. I want nothing more than to use my skills to help others and build a successful career to support myself and my family.

    • Andrew Nelsen

      This is a great essay!

      I really hope you win one of the Den memberships!

      Best of luck, Madison!

      • Madison

        Thank you so much. Writing has always been a sort of “closet” passsion of mine, never really presenting itself as a viable career option. When I discovered freelance writing and read about all of these writers I see as role models making a living doing it, I was hooked. I really hope to be one of those lucky few as well. Good luck on your essay as well.

  27. Holly Hughes-Barnes

    “A sacrifice is a loss or something you give up, usually for the sake of a better cause.”

    So, basically, to sacrifice is to trade something you like for something far better.

    It’s like that reality TV show where the guy starts out with an MP3 player and keeps trading-up until he gets a diamond ring. I mean, it could’ve been his favorite music device, but in the end, he came out on top.

    View it in that light, and sacrifice feels much less like draining your life’s blood to appease an angry deity and much more like investing for a fuller life.

    Which is why, for the past two years, I’ve sacrificed these things to study copywriting:
    • TV
    • Checking Facebook during daytime hours
    • Long bubble baths
    • A large sum of money
    • Most of my free time

    And I’m learning that I need to sacrifice these things as well:
    • Valuing other people’s opinions of me more than my own
    • Being a whiny baby instead of a confident business owner
    • Romantic notions of muses and writer’s block
    • Relationships with those “agencies” out there that pay $20 per blog post

    These last four should be the easiest to lay down because, well they suck. But I can’t do it on my own. I need a community to support me. That’s why I’d like to join the Den.

    And if I need to sacrifice more, I will. Because every dividend earned, requires an investment.

  28. Thomas Greenbank

    What am I willing to sacrifice?
    I could be flippant and say “whatever it takes”, but we all know that’s just a throw-away line, and almost meaningless.
    I’ve already given up my day job. My time these days is split between seeking paid writing gigs and working on my latest passion – affiliate marketing. Definitely a long-term proposition, but we have to start somewhere, right?
    I have a novel in progress (who doesn’t?) but it’s been on the back burner for around six months now.
    I guess my answer then, would be as much time as I can without risking landing in the divorce court! In all fairness, my wife is very supportive and sometimes even gives me the proverbial kick up the bum when I start to slack off.
    Yes, time is what we all have to be prepared to sacrifice, more than anything. And a social life, of course.
    So there’s my answer; Time, as much as it takes.

  29. Donna Wylie

    I am willing to sacrifice my ego to become a successful freelance writer. In order to be the best, I must be open to learning from everyone and everything. I must be willing to not just listen, but hear criticism, mining it for nuggets of self-discovery and reluctant truth. I must unstop my ears with the wax of years of self-doubt.

    I am willing to sacrifice my disbelief in my abilities. I pledge to stand firm in my faith in myself. I will not allow doubt to deter me. No matter how fearful, I will stand tall and confident; because as a former boss once stated, “Nothing sells like sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made!” I will believe in face until it becomes fact.

    I am willing to sacrifice my fear of success. I promise to keep my eyes on the horizon and my mind firmly focused on the truth. Success is fearful only because of faulty depth perception. We are never so high that a stumble will kill us, and never so far removed from the earth that we cannot breathe. Success is good and I am worthy. I will chant this like a mantra, with each exhale, until it is a natural part of my being.

    I am not willing to sacrifice time with my family and friends, for I am built on the foundation of their love and trust; they lift me up when I cannot stand. Instead, I will entrust them with my dream of becoming a successful freelance writer and ask for their continued support. I am made stronger through community.

    Thank you for this chance to clarify what I would sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer! The journey is begun! May you find me worthy to walk beside you.

  30. Beryl

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful writer?

    We all know time is our biggest enemy, and our most prized resource. In my current situation it is all I have to offer. I spend my days writing freelancer gigs for a pittance, in the hope of improving my skills and landing better paying clients.

    In between gigs, I do a little housework or spend precious time with my grandchildren who live with me. It is hard when they want to go to the park and I have to say ‘no’ because a deadline is looming. For me this is my biggest and hardest sacrifice.

    But I keep looking ahead to the future, what I will achieve, and to the better life I will provide for my boys when I succeed. Everything I do is with their future in mind. So, I am sacrificing the present so that we can all have a better future.

    What I need is guidance, and the support of a friendly community and I know the Den can provide that.

    What I won’t sacrifice is my optimism, my determination … or my boys.

  31. Quincy Miller

    There’s one thing I’m definitely willing to sacrifice to be a freelance writer: my pants.

    I’ve never been good at wearing pants. My body’s all misshapen and lumpy. I don’t fit into your precious preconceived notions about where the various parts of my butt should be at any given moment.

    Almost every career I’ve attempted has required pants (except two – don’t ask). When I’d attempt to negotiate their pants policy, HR managers would often say things like, “No, we wear pants here – it’s kind of a rule,” and “Quite frankly, that’s the creepiest question I’ve ever been asked.”

    But as a freelance writer? No pants.

    I can work with no pants on. I can take breaks with no pants on. I can go out in the yard with no pants on, provided Mrs. Mulaney across the way doesn’t catch me again.

    Is my writing good enough? I don’t know. Am I determined enough? Maybe not.

    But am I wearing pants as I type this right now?

    What do you think?

    • Holly Hughes-Barnes

      Writers Lib, baby! Burn britches burn! XD

  32. Suyog M

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?
    Well frankly speaking I am not going to sacrifice much. Sacrifice means giving up and I am not that sort of person. Whatever I have I have earned it and sacrificing it would be stupidity. So,to become successful in freelance writing I am going to earn the skills required to do so. I will try to become that person who is capable of writing mind blowing articles or changing the minds of the readers by their writing.I will try and become a better version of myself each and every day.
    The only thing I will sacrifice is my comfort. If you want to shake readers you have to be shaken first, you have to embrace uncertainties and enjoy them. And so write with this thought – Nothing but the absolute best. No compramises for excellency !

  33. Helen Velikans

    Competition Response:

    What am I willing to sacrifice?
    To give up?
    To eliminate from my life?

    I am willing to sacrifice the time I spend ‘sleeping in’ after the cats wake me up at the crack of dawn demanding food and attention.
    I am willing to sacrifice the time it takes to get everyone up and out of the house each day like I’m the only one who can do it.
    I am willing to sacrifice the time I spend preparing ‘Mum, I’m hungry’ snacks – she’s 15 and can, technically, make her own.
    I am willing to sacrifice the time I spend driving to and from work, listening and singing to music. I can swap this for dictating my story ideas or outlines/openings for podcasts into my phone, for writing up later.
    I am willing to sacrifice TV time for professional reading, listening and learning.
    I am willing to sacrifice the time it takes proving to the world that only I can ‘do everything’, ‘organise everything’ and ‘be everything’ to and for everyone else.
    Most importantly, I am willing to sacrifice FEAR. My lifelong companion, always there in everything I do.
    My fear of failure,
    My fear of looking stupid,
    My fear that no-one will like me,
    My fear that no-one will find anything that I say interesting,
    My fear that the time I keep putting into my writing is as wasted as everyone keeps telling me it is.

  34. Sonia Slutzki

    Sacrifice is a peculiar word. In my mind, it conjures up the image of a knife-wielding priest ready to cut the lamb’s throat for the sacrifice; or a “be all that you can be” poster displaying a soldier wiling to sacrifice her life for honor and country. 

    It implies giving something up in the name of an ideal. Unintentionally, I think it also carries an undertone of wastefulness, like giving away something valuable that you could have made a profit from instead.

    When I think back on the ‘sacrifices’ I’ve made, I realize sacrifice was the word others used to describe my decisions. For me, at the time, I was merely taking the next logical step. 

    Just the other day, a friend from Los Angeles was visiting me in my new habitat, an off-the-grid homestead. As we were finishing breakfast, she said she could not even imagine going through the sacrifices required to live off the gird — no microwave, no toaster, no air-conditioning. “I’m having a hard-enough time going without a hair dryer for a few days.” She said. I understood her anxiety perfectly, but to me, the choice of living without those items was never a sacrifice. I do have electricity, plenty of it, but from a sustainability perspective converting solar electricity to heat simply requires too much energy. It’s unsustainable, so we avoid it, which to me makes sense.

    Sacrifice, then, depends on where you are standing. 

    If it makes sense to you, if it’s your next logical step, then it’s not a sacrifice. There may be things you lose along the way, or things you need to give up. But if that’s what it take for your life to make sense, then they were things you didn’t need anymore. 

  35. Jennifer Heartley

    I have this feeling that the “correct” answer here is something like a regular job, good pay, sanity, time, sleep, energy, a normal schedule, etc. However, if I truly think about what my answer is to this question, it’s nothing. That’s not because I’m not willing to sacrifice things to become a successful writer. That’s just because I’m not sacrificing anything when I’m following my dream. Successful is a separate story, but a writer? I already am a writer. It’s not about how much money I make (although that would be nice). It’s not about having my degree in writing (every professor in college would tell me over and over again that it does not matter what my degree is in as long as I experience getting one). It’s not about all the jobs I do just to be doing something in writing (like the odd jobs that are stepping stones to a longer career). It’s about the feeling I get when I write. It’s about words being a part of who I am, not just a way to tell my story, but a way to be. So when I think about the relation between sacrifice and writing, the only thing I can think of is that I would be sacrificing a large part of my personality if I didn’t become a successful writer. Defining successful: not quitting. Successful is every day that I choose to ignore the world when it tells me that I’m just a dreamer, insinuating that my dreams are not realistic. The world needs successful scientists, too, sure. But where would we be without successful writers as well? That’s a world where I’d be sacrificing my sanity. I’m always going to be running a little low in that department, anyway, but that just gives me something else to write about.

  36. Matt Barton

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    Peace of mind.

    I don’t just mean the peace of mind that comes with financial security. That’s been part of it so far: to go freelance I gave up a job that paid better than I’ve been able to make to date. I’m not starving (if anything, I could stand to lose a few pounds), but there’s definitely an increase in anxiety when bills come in more regularly than my invoices go out.

    No, the peace of mind I mean – the peace of mind I’m willing to sacrifice – is the freedom to switch off. When I was in full-time employment, I could leave work at the office; not always, but most of the time. Often enough that relaxing in the evening was within easy reach. Even when work was stressful – deadlines, bad bosses, the usual – there was a divide between my professional and personal life that let my psyche separate the two.

    When I say “peace of mind”, that’s exactly what I mean: peace, in my mind. I’ve been on and off medication for anxiety throughout my adult life, and freelancing has thrown up one of the biggest mental challenges I’ve faced in that time. Without work-life boundaries, work-life balance is hard to find. It’s one thing to set yourself ‘working hours’ and treat your spare room as your ‘office’ – for me, it’s quite another to not only put that into practice but to feel okay about it.

    It’s a challenge which can be bested. It’s not something I would, or could, give up forever. But where I am now, at the start of my freelance career, peace of mind is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

  37. akshay pai

    To fulfill my dream of being a successful freelance writer, I am willing to sacrifice all the short term pleasures and comfort and dedicate the time I save into learning to write better and also to take up more projects and complete them.

    To me the most valuable asset is time. I have been writing for various websites, startups, universities, and businesses for over three years now. I had started freelancing on Fiverr and I have learned a lot from all the projects that I took up and completed. I have full 5/5 ratings on my profile because I strive to give my best on every writing gig. However, most of these platforms are a race to the bottom, finding out who can bid the least and that is disappointing.

    I have a full-time job as a data science engineer, and even with my busy schedule, I take some time out every day to write. The income from it is very less, but I sacrifice going out, gaming, partying, and sometimes even sleep to get more time to write. Writing is my passion, and so I can work hard even though I cannot see the “money” right away. I will continue the sacrifice till I get that one chance which will boost my freelancing career. Through my blog, I showcase that I can write on any topic with adequate research.

    I am 23 now and spending almost all my free time looking for clients, writing for them, talking with other bloggers, writers, etc. I have built my reputation and results exist that my work is extremely good. I just need those clients who pay me for what my work is worth and for that I can sacrifice all the things I feel like doing and spend time on my freelancing career.

  38. Carolyn Knight

    Sacrificing Silence

    The big reveal began with coffee in The Dark Tower. A loaded gun pointed at his heart, PD James’ hero learns of his host’s strategically concealed diagnosis – ‘hysterical paralysis’. I put down the novel, drained my mug and searched for more information. Evidence emerged that Inspector Dalgliesh was not the only one held hostage to a deadly silencing.

    My mother was three, her sister an infant, when the family cataclysm occurred and the entire story was carefully buried. The aunt I knew was chronically hysterical, suffering epilepsy and crushing migraines. Interestingly, the fits and headaches vanished once her abusive husband finally died. Still she gave away nothing. And by then my mother was safely tucked into residential care, powerless to communicate thoughts anyone could decipher.

    Growing up, my mother stoically endured the drama and vented only with us about her baby sister being ‘selfish’ and ‘attention-seeking’ throughout her life.

    My mother took great pride in her own ability to control herself. She survived, ferocious in her will to make sure of her own family’s well-being. Sometimes she’d lament sadly that ‘no one ever tells you how to raise children’.

    No one ever knew, either, how to diagnose my mother’s temporal lobe epilepsy until it was too late. Eventually she slid into dementia. Ten years later, she battles on not to die and still to tell a happy story.

    Firstborn in her brood of five, I learned in my mother’s wake the perils of speaking up. What luck then that I am gifted with a relentlessly demanding, inquisitive nature! The deathly fear of not being silent and invisible has receded. I’m willing to sacrifice anonymity, to share with audiences far beyond the few I work with now at noticing, investigating, discussing and writing about what’s hidden in plain sight.

    • Carolyn Knight

      Ah yes. The actual essay question … what was that again? 🙂

  39. Kelsey Ray

    Imagine sacrificing the right to work. For two years.

    When I graduated from college in 2015, I was certain of two things: Who I wanted to marry and who I wanted to become. The first entailed moving to India, the second involved becoming a freelance writer.

    I moved to India. And I had to give up two years of work.

    But that is a sacrifice I was ready to make – for my marriage and future career.

    I have already spent over a year honing my writing skills (for free!). I have researched marketing and business. I have money in the bank to buffer my student loan debt. I already have some experience in freelance translation.

    I know what it takes. And I want to hit the ground running come February-March 2018.

    Giving up the right to work has only magnified its value. There is no greater satisfaction than being able to earn for your family. And no greater agony than not acting on your ability.

    In a foreign country, there is no escape. No back-up plan. Fear is a luxury. There is only one road for me.

    I am already a writer.

    Now I need your help to become a paid freelance writer.

  40. Jade

    What am I willing to sacrifice?
    My pride and ego. I have always known that I was meant to finish that book. To write down those crazy fantasy lands that keep swirling in my mind. But I have been resisting. I didn’t want the insecurity that is a writers other half: financial insecurity.
    It took some time to realize that my heart isn’t in the well-paying field of Economics. I gave it up, I killed my pride. Now I want my writing to be my identity, not my office job. At next year’s reunion, I will announce myself as a writer.

  41. James Njenga

    I agree with you that to gain, you have to give– to achieve in freelance writing, I need to be ready to sacrifice. Personally, I am ready too sacrifice money that would have been used on other projects to buy a website domain, hosting and other freelancing tools that will give me an edge over other newbies. With these, I will intensify my marketing, create social proof on reputable websites and work my ass off on my niche of choice.

    I am also ready to sacrifice my time learning and bidding for jobs. For the next thirty days, I will be waking up to read nuggets of wisdom from this blog as well as others that are in a quest to help ESL writers make a decent living writing. Other than learning, I will be sure to take action on the advice coming my way. I am a firm believer in that faith without action is dead and so is learning without taking action. Mine is a plan to learn from the giants and sit on their shoulders so that in an year or two, I will be among them.

  42. Debbie Curtis

    Sacrifice, schmacrifice!

    Reaching your goals with hard work, learning, and dedication is worth the effort. Okay, so I gave up ever buying take out food (not even coffee. I own a Thermos – and I know how to use it!). I love to write, and The Writer’s Den has given me the opportunity to learn about freelancing so I have the skills to go out there and say, out loud, ‘I’m a writer’.

    Later today, I’m putting on my marketing hat and working my way through a trade magazine that I have a steady gig with by cold calling every ad in there. The worst that can happen is that they say no. And I’m no worse off than I was before making the call. It isn’t that the Den has taught me to swallow any trepidation and do it anyway, it is that I’ve LEARNED HOW to make cold calls, write case studies, pitch trade magazines, set up a website, evaluate potential clients, and so much more.

    In the two (or three?) years I’ve been in the Den, I’ve taken every Bootcamp, and I also have figured out that I can be productive while cooking or eating by listening to audio clips from the Resource Library. Last spring, I had to leave the security of the full-time day job due to an injury, but it is a blessing in disguise – more time to market!

    In short, The Writer’s Den has changed my life. I’ve always wanted to write, I’ve always wanted a job I could do from home, and one that I could do past ‘retirement’ age. As long as I can type, I can make money, and that feeling of self-sufficiency is priceless, especially in these uncertain economic times. So is it a sacrifice – heck no – it’s living to the fullest because I get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. Be a full-time writer.

  43. Rachel

    I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life, but if someone had informed me that I was about to make one, I am not sure that I would have had the strength to follow through. Some things are better left unsaid.

    I grew up with a wonderful friend, the life of the class. The only problem was that she was never in class. She spent most of her school years in the hall. Somewhere around the age of sixteen, she started to turn around. Today she is one of the most successful in her field, her name known from coast to coast. How did she do it? My theory is that she went to school before the discovery of ADHD. If nobody tells you that you can’t, in most cases, you can.

    But it’s too late. You already said it. In order to be a successful writer, I have to think of a sacrifice. So here goes.

    Maybe I will sacrifice my tendency to waste time on dreaming and fantasizing. Nope, sorry, I need that to write…. and to survive.
    How about my great dislike of being confined (another way of saying lack of discipline). Non-applicable.I’m going to have to correct that no matter what field I choose, if I want to continue eating.

    I could give up the habit of doing one thing when I am supposed to be doing another.

    No good. Every writer needs the ability to stop in the middle of making dinner, pull out the pad and write.

    Wait, I thought of something! I think you’re going to like this one.

    I am going to sacrifice my FEAR!

    That little voice within that says, “You can’t do this, you’re wasting your time. Maybe you have a little bit of talent, but the road is too long. Go get an office job with a fixed salary … before it’s too late!”

    If I learn to ignore that voice, maybe I’ll succeed.

    After all, if nobody tells you that you can’t, in most cases, you can.

  44. Sumanto Sengupta

    I took up freelancing way back in 2011 as I was confident that it would give me peace of mind as well as artistic and financial freedom. It is true that to be a successful freelance writer one needs to make certain sacrifices. I am ready to sacrifice my comforts and come out of my comfort zone in order to take more risks and achieve success. I know that the life of a writer is very testing as it takes a lot to be successful. To get myself established as a writer I have to be more open to taking up new challenges that come my way. Rejections are a part of every writer’s journey. With rejection comes disappointments and agony. However, to deal with rejections every successful writer has one way or the other made some sacrifices. As writing is a learning process, I want to give up habits which restrict my growth as a writer. My attitude and nature also hold me back from pushing myself in achieving more in my writing journey. There are small things in life from which we derive immense enjoyment and pleasure. These things consume a lot of time and are unproductive in nature. Such as watching TV, going out with friends, going for a movie, spending time on social media. These are all distractions and comforts which take away my focus of becoming a successful writer. So to use time more productively and efficiently, I have to sacrifice these small things of happiness. Sacrifices and diligence often lead to amazing results. I have immense love for writing and so every sacrifice will be worth taking. As I get more focused on becoming a successful writer, all these sacrifices will help me in realizing my ultimate goal and make life more enjoyable and happy.

  45. Donna Woolam

    Sacrifice. Giving up. Giving away. Turning my back on what I hold dear, to gain something greater.

    I sacrifice Timidity to be a successful Freelance Writer. I boldly submit my writing for consideration; such as this fragmented piece of prose.

    I silence the voices of the ever-present tormentors of the Centralized Taser System. They strive to paralyze my hopes and dreams with biting electric shocks. With deadly accuracy, they fling their charged weapons at my heart: “Failure.” “Stupid.” “Not good enough.” “Give up now before you make a fool of yourself.”

    I let go of my opinions to declare the position of the client, so they, in turn, can meet the needs of their clients and customers. Willingly, I sacrifice television and scanning social media in exchange for in-depth research about the company and their message.

    I let go of the place within which cries, “Look at me!” to carefully ghost the voice of my patron. I do this knowing there are other places for my voice to be heard.

    I release what I think I know about writing to cultivate the skills of a successful freelance writer. I refuse to plant Complacency in my garden. Rather, I grow Curiosity, which like sunflowers follow the path of the sun. I study to know the current trends in communication. I plant carpets of Discipline, and complete the work quickly, carefully and purposefully.

    I give away my seat at the back of the room, for a place at the table. I exchange a tendency to hide in the corner, with a willingness to move to the center of the room. I turn my back on fear and regret and turn toward the gift. I choose something greater. I choose to write for others.

  46. Frederic Widlak

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?
    The word “sacrifice” is not to be taken lightly. I believe that it goes beyond the common notion of “doing without something,” “giving something up,” or “taking a short-term loss in return for a long-term gain.” The Biblical sense of sacrifice is to consecrate, to make something sacred, to set it apart from “ordinary reality.” Ceisiwr Serith says that sacrifice can be thought of as controlled chaos — the power of entropy that can disrupt our Cosmos – our orderly lifestyle. Sacrifice allows the power of outside forces to enter our Cosmos in a controlled manner, invigorating it without destroying it.
    A sacrifice cannot be reduced to a hidden contractual agreement, governed by a principle of self-interest. That would simply be a transaction – the Jerry Maguire approach of “Show me the money!” I give you the goods and you give me your money. Instead, a sacrifice must be a transformation – an irreversible change. This enables strivers to go beyond their expectations, to provide them with the greatest results possible.
    So, how do I apply these ideas to my wish to become a successful freelance writer? It is more than time management. Surely, I must allocate more time to writing rather than informal Internet surfing, sports events viewing, or other recreational activities. But a true commitment goes beyond that and requires me to develop a “new reality” – a change of focus to make writing the top priority. This transformation will disrupt my Cosmos, making me uncomfortable and forcing me to reorganize my mindset, as well as my behavior.
    “No pain, no gain,” is an overused cliché, but this will be my constant reminder as I shift from my academic career to self-employment. I look forward to getting on board.

  47. Ann Tanmayi Bruce

    Whilst growing up, my dad would always say to me that the word is mightier than the sword. I half listened at the time. Well, words weren’t as interesting as tennis and boys! I suppose you could say I totally listened in that I went into the Agency world. More by luck than judgement I might add. What I couldn’t sacrifice in that world though, was authenticity. You see, I struggled with selling the concept, of say, a luxury watch when ‘out there’ in the wide world the word luxury held many different connotations.

    That was then and this is now. I can be authentic and I can turn down clients with too many red flags!

    I looked up the word sacrifice. The meaning I have aligned with is ‘An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something more important.’ Now, here’s the thing – giving up? What might occur if I constantly sat in a space inside of me where my heart continually sings? Where I am in alignment with all and everything I am? Where I am writing – thanks, Dad – and being paid for it. Where my client’s problem and my solution works every time.

    So my word is living my life passionately and my sacrifice is FEAR.

    There’s a great and old self-help book from the nineties called ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.’ I’ve learned to stay in the moment and express my creativity and my passion for the written craft. And, yes, I’m worthy of payment too!

    When I sit in this space, my head is held high, I am solid, yes, I AM a Freelance Writer. I am not becoming… I AM.

  48. Tom Bentley

    Comfort is the thing I’m willing to sacrifice to fully live the freelancing life. Not necessarily physical comfort, though with long hours in a chair, knuckling away at the keyboard, glazed eyes screenward, bodily ease ain’t easy.

    No, the comfort I mean is of the mental breed, the seeming simplicity of a regular job, orderly hours, clear expectations, a road that’s mapped. That’s not the comfort of a freelancer, who instead faces uncertainty, rejection and a future hazed with guesswork (and even perplexity).

    Few freelance writers are built for comfort, because they have to continually push, probe for the talent or tone that sets them apart in the minds of their clients—and with each success, the pendulum swings back: your writing has to prove itself worthy all over again.

    Not exactly comfortable.

    But yet, but yet. The discomfort, the renewed anxiety, the clanging bell of a deadline—there’s a peculiar satisfaction in it, the sheriff walking the dusty streets going to meet the gunslingers one more time, who knows the outcome? (Yeah, the gunslinger analogy might be a bit precious, but we’re writers, right?)

    We sacrifice comfort because there are few things as satisfying as seeing your words work, whether you are casting fictional spells in a crafty tale, or spinning a story that spills a company’s soul so well that customers can’t do anything but buy.

    Sometimes your words sing, and people will pay you—and pay you well—for them. Imagine that. Comfort be damned.

  49. Sue Calhoun

    Thanks for running this contest Carol – here is my submission:

    At my age it’s easy to feel like I’ve already sacrificed for everyone and everything except myself and my writing! I doubt I have anything left for writing, really. Like many women, I’ve spent my resources raising a family, first as a wife then as a single mom. My own parents, now getting older, rely on me to help out. I’ve already given my time, income, retirement account, and even my own health to take care of the most important thing – my family. Now, where are any more resources to give to writing? What else can I sacrifice that I haven’t already given to someone else?

    It’s obviously a trick question, because of course the answer is “Everything!” This time, finally, to write. So what is left? I have many gifts still to give: good health; mindfulness; self-respect, fear and vulnerability; every hour of every waking day; a small income; even a tiny space in my small home. I’m willing to give all of this and more! And yet, this is not a sacrifice. I didn’t consider caring for my loved ones a “sacrifice”, and in the same way, neither will I “sacrifice” for writing. I’m simply raising, rearing, caring for, and watching grow that vulnerable little thing that I’ve been given by the universe, this small bit of talent to nourish with dedication and devotion. After all, I’ve done this before. It will take all of my character and will and every drop of resources, it will require my entire being to bring this new “child” to life. And I will do it willingly, happily, because I must do it, and want to do it, and I know I will be repaid a millionfold, by becoming myself, to laugh and learn and be amazed along the way.

  50. Alexandra Johnson

    I am willing to sacrifice my time in order to become a successful freelance writer. Time is a funny one: we are all credited with the same amount of it, it’s how we choose to use it that differentiates us and separates the successful from the mediocre.

    You see I spend my time fruitlessly reaching out to the wrong clients, tendering my services to people who are either interested yet can’t afford my words, or worse, want to pay mere pennies for them. I’ve lost track of the number of people who have promised me work but want ‘free samples’ first (my extensive portfolio not quite cutting the mustard). And don’t remind me of the countless hours I’ve wasted submitting proposals to content mills where the race to the bottom is soul destroying (not to mention the anxiety-inducing, second guessing I put myself through when I’m not selected, even though I matched their budget). 

    I will sacrifice these empty hours for the sake of furthering my writing career. I want to fill them instead with knowledge and learning, to lay proper foundations for a successful writing career which will afford me a life I want, not just allow me to scrape by each month.

    I figure in order to be a successful freelance writer I must abandon my old, (ineffective) work finding habits and begin afresh, and what better way to do that than by learning from those who have gone before me. Why reinvent the wheel? I will reach out with both hands to grab the spectacular opportunity that a year in the den will provide me, and I will never again worry about wasted time. 

  51. Abraham Ogebe Adonduwa

    As an aspiring freelance writer, my biggest challenge is cultivating the habit of sitting down to write instead of always procrastinating and making excuses.
    I am either swarmed with work or too tired from work or I need to hang out in order to grow my network.
    Now I will commit myself to forming new habits. I have an active social life and a 9 to 5 job in my home here in Abuja, Nigeria, however I will give up my social activities and focus three hours of every evening on developing my craft. No more social life every evening or every other evening except on Saturdays and Sundays when I can write during the day and hang out at night.
    This is just for a start. Ultimately I hope to reach a point where I can quit my job as a salesman, selling products for someone else’s’ company, and focus on working on my own terms as a freelance writer selling my work wherever I can for whatever amount of money I decide. I will write late into the night or in the wee hours of the morning. I will suspend my Netflix account and my cable subscription until this habit of writing becomes one with my mind, body and soul.
    I hope to become my own boss and be an inspiration for others like me who are trapped in a job where they don’t find fulfillment. I hope to write until my work sells itself and I no longer have to try too hard to secure paying clients. With the help and guidance of this great community for freelance writers, I hope to achieve all of this and more. I look forward to joining and learning on this journey to self sustenance as a freelance writer.

  52. Nnenna

    Sacrifice is one thing you give when you are passionate about something and it cannot be assumed, for writing, one thing I know for sure is that I am passionate about and I love it. To build a career on it, I will sure sacrifice time and be devoted to it.
    I will also be committed and dedicated to it so as to help me develop myself in various subjects and areas that will expand my horizon.
    This Freelance writing career for me will help will help fulfill my writing dreams, and prefect my writing skills and also help me explore. Like it is being said Readers are Leaders, and I will put Writing and Reading make Excellent Leaders

  53. James Husum

    I’m willing to sacrifice my procrastination, my self-doubts, and my lack of confidence in my own writing skills. I’m willing to sacrifice my arrogance that there is nothing new for me to learn. I’m willing to sacrifice my lack of focus.

  54. Christina Gonzalez

    I would have to sacrifice my fear first. Not all of it, because without fear, when do we risk? Risk can, if taken, cost the dearest sum or allow one to scale new heights.
    Joining hands with fear on my refuse pile would be my doubt. Again, not all of it, because one needs incentive to ask questions, to verify, to look further.
    Yet, I must not doubt that I can be the successful independent writer that I want to be. To doubt it’s the right time, that I can do it at this age, with other goals also in need of nurturing. Not doubt I can be the caretaker of my writing ambitions and other matters with the right efforts.
    I would give up some more sleep, because that’s a given for me when I make room for a new venture. It won’t be permanent, but it might be part of a sustained push for a time.
    I will give up some social and leisure activities to save money and invest in my skills, the variety of reading material I have, and business supplies. No more watching the latest TV as fast as my friends do (unless I have an assignment).
    I will give up that voice in my head that sees older writing of mine and is intimidated by the dread that whispers ‘You’ll never write that well again”.
    I’d also sacrifice my outdated portfolio full of old links, sometimes from now-defunct web outlets.
    I would give up waiting for a better time to start.

  55. David Gargaro

    I am willing to sacrifice everything that I’ve currently been doing during my work day that has taken away from building my business. That includes:
    – Spending time on social media that has nothing to do with promoting my writing and work
    – Engaging in diversions that distract me from my work
    – Applying to gigs that I know won’t pay my rate or that are outside my area of interest or expertise
    However, I won’t sacrifice time with my daughter. It’s been a constant battle to continue earning a living while still making sure that I have time for her. She sometimes ask why I have to work, and I always make sure that it’s not affecting our nights and weekends.
    – Working with clients and on projects that do not fall within my interest or expertise
    – Procrastinating with respect to finishing my current book or starting a new one
    – Going around in circles on updating my website

  56. Elisabeth Lee

    To become a successful freelance writer, I am willing to sacrifice everything I know:

    the boxed-in thinking that has kept my path narrow and fixed;
    the miscalculated confidence that keeps me small;
    the comfort zone that is now defying me and seeping the air I breathe;
    the shackles of others’ expectations that beckon me into their house of mirrors;
    the could haves, should haves, would haves, and if-onlys that punctuate my hindrance;
    the “justifications” that are veiled excuses in high heels and a sassy black dress; and
    the perceived security that keeps me tethered to the faux American dream.

    I am ready to sacrifice my weighted past, where I reside much of the time, to do a cannonball into the bodacious future where I truly belong.

    I am ready to utilize a comfy chair in The Den to build a solid foundation and finally commit to my meant to be.

    I am ready.

  57. Wayne Drury


    Is the glass half empty or full? To become a successful freelance writer, did I sacrifice?


    With everything we do in life, we have choices to make. Do we take one job over another, move to another country, or buy that expensive car? We may not think about options in detail, but do evaluate the pros and cons associated anything we want to do. For me, the biggest issue was, “what does my wife think?”


    I did not sacrifice anything. What we did was make decisions that were best for my wife and me. We did not think about what we would lose, but what we would gain. Here are some of the gains from our list:

    1. I spend quality time with my wife. I write each day but can schedule to suit the things we want to do together.

    2. Our expenses have been reduced. I do not spend two hours per day commuting.

    3. We are free to go and live somewhere else and are moving to the Costa del Sol, Spain. What a sacrifice, “hey.”

    4. I am doing what I love to do, which has improved my mental and physical health.

    5. I can focus on what is important to us and not what is important to someone else.


    A full-time job was a security blanket. Taking the plunge to become a freelance writer required getting beyond my fears of losing that blanket. I did that by building a plan and a reasonable client list.

    Going through all of this with my wife, we looked at the glass half-full and took the plunge. We are both ecstatic we did.

  58. Cynthia Crosley

    The most important thing in my life right now that I am willing to sacrifice for freelance writing is giving up be and taking on do. At 51, I am quite spoiled in my daily life. I work full time as a librarian, a dream career for the second half of my life. My husband and I moved to a coastal community five years ago to live our dream of being beach bums. I currently do not have a set schedule for my meals, fitness, hobbies, grandchildren, or pets. Other than my commitment to my career and the responsibilities that holds, everything else is what it is. I have loved throughout my life and find new people and things to love daily. I have lost great love through death which stabbed a hole of infinite depth in my heart. I give my love, my skills, my knowledge, my faith, my opinion. I take advantage of lazy Sunday evenings and sunny summer beach days. I dream and I plan for how those dreams may come true. I think and the words fill my head and mingle with the ideas of how to share those words. The words, the creativity, the passion are all clamoring to be released. It is time. It is time to set this particular dream in motion. It is time to put myself and my words out there. It is time to do. I am ready to do this.

  59. Line Dugayo

    Sacrifice. Its truest meaning was showed to me by my parents since early childhood. It strengthened me through all the challenges I faced to obtained what I wanted most in life, coupled with my great faith in God.
    I won a university scholarship in accounting. I studied hard to maintain ridiculously high grades so that I can finish college. For four years, relationships and all “fun” activities were put on hold or not entertained at all. I was focused and gave up everything that will deviate my concentration off my goal. My sacrifices paid off really well. I graduated with a degree of BS Accountancy and was offered to work in the most prestigious accounting office in my country.
    While working hard to be a good accountant, I met my husband and had the whirlwind romance I dreamed of. Just like “Cinderella, Snow White, etc.” in my favorite fairy tales, my prince came and swept me off my feet. I took my marriage vows seriously. But it required sacrifices I was not told or made ready to do. The first few years were peaceful. However, as soon as I got pregnant everything changed. Everyday demanded hardships from me. Twenty-two years later, my sons are in college and I am still married to my prince.
    Currently, my dream is to be a successful freelance writer. I am willing and will make myself capable to make big sacrifices. All my life, I wanted to be a writer. My time, energy, laser-like focus and strong faith will be devoted to achieving that goal. I am aware of my need to learn more. My deep confidence in the ability of the “Den Mother” Carol Tice and the Freelance Writers Den Community to teach and guide me, give me hope that I can.

  60. Maggi Sebastian

    If I have to sacrifice one thing for a successful freelance writing career, it would the time that I hold dear and use to binge watch Castle and Harry Potter. I want to make it big in this field, but as a full-time student and part-time writer, I find myself strapped for time that it is impossible to dedicate the time, this craft requires. Even though I know I should spend my TV time to research and write more, my self-doubts and inability to click that submit buttons each time I try to approach a potential client makes me a complete failure in this field. I know I have the ability, but I lack the confidence to brand myself as a professional writer. If it will help, I will gladly sacrifice those wasteful TV hours to perfect my craft and be the success I want to be.

    Also, I will gladly remove myself from the temptations of those penny paying jobs Internet offers. I realize those are the crutches I hang on and it is what prevents me from boldly entering the writing field. Those jobs devalue a person’s work and make one question their actual worth. I depend on them to prove to myself that it is possible to make money online, but they also bring in doubts about the income one could make from the Internet. I know entering the freelance writing world, is a road full of hurdles. All I am asking for is someone to guide me through.

    In short, I am willing to sacrifice my pleasure time, self-doubts, and other online temptations, for a future that leads to success in freelance writing.

  61. Cynthia H

    In order to (finally!) become a successful freelance writer, I’m willing to sacrifice my excuses. It’s time to throw out “I’m too tired.” I’ll give the old heave-ho to “I don’t know enough about x.” The axe will fall on “What if they laugh at me?” I’ll feather my empty nest with “My son needs my full attention.” (He’s 19 and living on his own now). And of course, I’ll hire a garbage truck to haul away “Look at that messy closet that really needs to be sorted this instant!” Those crutches (or are they stumbling blocks?) have kept me treading water as a mid-level writer for a few years now, and it’s time to dispose of them once and for all. Carol, if you accept me into the Den, I’ll drop them outside the door with the pile of detritus left behind by your members who are already achieving greater success in their careers!

  62. Mandy Netherton

    Five days a week I step into a work world that is set within critical thinking and reasoning, seemingly distanced from the more creative world of writing. I made this choice early in life, from the perspective of income and survival. This is not where my spirit lies, however. The desire to shift how I spend my time into the realm of the written word is yelling and tugging at my pants like my three-year-old.

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? I’m willing to sacrifice my free time. That equates to about two hours a day. Because, in all honesty, that’s all that is mine to give. Having gone through a couple of failed businesses, my husband is beginning a new career. My family needs my current income. The desire to live as my true self, however, is fighting frantically to the surface, tugging and yelling more vigorously each day. And I’m listening. So while I’ll not say that I can dedicate twelve, six, or even four hours a day to the dream, I will give what I have. Every chance I get.

    I want to write for a living as bad as anyone else here. I’m also rooted in reality, which, I believe, can be altered with time and dedication. Every outcome starts somewhere. And sometimes, we get a little help.

  63. Amy Lehman

    I am willing to sacrifice almost anything to become a successful freelance writer. I mean, I sacrifice time with family, a clean house, a trim waist, moments with friends; but I sacrifice even more than that. I sacrifice myself too. I put heart and soul into everything I write and then send it into the world where it can be often rejected and occasionally ridiculed. I sacrifice my self-esteem at times. I sacrifice my sanity sometimes or so it seems. I am willing to sacrifice whatever it will take to follow my dream to it’s conclusion.

  64. Steven Maynard

    I am willing to sacrifice all of the familiarity and comfort with my lifestyle to become a successful freelance writer. Hell, I’ve already left a stable and secure job that within a year would have presented me a $50k+/year opportunity. I left because I was good at it, I made a decent living, and everyone wanted me to advance in the field. I left because I knew if I didn’t, I’d let myself get trapped in a job I hated to support a lifestyle I could only give half my heart to. So, I quit and I picked up a regular day-job at less than half my previous yearly salary. I gave up all of the luxuries that came with my job. I quit going out for steak three times a month just because I could afford it. I don’t go to or throw parties anymore, and I’ve lost relationships because I’m “never around anymore”. I’m willing to lose all of that.

    In my life, there’s a lot of people with the mindset that “you need to do whatever pays the bills”. I’m willing to sacrifice those people and their approval. I’m willing to do this because I need to be able to throw myself into my work. I need to know I’m not just working for what I can get out of the job. I need work that lights my soul on fire and burns me from the inside out. The only thing that does that for me is writing. For that, I’ll sacrifice whatever stands in the way.

  65. Juli Ocean

    The clock reads 11 am on Tuesday morning and I have to be at the “day job” by noon. I see an essay contest invitation for the first time. After a too busy weekend my mole eyes look up from the key board where my nose has been for the past two days catching up on assignments and class work. At least three time each day I think, what have I signed up for? Can I do this? Can I be a freelancer? In the contest email the question “What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?” It grips me and without another breath I put timers on pause. If I don’t do this right now, the chance will disappear behind not-quite-ready blog posts and a side column of suggested improvements from the editor.
    I know the answer. I’m willing to sacrifice working for pathetic hourly pay. I’m willing to sacrifice all of my whining and complaining and deliver the work on time, done to the best of my ability and as error free as possible. I’m willing to sacrifice my right now and stop saying someday. I am willing to sacrifice my pride and shyness and fear and step out to talk to strangers, send letters to introduce myself and make forward progress. Pull the trigger.
    I’m even willing to sacrifice early mornings and occasionally evenings to get a rush project turned around and make myself memorable to a client. I am willing to sacrifice a savings account gasping for air for a fat sassy one. I’m willing to sacrifice kicking back to start taking life easy for ramping up my career and accomplishing this dream that has been a star just beyond my reach for too long and claim writing as my super power.

  66. Andrea Payme

    When I read the essay question, I was somewhat confused about how to approach it. I had a series of thoughts: Why is Carol asking this question? She’s a smart lady and successful businessperson who knows all about the sacrifices involved in launching a writing business. There’s nothing new I could tell her that she doesn’t already know—x10! Plus, how can I identify all the things I’d be willing to sacrifice before the circumstances have actually arisen in my life? What kind of essay can I write that will impress her enough to award me a free year of cuddling up in her cozy den (especially since I’m already a paying customer)?

    In the spirit of “out-of-‘boxness’,” I present: (drumroll here…) A mini-listicle within an essay! (Psst! I’m hoping for extra credit for the complicated punctuation in the first sentence of this paragraph. Researched it for an hour.)

    The Seven Things I am NOT Willing to Sacrifice to Become a Successful Freelance Writer
    (Plus, seven freebie mantras to keep me on track.)

    1. My physical health. (Gotta stand up while writing. Watch out for mindless munching.)

    2. My family and relationships. (Face-to-face time, not FaceTime!)

    3. My spiritual health. (Remember, there’s life beyond the here and now.)

    4. My fiscal responsibility. (Don’t have the moolah to pay in full? Don’t buy it!)

    5. My willingness to seek knowledge. (Always room for learning more and improving skills.)

    6. My vision of being a financial success. (Screw the naysayers, and avoid bottom feed work.)

    7. My ability to work as a team-player. (Clients are co-workers. Get along with them!)

    I know that I will not always be 100% successful at sticking to my list. But it’s something to shoot for now that I’ve got it down on paper. Thanks, Carol!

  67. Amy E Scott

    I’ve been watching the writing world from the sidelines for a long time now. I’m good at sacrifice; As a farmer for the last decade, I’ve learned a thing or two about hard work and going without. Going without sleep, without good shoes, without a proper meal. Sacrifice is natural now, something doesn’t feel right unless it’s demanding everything I’ve got.
    Now it’s time to sacrifice for a bigger dream though, the dream to connect with others and tell stories. It’s one that’s full of different kinds of sacrifices- smaller ones, and sometimes scarier. The routine of walking the fields each day, not harvesting peppers for market. Sacrificing the confidence of a job where I know I do a damn fine job for one I’m less practiced in.
    It’s about time I sacrificed the thing things I’ve known to work towards a new kind of life. One where I learn to tell the stories I’ve been collecting and help others tell theirs. Words have been following me since I was a child and they’ve finally caught up demanded their turn. I’m ready to give them whatever it takes.

  68. Steph B.

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?
    – wasted time for productive time writing
    – casual relationships for the ones that really matter
    – knowing what’s going on in the world for knowing what’s going on in the world of my clients
    – thinking it’s too hard to get started for just doing the hard work of marketing and writing
    – safety for vulnerability
    – creative license for cooperative alliance
    – fear for courage
    – what if for I did it!

  69. Lorie B.

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? My two biggest distractions: social media and television.

    As writers we are often isolated and I find social media keeps me feeling connected. However, oftentimes I fall down the rabbit hole and those few stolen moments to “check on just one thing” can lead to hours wasted which could have been spent writing, or researching a project or places to submit, or finding new clients.

    At the end of a long day I often find myself parked in my favourite recliner with my feet up, cool beverage in hand, ready to unwind in front of the “boob tube” as my mother used to call it. My time would be much better spent in The Den pursuing my craft.

    It’s time for me to let these monsters go and stop the time suck!

  70. Karen Ingle

    Here in the Den I have at last found courage to mount these steps to the altar and make this sacrifice. Surrounded by murmured encouragement from others who know this struggle, I place my timid, safer self on the glowing coals. Though it once seemed meek as a lamb, that part of me has no desire to die. It struggles. Hard. But it is done. And now as the flames consume it, I watch what I thought was its prudence melt away to reveal fear. Its desire for privacy was actually perfectionism protecting itself from public censure, from the humbling process of learning.

    I step back from the altar, amid the cheers of fellow denizens. Together we smile, a little shyly at first, in the blazing light of greater freedom than we have ever known. Fear and perfectionism had kept us from risking growth. Now we have laid them down, let them go, let them burn. We have sacrificed a sort of safety, yes. But in doing so we have stepped out of the chains that kept our dreams out of reach.

    Trembling, I descend the steps, feeling as vulnerable as a crab that has molted its outgrown shell. What’s next? I can’t be sure. Will I become all I ever hoped to be? I don’t know—yet. I only know I have sacrificed my confined security for the chance to grow. And in the Den I have found a community where it is safe to try and fail, to risk and change.

    Here, sacrifice may just be the seed of success.

  71. Craig Denby

    Yikes, where to start?

    Sacrifice means so many different things to so many.

    As a cereal entrepreneur (Yes I spelled it that way on purpose!
    …I love to eat.

    Eat up the entire process of moving a prospect to customer.

    Sacrifice brings me back to Wadsworths poem of toiling thru the night while others slept.

    I am that person. Done it and will do it again.
    24/7 cereal entrepreneur…

    Sacrifice comes in so many forms…
    Maybe by driving 300 miles to understand the prospect/customer dynamics. Possibly from waking at 3 am to put pen to paper. Or like Wadsworth spending days & nights with phone calls & online research.

    Each piece of work is like a bowl of cereal, only similar (Not the Same) to the last.

    No matter sacrifice is key to understanding not just what the client needs, what the customer wants and what sacrifices must be done to create that relationship.

    So why the Den?
    Online courses, community colleges and weekend workshops are everywhere.

    Professionals in all walks of life from atheletes to nursugerons have coaches and peer review to guide them; to hone their craft.

    I cannot find a better place than the Den.

  72. Jen Fitzpatrick

    I have been freelance writing for over a year now and I know that in order to be more successful, I really need to push myself and get out of my comfort zone more. I have always been the type of person that wants to help people, even if it means that I am short-selling myself, especially with pay.

    I know that I will have to give things up in order to be successful at this and I am willing to do what it takes. Since I have a husband and three children that need me, I will be giving up any free time that I normally would enjoy as well as sleep.

    In order to achieve my goals, I see myself working every minute of the day when my husband is at work and my children are at school, and then locking myself in my office on the weekends for a little extra writing. I am also planning on getting up earlier than the rest of my family, so that I can have a couple of hours of time dedicated to writing.

    It is going to be difficult, but I know that I can tackle this challenge just like I have tackled many others in my life. I am already surviving two autoimmune diseases that I will NOT let take over my life as well as the death of my mom last year. I may have lost one of my biggest cheerleaders in life, but I will continue to strive to become the best person that she knew that I could be.

  73. Nadine

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer, you ask? As I am reading your email about the Den opening, I am thinking about what I’m currently subscribed to that I can cancel to make sure that I can become a Denizen. So far, I have come up two things, I am willing to sacrifice and the third my family must sacrifice, they just don’t know it yet. But the Den is open, and I need to get in. To become a successful freelance writing, I am willing to sacrifice my me time, my summer vacation, and freedom from regret! I don’t want to look back a year, 5 years, or 10+ years from now, wishing that I would have, could have, should have spent more time or effort on becoming a successful freelance writer.

  74. Heather Tudor

    For a chance at writing, I’m willing to sacrifice the universal motherly ‘right’ to nag my children into success, into believing in themselves the idea that they can go, do, be anything they want to go, do and be. The reason I need to sacrifice this motherly right that I hold dear is because they’ve begun to look at me half cross-eyed, half rolled eyes, but with all the attitude of “what do YOU know about it?”.

    I can no longer bear the knowing looks of 12 to 15 year olds who wish their mother would pursue her own career or writing dreams and stop living vicariously through the hopes and dreams they possess for themselves. When life and self-doubt seemed to get in the way of any 15-year-old dreams I had…HEY! Why don’t I just have children and raise THEM to believe in themselves? Then push and push and push them to go for things they want, push them to complete all the work to get there, study, know that they have all the knowledge and power to do it, push some more, get frustrated when they express doubt. But, when they turn their faces back to me and ask, “If you could go back in time, what do you wish you would have done?”. My thoughts always come back to: I wish I would’ve pursued writing. Not because I think it would be a great career, but because I think I have something to say. “Well, why didn’t you?”, they ask. “Because I’m 4—-! Now shut your sassy mouth.” doesn’t really seem like an appropriate response. Giving up the right to push them unless I’m willing to push myself – at 45 years old, maybe I’m finally getting it.

  75. Renayle Fink

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?


    What do I mean by that?

    Although I love to write, and want to be a freelance writer the rest of my life, I also have not taken it seriously. And that’s because I haven’t told myself to take it seriously.

    Sure, I start off the year by saying “Okay, I am going to work on being a freelance writer, grow it so I can earn full-time money working part-time, and having the freedom to set my hours and my rules.

    After a couple of months, I get discouraged. And that’s where myself tells me things like “It’s too hard today. Don’t worry about marketing. Watch some t.v.” or “Spend time with your friends and go out. You can do it tomorrow.” Better yet, the good old “Just spend five minutes on Facebook,” which turns into half a day.

    Then tomorrow comes, and nothing happens.

    So why am I putting my foot down now?

    Because I’m tired of being unhappy. My job is easy, but it doesn’t fulfill me. I have done sporadic work with one content agency, but I’m sick of waiting forever to get work (and to get paid). Because if I don’t keep going at it and keep pushing through, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.

    I need to sacrifice myself telling me to procrastinate, or trying to quit, or even saying I’m not good enough. Instead, I will tell myself that every great person had to work their way up, so strap on your boots and get to climbing.

  76. Logan Derrick

    If I were to give up one thing to become a successful freelance writer, it would be my current lifestyle of monotony.

    Boredom has become my life over the course of the past few years. Although I work for a company that pays very well and offers tremendous benefits, the few menial tasks that make up my day-to-day routine at the office seem to be slowly sucking the life from me.

    I don’t want to make a living doing nothing. That is not who I am. As crazy as it sounds, it is my dream to work on projects that will make me lose sleep at night. I crave a life of deadlines, multiple assignments to work on at the same time, and truly earning my next paycheck. I want to have work that I care about, because it is making a difference for someone.

    I recently discovered the power of written words and the ability I have to make a living as a writer. I didn’t think it was possible until I found sites like this one. There are so many ways to use words, and I feel as though the creative within me is ready to burst after being suppressed for so long. Having researched and studied freelance writing for months now, it is time to put this new found knowledge to action.

    I hope the world is ready for my words, because I assure you, my words are ready for the world. It’s time for a life of business, instead of boredom.

  77. Wendy Meyeroff

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    Self-pity and terror. For over 20 years I’d been a successful freelancer writer when 9/11 happened and destroyed hubby and I. First it was financial, then health issues arose. I actually had to stop typing and – due to surgery—couldn’t communicate clearly for quite some time.

    I tried to get back to work earlier than my doctors allowed. Partly ‘cause we needed the income, but mainly ‘cause I’ve adored my work since starting. My specialty is health writing and not the clinical side (which pays best) as much as business and consumer/patient education. Hubby jokes I chose this area ‘cause being a reporter was the only way to get a doctor to give straight answers to questions! I did fairly well, with print and online clients ranging from Good Housekeeping to CBS to the NIH.

    Anyway, my surgery caused terrible failure with my initial work. I sank into depression. I tried teaching classes as I’d done many times, but couldn’t draw in students. I’ve met potential clients, but often fail to do the follow-up properly just ‘cause of fear of failure.

    I need a liaison with folks who truly understand and acknowledge not only the ups, but the downs. How do we handle bid failures? There’s increasing talk of healthcare acknowledging patient needs (most clinical writers can’t address) but I can look all over LinkedIn; where do I find the right contact(s)? And I mean for web content, white papers, infographics and other big projects. How do I muddle through on days when strength feels drained?

    Hubby and I are considered “too old” for staff jobs, so my freelance success is even more critical, BTW.

    I see other great responses, so I thank you for consideration.

  78. Christine Sang

    In order to be a successful freelance writer, I must think like one! I query:

    – Why is Carol asking, “What would you sacrifice to enter the Freelance Writers’ Den and become successful?

    – Is it because many writers joining the Den think this is easy-peesy?

    – Is this a pain point?

    Carol wants:

    – good energy in the Den

    – a strong, hardworking, sharing community

    – writers in the Den to become successful.

    In other words, Carol must want people who are joining the Den, to understand the value of the Den, and the real value of our writing.

    What’s the Den’s Value? What Would I Sacrifice?

    – Sacrifice = an exchange in return

    – Carol’s offering me access in exchange for me being a part of the community.

    – She’s “paying” me
    25$ x 12 months = $300
    +3-4 boot-camps @ $300 each = $1200
    +podcasts and transcripts, hmmm, 25$ each? = $900
    +a forum of experts +feedback +coaching +a docent = $$$$ off the charts.
    Lowball, she’s gifting me $3000 to be up-close with successful writers, and newbies like me.

    – If I meet Carol’s vision, earning even $40 hourly (which beats my 10cents now), her investment divided by 40 = 75 hours.

    – 75 divided over 12 months = 6.25

    I’m willing to sacrifice at least 6.25 hours of my time each month to GIVE BACK TO DEN MEMBERS! Commenting, helping others, sharing leads. I received my MFA-Creative Writing in May. I’m old enough to be Iris Apfel’s cohort. My value? Shedding fear and showing up for community so everyone reaches their personal goal.

    The Value of Our Writing?

    Even if I don’t win this contest, joining the Den @$25 is worth it. I’ve convinced myself. Will I see you inside?

  79. Mirta D.

    I would sacrifice issues that keep me out of writing, like
    – my reluctance to write due to my objections to my writing,
    – the ‘sacrifice-all-for-the-project’ operating mode (like not taking proper care of myself – sleep, eat, exercise, family, other things I love… – when I am into something).

    When I do decide to write, I give it my 100% and it usually turns out into something that gets to the heart of the target reader, and something I can be proud of. I love it when someone reads what I wrote to them or in public, and when it helps or inspires them in some way.

    However, for writing more often or on a regular basis, a whole list of objections against is on its way, that would need either to be done with one way or another (to be addressed or to go):
    – not a big fan because writing takes me more time than I would like (whether because I have no material, have too much material, or need a better system),
    – not sure whether the topic is good,
    – not sure what to write about (no idea, or too many ideas),
    – everything else gets behind, etc.

    So, if I would get a free pass into the Den, I would allow myself to start with my writing journey, instead of letting my objections to it call the shots.

    P.S. I thought my response would be 1-2 sentences at the most – the point has been made and I had no intention or an inspiration for an essay on this hot summer day, but 2-3 hours later I am cutting the half out to meet the word limit. So, there’s that ‘one more thing (objection to be sacrificed)…’: ‘just 1-2 sentences’ turning into an essay 2-3 hours later.

  80. Joyce B.

    I am willing to sacrifice all excuses I have made in the past for not going for what I have always wanted to do for a living: write.

    I am willing to sacrifice anything, well, anything but “taking a chance” to get equipped for the journey. I am willing to sacrifice the absolute mind-boggling misery, endured day-after-day, year-after-year, as I force myself to pretend that I am even remotely interested in working for someone else; doing things that bore me to the point of tears; doing tasks that, well, pale in comparison to watching paint dry! Oh, yes—I would sacrifice all of that—gladly! The list does not end there, though.

    I am willing to sacrifice the utter foolishness of sitting on my talents—even those that, clearly, need more development. I have had enough of living beneath my interests and passion.

    I am willing to sacrifice saying to myself—each time I read someone else’s wonderful book, article, blurb or blog, “Gee, I wonder what that’s like?”

    I am willing to sacrifice that empty, sad feeling I get in the pit of my stomach at the thought of not being able to just pick up and travel to WHEREVER one may need me to go, while they recover from some misfortunate ailment—or even more pleasant circumstances.

    I am willing to sacrifice all time-thieves (excessive email reading, fluffy-blogs, extra-sleep, whatever!) to make all the above sacrifices a reality. It is past time. I want to, at least, put myself in the place to be a help to others.
    Other than my willingness to sacrifice my “comfort-zone”, in order to SHOUT a BIG THANK YOU!—those are the things that I am willing to sacrifice.

    So THANK YOU—for what you already provide on your blog.

  81. Dwight Spencer

    Two months ago I lost my job. It was an unexpected loss, one I had no idea was coming or was ready for. To say this was not only a blow to my family’s economic situation but to me would be an understatement. I was consumed with fear: where would the money come from to pay bills or put food on the table was a daily question.

    I could stop here and tell you about the amazing woman I have the luck to call wife but that should set the picture. She sat me down and told me to go after my dream. We would be okay financially until I could realize the twenty-plus year dream of writing that has never left my mind and heart. She gave me the freedom and time to write – what a gift!

    So how could I squander such a gift? I try every day to develop my writing skills, find freelance opportunities, and create a life that I can be proud of. I have come to realize this dream takes hours and hours of hard work. Here’s a little secret: I love it!

    Now I need direction. I need a group of well-polished and hard-nosed writers to whip me into shape. I am building a presence but I am ready to take this to the next level.

    So what am I willing to give up? My pride, ego, time, blood, sweat, tears, a fifteen-year hobby, and everything else I need to.
    How can I not be willing to give up whatever it takes?

    I cannot fail.

  82. Ludmila Bachurska

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    The answer to this question seems to be obvious and simple. The first thought coming to my mind is that I can sacrifice what is necessary, but will that help? Will my inspiration come immediately after I quit doing some time-wasting activities? I doubt it.
    Writing is like a thunderstorm. The words come to me unexpectedly and want to be written down. It can happen any time of the day or night. Then I sit and write. Then my sacrifices occur. Instead of doing things that are essential, like the every-day household chores or just completing the tasks which had been planned before. Everything stays behind me.
    When I start writing, I lock myself in the house of imagination, throw away the key into the pond of thoughts. I am inside myself, I am cut off from reality, cut off my normal life. That is a unique sacrifice because for writing I can miss the chances of having new memories or the experience that I could gain during that time. I may lose the chance for love, the chance of winning the lottery or just the chance of some life-changes. It is my choice.
    My sacrifice cannot be easily defined, but it can be felt. Sacrifice leads to pain or suffering, the feeling of loss which may finally result in a good piece of writing. However, all of that must be spontaneous and unexpected, then the fruit can be picked up.

  83. Robin Reynolds


    To become a successful freelance writer I’m willing to sacrifice all inhibition to make it happen. I’m looking past any obstructions, taking risks to get my writing noticed. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, feeling entirely uncomfortable in my newly exposed vulnerability and then stepping some more. I’m replacing self-consciousness with newfound self-confidence by using my writing in new ways, with new audiences. I’m leaving all reservations behind to write about topics unknown. Without restraint, I’ve opened my writing up to a critical world with a judgmental eye and that’s okay, too. Each revision, each draft, each edit is simply chiseling away to my final masterpiece.

    Happy Birthday Freelance Writer’s Den and Cheers to many more!

  84. Diane

    What am I willing to sacrifice? The short answer is,staying in my comfort zone.

    Writers already know the discomfort of facing rejection and putting our cherished words out there for others to criticize.

    We also sacrifice time,and all the other things we could do with it,so we can do the writing.

    But to have a successful freelance career we have to sacrifice more.

    For me, marketing myself, contacting potential clients, and using technology to set up a website and use social media are all out of my comfort zone, some of it way out into terrifying territory.

    As a person who is uncomfortable with any kind of sales or self-promotion, the idea of putting myself out there sounds almost as scary as jumping out of a plane. But I want this enough to take that leap.

    Then there’s the matter of finally putting my lifelong dream into action and finding out: am I really good enough to do this?

    And finally, I will find it painful to give up some of the gentle structure of my days.

    I am used to starting my day gradually, warming up slowly, and taking time for study, exercise, and even reading a few educational emails, like Carol’s, before I start working.

    If I’m going to make this work, I’m going to have to streamline my routine, cut what isn’t necessary, do the things I need to in less time, and discipline myself to get down to work sooner.

    All of this is a substantial journey out of my comfort zone, and I’ll probably have to do it a few small steps at a time, but the destination is important to me.

    So here I go.

  85. Sara Sumner

    What am I willing to give up to be a freelance writer? Nothing.
    Freelancing, like most of life, is about outlook. Is that glass half empty or half full? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter as long as I believe I have the ability to find something to fill it up. The important things in life are what matters and I’m not willing to compromise on any of them.
    Last fall, I left my job to stay home with my children. They need me for more than just the weekends. They need me to serve lunch, play games in the afternoon and help with homework. So, our family took the financial hit and I became a full-time mom. My family, my friends, my community, all of it comes first. Everything else is merely icing on the cake. But icing costs money. Frankly, my family costs money! Dressing, feeding, schooling and entertaining requires funds that my husband alone cannot be expected to provide.
    I’ve tried freelancing before. I put in my time at the online content mills before going out and getting a “real job.” But, like so many others, although I can write, I was missing the tools and knowledge needed to build a business. And every time I received another “Thank you for choosing our publication, but…” email or hit another undervalued brick wall, I lost a little more faith in my abilities and my dreams. This time, I want it to be different.
    The more I think about it, the more I realize I am willing to give up something. I’m giving up the fear of rejection, the procrastination, the negativity and self-doubt that has continued to hold me back. I’m pushing away the half-baked attempts at fulfilling my dreams, picking up a pen (or more likely keyboard) and writing.

  86. Rose Anderson

    The latest season of The Walking Dead despite my obsession with Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon.

    Political arguments on Facebook even though some people are wacko and deserve to be chastised on a daily basis. I’ll leave them to their own beliefs.

    Procrastination. This will be hard to leave behind but I know it’s past time.

    Perfectionism in all it’s distracting forms.

    I’ll happily sacrifice my day job when my freelance income matches my current salary. There will be much rejoicing.

    Most of all, my own fear of failure.

  87. Gabrielle van Welie

    I’m willing to sacrifice something new each day.

    Right now, I might think I know what I need to give up on in order to succeed as a freelance writer. But tomorrow will bring new lessons and perspectives, all of which I’ll need to take into consideration.

    The important thing is: whatever the next challenge, I’ll be there for it.

    I’ll show up ready to learn, take notes, and build up the courage to act on them.

    I’m terrified of everything and excited for anything.

    Let’s do it.

  88. Monica Muehsam

    It’s never been appealing to me to be a starving artist, which may be one of the reasons why I am not a “successful” writer yet. I put successful in quotes because I consider myself a writer, been published several times, but I haven’t forsaken my fear of pursuing a full time writing career. I’ve never been willing to give up my comfortable steady income to take a chance on doing something that I love, because I’ve been too afraid to lose that security. It’s a huge risk, especially when you’re in your mid 50s with a child in college and another on his way in a year. But I recently started a new job, and although it’s much different than anything I’ve ever done, it’s become obvious to me that I’m never going to be happy working in the structured environment of corporate America. I realize that being a freelance writer doesn’t mean I’ll truly be “free”- free from deadlines, hard work, demands- but as a freelance writer, I will be in charge of my destiny, and the rewards I reap will be commensurate with the effort I put into it. I know I have to rid myself of those monumental fears and sacrifice the security of a well-paying, albeit thankless job in order to have the kind of career I’ve always dreamed of.

    What am I afraid of? Creating a writer website. Networking. Pitching story ideas. Rejection. Networking. Looking for leads when I’d rather be checking out Facebook. Did I mention networking?

    But ultimately what will I be sacrificing? Sitting in a cubicle five days a week. Grumbling with co-workers about how meaningless our work is. Watching the clock on Friday afternoon, anxiously waiting to leave so that I can enjoy my real life for a few precious hours before doing it all over again on Monday morning.

    Doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice at all.

    • Christina

      Wow. You really touched on a lot of my thoughts. Great post.

    • Layla A. Reaves

      Haha. Yes, networking is evil!

  89. Kevin J. Hotter

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    My ego. And, an 11-year career as an attorney.

    Years ago, I gave in to fear. I surrendered my dream of becoming a screenwriter for the more stable career as a lawyer. But, the itch never relented. Sure, I wrote a lot as an attorney. But, the writing was so stifling, so mechanical. And that’s not me.

    So, about a decade into being a lawyer, I downloaded some screenwriting software, and began writing again. This time, for me, and not for my boss. I was hooked. I knew what I had to do. Leave the law and pursue a life as a writer.

    And that’s what I did. But, it hasn’t been an easy transition. It’s been difficult financially and emotionally.

    And, that’s where the ego comes in. I like telling people I’m a lawyer. I enjoy the prestige, and there were many times I thoroughly enjoyed practicing law. I worked hard to become an attorney. And, I have 7 years of higher education debt to prove it.

    But, in the end. What drives me? That’s easy. Writing is the one thing in life that I’ve consistently enjoyed doing since I was 5 years old. Whether it’s writing a script, blog post, press release, or white paper – I love writing. It sounds corny, but I do.

    Now, of course, I’m certainly sacrificing more than just an ego and a career. I’m also sacrificing a steady paycheck. I have two very young kids. Not really an optimal time to go renegade. But, I know in my heart that this is the best decision for all of us.

    Because I’ll be able to show my kids – that risks are worth taking. And dreams are worth pursuing.

    • Carol Tice

      Kevin — I don’t think the Den has great resources for screenwriting, so I don’t think we’re the resource for you! But love your essay. 😉

      • Kevin

        Hi Carol – thank you for the kind words about my essay! I’m actually already a Den member. And I love the Den. Screenwriting is only part of what I do. I mention in the essay that I write blog posts, press releases and white paper. And I’ve already found several of your bootcamps helpful. Especially the bootcamp on business blogging.

  90. Emma Otusajo

    Writing has been the only thing I ever wanted to get right. I have never let this vision from my sight because there could be no better way to express what you want to say, impact on people’s lives and make a lasting impression.
    For this I will sacrifice… my sleep, my fears, my free time so that I can read more, write more and eventually excel at the written word.
    …My social life, a theatre trip, drinks with friends, until I have that article, blog post or story complete. I can socialise or go out anytime, but it’s my words I want to take me on a journey.
    Sacrifice lay-ins, early nights and my favourite TV show if it means that I can write that long-awaited sitcom that’s been driving through my head. Or that article that will not only be read but talked about and remembered for some time.
    …I will sacrifice my naturally introverted qualities as I reach out at networking events to writers, to businesses, to publishers to plug my finished writing talents.
    Sacrifice that call that’s come in or a trip to the gym, in exchange for my favourite corner by the window, with my favourite coffee in my favourite mug.
    I’ll put aside the money for the new shoes, the coat, the new haircut at the salon, the cost of a dinner and paying for tickets, so that I can instead book a place at the Writers’ Den.
    In my life, I want to know that I have written something that’s made an impact for a cause, that will be remembered for all the right reasons; a written piece that is without flaws.

  91. Ashleigh Luschei

    I would sacrifice Steve Carell.

    Hold on. Not in the human-sacrifice way. I love Carol Tice and the Den, but not that much.

    I’m referring to his show “The Office,” and sacrificing what that show represents, the answer to why people stay so long in jobs they hate: security.

    No, I don’t mean financial security. Strangely, that’s the least of it.

    Any of the characters in “The Office” could, after all, find other jobs, and likewise there are easier, more certain roads to higher incomes for me than freelance writing.

    It’s that certain security in being mediocre. It’s gray, it’s lukewarm, it’s inoffensive. It’s comfortably room-temperature. Like an office.

    And that gray security is addictive.

    Gray promises you certain things, what I like to call “at least”’s.

    While your life will never be exciting, AT LEAST you didn’t fail.

    You won’t achieve your dreams, AT LEAST you’ll be spared ridicule and, even worse, pity.

    Gray promises you that if you go to college and get a useful degree, marry money, don’t rock the boat and don’t chase moonbeams, you’ll be OK. Safe.

    But degrees become obsolete overnight as industries implode. Marrying money can become divorced from money. Rocking the boat is often necessary.

    And a moonbeam can lead you down a new and amazing road that you did not even see, focused you were on the path ahead of you.

    I’ve been part of the Den since last October, a freelance fence-sitter, assessing whether this was the career for me. And last month, I dived in and quit my job, because I realized that this idea of safe choices was an illusion.

    There are no safe choices. Only other choices.

    In becoming a freelance writer, I doing the scariest damn thing I’ll do. I’m sacrificing the illusion.

  92. Poovanesh

    The major sacrifice I made was giving up the luxury of a lazy, self – indulgent lifestyle after resigning from my job as an English teacher after 35 years. A major health scare forced me to take that route.

    At 57 years of age, I was content and confident as a person.

    That was shattered when I decided to become a freelance writer. I had to sacrifice my pride and start at the lowest rung of the ladder. I had to unlearn the formal
    writing style that I had taught my students for so many years.

    There were so many new things to learn – SEO, keywords, guest posting, cold pitching, giving value,Content marketing, subscriber list and so on. The tech skills required to set up a website still terrifies me.

    Another sacrifice is peace of mind. As a freelance writer, you have to cope with stress – the stress of the deadline, of writing quality content, of client demands.

    The sacrifice of time and sleep – I get up early and go late to bed to be able to have the peace and quiet to write. I paid for Netflix for a month or two without using it.
    Job security which I had for years 35 – you keep pitching for jobs and you hope and pray that you strike gold.
    Financial comfort – until you make regular money, you have to be very careful with spending.
    The strongest motivating factor for me is the challenge of the Write- the crafting of the post or article. The sense of accomplishment when it is done even before it has earned you a single cent.
    The many sacrifices are worth it for the sheer satisfaction of a job well done ! At present, I have sent out guest post requests but they have not been accepted yet. Financially, it is very tough but I cannot put a price on the knowledge I’ve gained in the two months that I’ve been busy writing. Every day is like a wonderful word adventure.

  93. Casey Hynes

    Until recently, I viewed freelance sacrifices in financial terms: Cancelling subscription snack boxes so I’d have more money for my emergency fund, scaling back on non-essentials so I can cover my health care premiums — big picture stuff.

    Then I took stock of my career and noticed something jarring. Financially, my life seemed to be on a steady, if leisurely-paced, upward trajectory. But my creativity was suffering. And it wasn’t my penny-pinching causing the trouble. It was my absurdly high tolerance for trivialities.

    Considered individually, the distractions seemed minor. A few “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” episodes, an hour on Snapchat, a quick two-hour dip into my Facebook feed. I live far from most of my friends and relatives, so having a 32-day Snapstreak or commenting on — and sharing — mundane Instagram posts felt like an easy way to stay “close” (at least, that’s how I excused it).

    But fixating on unimportant Snapchat stories and writing lengthy email exchanges about “Bachelor” couples weren’t innocuous. Even when I wasn’t giving into my worst procrastinative impulses, my brain felt fractured. Unfocused. I found it difficult to think clearly, let alone write deeply.

    So I deleted Snapchat and Instagram from my smartphone, canceled my Hulu account, and blocked text messages during work hours. Am I harder to reach now? Yes. Am I out of touch with what friends are sharing on social media? Absolutely. Do I talk to loved ones less frequently? Without a doubt.

    However, I’m willing to sacrifice those “connections” in the hope of connecting more profoundly, with them and others, through my writing and through more intentional conversations. The decision to disengage required some lifestyle adjustments and occasionally causes me to miss out socially. But I’ll make that sacrifice for the sake of doing better (and better paid) work.

  94. Melinda Minette

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    This essay is a roadmap for me. It’s a war cry. It’s a personal call to action.

    I am willing to sacrifice my care-free life to become a successful freelance writer.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rich. I don’t sit around with fuzzy slippers on a comfy chair reading romance novels and sipping tea all day.

    My life was care-free in the sense that I didn’t have to account for my time. I had the option of being a housewife with no children to care for. As such, I determine my daily goals, deadlines and leisure time. (Being a full-time housewife with children is one of the toughest jobs of all.)

    Laundry today, yes. Grocery shopping, sure. Volunteering, why not.

    But, that was before I started on the road to becoming a successful freelance writer.

    Like an athlete who starts with a vision, raw talent and a coach who sees potential, I recognize my chosen path will not be easy. But, everything that’s worthwhile has a cost.

    The cost to the athlete is loss of sleep, sore muscles, dietary restrictions, less time for personal pursuits, and even injuries and pain. Anguish at loss of a race is also a possibility.

    My sacrifice will be similar. I need to dedicate several hours everyday to reach a high level of expertise.

    My sacrifice will include waking up earlier each day while going to sleep later, eliminating distractions (bye, bye checking social media hourly). Taking the necessary steps to promote myself will take self discipline, skill building and a strong desire to succeed.

    There may be obstacles or detours along the route, but quitting is not an option.

    I am willing and able to become a successful freelance writer.

  95. Jana

    To become a successful freelance writer I’m willing to sacrifice my free time, which I have a lot. I’m also willing to sacrifice my cozy morning routine and all that I do instead of writing.

    I always find an excuse why I procrastinate to write, pitch clients or to do marketing for my freelance writing services on-line. I always have something else to do.

    So, I’m willing to sacrifice my daily routine on which I’m desperately used to. I’m willing to find time for what I love doing the most – writing. I’m willing to stay late at night if I need to, to finish my work and at least doing one tiny step towards my biggest goal – being a successful freelance writer.

    I know what I want, but I find it difficult to do it at a given moment. That’s why I need this Den community for freelance writers. I want to have support of experienced freelance writers, such as Carol Tice.

    That’s why I’m willing to get out from my “comfort zone”, lose my free time and change my daily routine. I’m willing to sacrifice all of this, for the sake of success in freelance writing.

    Thank you.

  96. Kathy A. Johnson

    To be a successful freelance writer, I’m willing to sacrifice the idea that I’m special—that is, more special than any other professional freelance writer. I have a facility with words…but so does every other professional freelance writer. I’m a good writer—but so are many others.

    I have to sacrifice my ego, which wants me to believe I’m better than I really am.

    I have to sacrifice my excuses about why I don’t get more assignments—hint: I’m not special. No one is going to “discover” me and hand me a fat book contract. (Sadly.)

    If I remember I’m not special, then I’ll do the work necessary to become special in an editor’s eyes—check and double check facts and spellings and sources. Spend time tracking down photos to go with my piece, rather than drop it in the editor’s lap. Turn in my essay early, before I go on vacation so that if any changes are needed, I can take care of them before I leave. I can’t afford to think I’m better than I really am, or to wait to be noticed or discovered—I have to put myself in a position where my excellent work can’t be ignored.

    If I do the work, put in the hours, practice, submit, never give up, I might not be special, but I will be successful.

    • Katherine Swarts

      Great piece, Kathy! I think somewhere around 80% of aspiring writers fail because they won’t give up that stubborn pride of entitlement.

  97. Emily Jacobs

    To become a successful freelance writer, I am willing to give up one of my most treasured possessions: my comfort zone. As an introvert who struggles with social anxiety, marketing is not my strong suit. But I am learning, stretching, and challenging myself. I will continue to do so.

    I will give up–in fact, HAVE given up–delusions that it will be easy, that it will free me forever from having to “deal with” difficult people.

    Instead of avoiding discomfort, I will become resilient in the face of it.

    I will reach out to people and interact with them in ways that are both comfortable and uncomfortable for me–such as talking on the phone and going to networking events, and not just writing emails and letters.

    There will be difficult clients. There will be times I must humble myself and ask for help.

    I will fight against the desire to back down and give up, and I will assert myself.

    I will stretch myself; I will deliberately make myself uncomfortable to get closer to my goals of success, of independence, and freedom from the 9-5.

    I will not only push the walls of my comfort zone to make the space bigger, but I will cut open a door and step outside of it.

  98. Juhl

    To become a successful freelance writer, I am willing to sacrifice perfectionism, fear, procrastination and self-doubt. Combined, each of the aforementioned words has wreaked havoc in my life. Combined and alone, each has limited my ability to see myself as completing a task another would deem good enough, as well as releasing the creativity I admire in others which also lies within myself.
    Sacrificing perfectionism, fear and self-doubt will enable me to be free; letting go of the paralysis created by my ego; the numerous words in my head which state I can’t. This paralysis has hindered me from knowing who I am and what I am truly able to accomplish. Not having prior experience as a published writer, wanting every word written to be meaningful and doubting my ability as a writer has hindered me from experiencing the financial freedom I so deeply desire.
    Being a successful freelance writer would open windows within to see clearly who I am and what I can accomplish. Sharing one’s gifts is what makes them worthwhile having. I am willing to sacrifice perfectionism, fear, procrastination and self-doubt because with them I cannot reach my levels of greatness waiting to be released.

  99. Katherine Swarts

    Despite being among the rare breed of Den “life members,” I can’t NOT share this:

    The thing I find hardest to sacrifice (the present tense is deliberate–it’s an ongoing battle) is a sense of certainty and hope of a life that is finally “settled.” The security of always knowing just how much money you will get and when; of having someone “higher up” relieve you of the burden of figuring out what most needs doing next; of knowing months in advance exactly which days and hours you’ll be able to take off. For someone who detests interruptions and disappointment as much as I do, doing your own scheduling and budgeting a varying income is Stress City.

    Still, sooner or later EVERYONE has to realize that “certainty” is a delusion no matter what you do for a living. I would have had to eventually outgrow chasing immunization against all interruptions and shakeups in any case–at least with a freelance lifestyle, it’s easier to stay forearmed against their catching you completely flat-footed with no idea as to where you’ll go now!

  100. Melody Kenoyer

    On the surface, the question seems simple and straight forward.
    “What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?”
    Sure, let’s see. I watch too much TV. I get home from my 8-5 job completely drained and settle down with a mind-numbing drink of some sort and turn on the ballgame.
    Reading the question again, I realize that this isn’t going to cut it. Maybe it’s the word “sacrifice”. I mean, someone before me actually hurled himself into a burning volcano and sacrificed his life for whatever reason, so for me to give up a few hours of TV just seems… lame. I need to dig deeper.
    What do I need to give up to be a successful freelance writer? What is keeping me from doing this? I’ve read about a million books on the subject. So what’s stopping me? I’m not afraid to do the job, I want to do it. I feel like it’s taken me years to find something I really want to do that will give me the time and money to enjoy my life. So what is it?
    And then it hits me. The reason I never finish anything I start. The thing I need to let go of in order to be successful.
    It’s my insatiable need for approval. And thinking about that, it also hits me that it doesn’t matter why. It’s been my security blanket and my crutch for far too long. It’s time to let that go. It’s time to grow up and allow myself to do something for me. I have a unique voice and a lot to offer.
    I’m worth it, right?
    Don’t answer that.

  101. Brenda Storey

    Nothing. I will be sacrificing nothing. Because I firmly believe in the words of the American poet Muriel Rukeyser: “There is no sacrifice. There is a choice and the rest falls away… Beware of those who talk about sacrifice.”
    So instead of sacrifice, I will choose. I’ll choose new ways to spend my time, and celebrate as the habit of spending time foolishly falls away. I’ll choose to work less in my “other job” and more in my writing career, and celebrate as the daily drudgery of heading out the door to work falls away. I’ll choose to put myself “out there” for all to see, with my writing, my networking and my marketing, and celebrate as my insecurities fall away. And I’ll make a hundred other little choices then celebrate the falling away of each old habit, every old pattern, and all the barriers I’ve chosen to put in place before. Writing this is my first choice, and as I’m doing it I can see in my mind a tiny flake of procrastination as it falls away like drifting snow. So no, no sacrifices.

    • Inanna La Fevre

      Beautiful! Very inspiring. Well said. Thank You

  102. Nicole Gironda

    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to get a writing career started without having to sacrifice anything. I have a pretty good life: a solid partner, two beautiful and healthy kids, and a roof and food and all the other necessities of a relatively comfortable life, none of which I want to give up. And yet that deep down itch to write, to write well, to write often, and get paid to do it, lingers on.

    As much as I’ve tried to make things happen with a full-time job and a full-time family, the reality is something has to give for the write life to happen. Everything mentioned above are non-negotiable keepers, so I had to look elsewhere to find what in my life was worth giving up. After searching hard and deep, the best thing I found to get rid of, besides some old shoes, were my beliefs. And the more I look at them, at these beliefs I’ve held onto for dear life, the more it sense it makes to sacrifice them completely.

    My journey to become a writer will take nothing less than a total abandon of so many of the beliefs I hold and use to keep myself safely and firmly in my current situation – comfortable, but unfulfilled. The beliefs about my skills, that I’m not quite good enough, will have to go. That the only way to support my young family is through the steady kind of employment only possible through a full-time job is another comfortable idea I must toss aside. And the unrelenting fear, the belief that the risks I need to take will lead to failure, is a sacrifice I absolutely have to make.

    Yes, I’ll have to sacrifice other things too, like some sleep, some Netflix time, and the length of my daily shower, but my greatest feat, the discarding of beliefs so entrenched in my psyche and so limiting of my potential, is a sacrifice I can no longer ignore.

  103. Christina Del Rio

    As a teacher, I am no stranger to sacrifice. I loose sleep over students who do not perform well, the child whose parent has three jobs and can not help with homework, the lesson plans that need to accommodate every learner. Sacrifice is in my mental DNA. Becoming a freelance writer would not be the same type of scarifice; it would be gift. A gift that would lead me, if done correctly, to financial freedom and a certain amount of creative control.
    The mire fact that I would be able to practice my chosen craft is a Godsend. And although you might say “she has no idea what kind of hardship lays ahead;” I would say “yes I do.” It means that I would not only have devote myself to my students but also to my goals.

  104. Neal Eckert

    The first thing I’ll sacrifice is my commute though I just went through a jumbo box of tissues thinking of the loss.

    I rather like the animal urge to nod off while traveling 75 miles per hour. It’s exhilarating.

    Throw in sleet, rain, snow, deer, dark, speed traps, traffic, road rage (not mine) and displaced mufflers, and one can see why it’s been a regular old party. I’ve been the envy of my entire town as they watched me drive away and return, yet again.

    Although I’m sure your mouth’s already agape at my willingness to sacrifice, there’s more.

    You see, I love to be micro-managed. It’s in my blood. I get the warm cozies from head to toe when managers affectionately hold my hand and tell me precisely how to part my eyebrows.

    Micro-mania’s been my comfort for years. To lose it will feel like a giant popcorn bucket’s been torn from my arms at the theater. I’m certain that I’ll go through the five stages of grief but I just don’t care anymore.

    Now is the time for bold moves. Like when you pay for your entire value meal only in pennies and aren’t the slightest bit embarrassed.

    And speaking of pennies, I’m quite familiar with them.

    I cherish the way they sparkle in my hand…after desperately plucking them from the cracks in my couch as rent comes due.

    Which leads me to the last thing I’m reluctantly willing to sacrifice. I’ll say goodbye to my close friend, Crappee Paye, though doing so will feel like the stings of a thousand jellyfish all at once.

    Writer friend, hang on tight and take one day at a time. One can only endure such sacrifice in small doses.

  105. Jennifer Hinders

    Headline: Freelance writer wannabe gives up fingernails and toenails all for the sake of becoming a successful freelance writer. This is probably not a realistic sacrifice for this cause… or any other cause as a matter of fact, but there are other things I could sacrifice. Do siblings count? How about mean siblings? Guess not.

    On my honor, I can sacrifice some of my time to become a successful freelance writer. I hate to admit but one of my bad habits is watching television to relax. Go ahead, judge me. I know it stinks. It’s a big, nasty time waster. I’m happy to let it go. Plus, sitting around watching television isn’t so good for my old gluteus maximus either. It’s a win, win situation.

    My energy and money are also up for grabs for the sake of becoming a super duper freelance writer. It’s a bit trickier since I have full time job, but I’m ready and willing to adjust my after work schedule for writing. I’ll also get to bed earlier so that I have the energy I need in the evenings. Vitamins might be a great idea,too. Hey, I’m really getting into this sacrifice stuff.

    As far as money goes, I’ve heard it said that in business you need to spend money to make money. I’m willing to prove this saying is true by sacrificing my hard earned cash to be an amazing freelance writer.

    Whew, sacrificing is hard work, guess that why they call it sacrifice.

  106. Diane

    I know some things.

    Many of those things are probably wrong.

    My experiences have shaped my perceptions, beliefs and thoughts – these have all been captured moments. And that means they seemed right at the time but are probably wrong right now and I accept that.

    One of the things I have always believed is that I can’t write. I had accepted this as absolute truth. Oh, I can put thoughts down on paper but who on earth would want to read such dross? Who would be interested in what I have to say?

    I’m not an expert in anything. I have some knowledge, some skills, perhaps even some flair in a turn of phrase. I’m curious. I’m interested. I want to know answers to random questions. Is this enough?

    My mind says no.

    So I’m prepared to sacrifice self-doubt.
    To slay the dragons of uncertainty and fear.
    Present my words without dread and hold onto hope that they will connect.

    And ask advice from those who know better than me how to make this all work…

  107. Brad Boyes

    I would not sacrifice anything. My wife has already done enough sacrificing for me.

    Over 20 years ago I was in a serious accident. To make a long story short, I recovered as best I could and returned to school a year later. I did the usual thing, graduated, started a career, until my injuries caught up to me again. I was unable to work, required multiple surgeries, and, when the doctors advised me not to return to work, I followed their advice.

    My wife, however, picked up the slack and kept our little family of furry critters well fed with our own roof over our heads. She works at a job she hates, goes to work every day without fail, and comes home and works some more. We shed many tears as she drags herself off to work and tries to put on a smile for her co-workers.

    She has sacrificed herself enough. It is time I make an honest attempt at success by doing something I love — writing. Although I cannot work outside of the house, I know I can make it on my own, in my home, with a little help.

    Sacrifice is not something I would have to do. My wife and I have faced so many challenges over the years that we see nothing as a sacrifice, only something that requires a work-around.

    The words we live by are found in the Bible, Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend’s. John 15:13

  108. Ree

    I am willing to sacrifice those things I cannot do to become a successful freelance writer. More specifically, I am willing to stop ruminating on my past failures or things that didn’t quite work out as planned to focus on what I believe is truly possible– becoming a successful freelance writer.

    I am willing to avoid being sidetracked by things that may be good, but not best for me to do. I am willing to stay focused on my path and mission to be a successful freelance writer. With a writer’s mind it is so easy to be lured off my own path because I find nearly everything to be shiny and tempting to research. Yet I am willing to sacrifice the sidetracks for my focused path.

    I am a good writer. I know I can be a better one, and a successful one at that. I can learn from my mistakes without letting them rule me and ensnare me in the past. I can write right now while keeping my eye on the future prize of success as a freelance writer.

  109. Ross Fichter

    Although being a successful freelance writer is my dream, I am not willing to sacrifice anything to achieve that goal.

    To sacrifice is to surrender something of value with no hope of recovery. What I must “sacrifice” in order to be a successful freelance writer holds no value to me in comparison to what I gain in return.

    What I give up is having my schedule, my work and my potential income controlled by someone else. I lose the rat-race, along with the stress of never seeing a path to real freedom in life. I surrender a guaranteed weekly pittance and the financial and psychological prison that it creates.

    What I gain is the choice to spend as many hours a day as I like doing what I love to do, with an income potential that only depends upon me. I obtain the joy and wonder and satisfaction that is only found in living life rather than letting life happen to me. I receive the rare opportunity to transform my dreams from fiction into possibility.

    What would I be willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? Nothing! For what I gain holds so much more value to me that, in the end, I will have lost nothing I treasure, and gained everything I yearn for.

  110. Rick Cervone

    At the end of a long day standing in front of a workbench, I’m tired when I get home.I don’t have a lot left. But I want to be a writer, and with that desire comes sacrifice. My down time, relaxation, renewal, and balance. For now at least. So I shower, eat, and go back to work. For myself this time, because that’s what it’s going to take. Then I study and practice my writing for several hours each evening. On the weekends I get up at 5 and study, read and practice my writing. I work on my business and skills because I want to be a writer, and that’s what it’s going to take to get from here to there. I’ve never been afraid of hard work. My dad worked hard all his life and set an example for me to follow. Self-discipline and sacrifice. While others are relaxing, playing games and sleeping, I’m working on becoming a writer. An excellent writer. Because I have some things to say. Things I think are valuable and other people should hear. So I sacrifice the most important thing we all have. Time. There’s only so much of it for each one of us. At 65 years of age this year, I know that. But I also know that I really want to be a writer.

  111. Jennifer

    I know that making a living as a writer is not easy, and in the past, you have said that you wouldn’t advise it for a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t have very much time. I am that mom, surrounded by homeschooling curriculum which I have to plan for three children this coming year. I am that mom who has laundry waiting in the basement to be washed and folded, and the that mom who has a table to finish building. All of these things will probably disqualify me immediately.

    And that’s okay.

    But if you’re willing to read on, let me tell you about what I would be willing to give up if I were selected as one of the six. I recently received money for my birthday, and instead of spending it on something I’d like, I decided to hold onto it to invest in myself. I would be willing to sacrifice $100 of my money to start a writers’ website.

    I would also be willing to sacrifice 5-10 hours a week into building a writing business. That’s all I can afford to do right now with my other obligations.

    I would love to win this because I’ve always been told I’ve been good at writing, and I know that if I worked hard at it I could build a better side income for my family.

  112. Layla A. Reaves

    When I got fired, I spent a lot of time reflecting. Where did I go wrong besides settling for a job that was rewarding, but not satisfying on a deeply personal level? The question I asked myself the most: What am I going to do now?

    I thought back to my friend’s words, to his question I’d ignored over the phone because I didn’t have a real answer at the time. “Why didn’t you choose a job that’s more…you?” he’d asked.

    I’d given him a lukewarm “I don’t know,” but I knew the truth.

    Writing doesn’t pay the bills, I thought. It’s not an easily accessible career. I needed to settle for something more stable and realistic if I ever wanted to get out of my mama’s house. Freelance writing wasn’t for me!

    What really wasn’t for me was answering to a boss and working a traditional 9 to 5. What wasn’t for me was consigning myself to misery for the sake of money and stability. What wasn’t for me was giving up on my dreams.

    I soon began pitching and applying for writing jobs like crazy. I read tons of freelancing sites, including yours of course. I started taking myself seriously.

    Over the 4th of July weekend, I told people I had my own freelance writing business for the first time (just like you’d advised.) I was unsure of myself when saying it, hoping that hearing the words out loud would make it more real. In short, I was–am–scared out of my mind.

    If I don’t succeed, that means not moving out, not being able to pay my bills, and not being financially independent. It means settling. That’s the bigger risk.

    Sacrificing my comfort zone is a small price to pay to become a successful freelance writer.

  113. RadhR

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a freelance writer?

    Nothing! All these years I have sacrificed my time, passion and perseverance to write. Instead, I pursued what I thought were the prerequisites of a meaningful life.

    What I always wanted to do was – write and write and write.

    Economic compromises notwithstanding, writing has changed my perspective and pumped meaning into life.

  114. Rachel Pierce

    I am the mother to four children, five and under. My ‘alone’ time is like gold. It is rare and fleeting. I usually spend it talking to friends, or watching several episodes of whatever show has my attention. This time is everything to me. It recharges me, prepares me to be able to give and give the next day. For so long I have felt like I had to have this time.

    I’ve spent the day wondering if I could give this special time up, can I be self disciplined enough to follow through on this dream? For me that’s what it boils down to, I sacrifice my spare time, while applying a lot of discipline. My sacrifice will go hand in hand with picking up new habits.

    As a little girl I knew I wanted to be a professional. Depending on the day, it was a different type, one day the president of the united states, another day a lawyer, then a detective. During all of those years I read about amazing women that blazed the trails in amazing careers, it was while reading that I realized I had a love for writing. For putting my thoughts and my perspectives down on paper. I realized that I wanted to write about these amazing women, but not just women, amazing people all around the world.

    I am ready to give up my spare time, in order to put my perspective out into the world. I want this. I want my kids to grow up with a mom who showed them the best self care was reaching for your dreams, not just reaching, but accomplishing. This is my dream. In five years I won’t remember what show I was watching, but I will remember laying the ground work of my career.

  115. Cherese Cobb

    At the end of 2014, when I found Be A Freelance Blogger and Make a Living Writing, I ran into my mother’s room screaming, “I found what I want to do with my life!” And I haven’t looked back.

    Though, it’s a path that hasn’t been without its sacrifices. When I first started freelancing in 2015, I didn’t have the Internet. So, whether it was 20 degrees or 100 degrees, I had to tilt my computer through an open window. I also walked more than a mile every other day to visit the library, using its free WiFi or reading writing magazines — without a single penny to my name.

    From writing a pitch to sending an LOI, my freelancing knowledge was at ground zero. In the first year, I hit some major roadblocks: unintentional plagiarism, comment trolls, DPI confusion, and magazine collapses. But, this helped me shed my unicorn coat for rhino armor.

    In 2016, I won a dozen awards and increased my income by 50%. And in year 3, I had an article published in Sierra Magazine — one of my dream publications! But, I still feel like I have a long way to go. I want to be able to make a livable wage, so my family can have a decent quality of life.

    I also would love to be able to learn how to land gigs at companies like Purina and the World Wildlife Organization. The Writer’s Den could help me do that.

    I’m willing to come rhino-ed up with my nose in my computer — ready to fail and fail again until I succeed while giving up time, which to me is the greatest sacrifice because you can’t turn back the clock.

  116. Felix Abur

    I’ll start with what I’ve sacrificed already. I come from a third world African country where formal jobs are scarce. Plus, you only get the jobs through bribery, nepotism, and tribalism. Upon graduation from university, I had a relatively good job but couldn’t get promotions coz I had no connections.
    So, a few years ago I ditched my corporate marketing career and dived into freelance writing. In my part of the world, internet access is not universal. I had to move to a new city where I knew no one for a better internet connection. Electricity is a problem, so the little funds I had remaining went into buying a generator and a PC.
    Right now, I am spending a large portion of my freelance income on courses and communities where I learn innovative ideas. I’m learning web design, inbound marketing, photography, content marketing, SEO, and so many other courses from different thought leaders in the freelancing world.
    I still make less than my corporate job but I know my potential is more than 10x that. Finances are tight, but I know my financial and time sacrifices will pay off. There is nothing I won’t do to determine my own future. My freelance career gives my wife and I not just an income, but the freedom to determine our family’s destiny.

  117. Karen Y. Kirkland

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? I’m glad you asked. Like an overdue library book with fines accumulating, the time is overdue that I address the blank screen with the blinking cursor in the room.

    I’d gotten derailed somewhere along the way to a successful freelance writing career. Two years ago, my world was rocked when I lost my mother and sister less than three months apart. Overcome and consumed with unimaginable grief, my life, as I knew it came to a screeching halt. Ironically, I’d always been a “writer” in one way or another, both personally and professionally. I’d lost my voice and the words simply refused to come. Then, I was startled awake by a loud message thundering through my head that I must address the blank screen with the blinking cursor if I wanted to grab hold of a life preserver (writing) and resuscitate my life and career. This thundering voice reminded me that my life was in shambles and my finances were in ruins. Most importantly, I was admonished that if I were to ever rise like the phoenix from the ashes, I would have to use what I know, and write myself back to life and out of this cloud of grief and despair.

    So, realizing that “to whom much is given, much is required”, I am willing to sacrifice fear of failure, self-sabotage and wasting time on frivolous things to excel at starting again to build a successful freelance writing career. I am willing to sacrifice and bury forever anything that resembles mediocrity. I remember that “Excuses are the tools of the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness.” I have a lot of writing to do, and I’m ready for the challenge.

  118. Julie

    There was once a poor young man who wanted to be rich, let’s all him Alex. But he didn’t know what to do, so as to get rich. So, he decided to consult an old, wise man and ask him for advice on how to make it in life.

    The old man told Alex that he had a solution to his problem. But, the solution could only be disclosed at the shores of a river that was just outside the village. He instructed Alex to meet up with him at the riverbank at 4 am the following morning on.

    Curious and eager to learn what the great secret to wealth was, Alex made his way to the riverbank early the next morning. When he reached there, he saw that the old man had already removed his clothes and was already swimming in the river.

    The old man called out to the young man to join him in the water, stating that the secret could only be disclosed in the middle of the river. Puzzled but determined, Alex stripped and got into the water until he got to where the old man was.

    He then asked what the secret was. At that point, the old man grabbed him and forcefully pushed him into the water and held him down. Alex struggled to free himself but the more he struggled, the more the old man pushed him down. Finally, after flailing around with all his might, Alex off the old man and swam to the shore.

    Confused and mad, he asked the old man why he was trying to drown him. “But don’t you see?” said the old man, “That is the answer to your question. To get rich, you have to work at it the same way you fought to stay alive, with all your might.” It finally dawned on the young man what he had to do to be successfully.

    I am that young man, who is thrashing around and punching and fighting to stay afloat and make it in freelance writing. The Den will be one of those things in the water that I can hold onto to prevent me from drowning and keep me alive.

  119. Rohi

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for this fun essay contest. Best wishes to everyone.
    Here’s my entry:

    Speed Is Money

    “Dreams are born in our heads, but they’re forged and perfected in the fire of experience.” ~Carol Tice

    This is my third year in the freelance writing game. It has been a fun ride and I’ve learned many things and made some good money too.

    Here are the big three I’m willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer:

    The first is fear of failure
    Fear is the biggest challenge that we writers face. It can stop us dead in our tracks at any stage of the writing process. No writer is completely free from it, ever. It goes by many names: writer’s block, procrastination, imposter syndrome, self-doubt, self-sabotage, resistance, and so on. Even accomplished writers like Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, couldn’t quite overcome it.

    I plan to sacrifice fear by setting a timer and writing “a shitty first draft.”

    The second is perfectionism
    Perfectionism is fear wearing a mask. In a recent interview, Elizabeth Gilbert said that perfectionism is fear in high heels. One way to connect the two is this ditty: “Safe never starts; perfect never finishes.”

    I plan to sacrifice perfectionism by following this maxim: “Good today, better tomorrow, best never.”

    Last but not least is boredom
    For writers, boredom is as destructive as fear. In the brains of writers, the “instant gratification monkey” is constantly battling the “rational decision-maker.” Usually, the monkey wins (hello, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Game of Thrones…).

    I plan to sacrifice boredom by setting specific deadlines and using the Pomodoro Technique.

    All easier said than done!

    To exponentially increase your chances of success, you need mentorship from experienced and successful writers and the support and encouragement of a community of writers.

    Ergo, the Freelance Writers Den.

  120. Emma Otusajo

    Writing has been the only thing I ever wanted to get right. As a journalist years ago, I was told that I wasn’t a natural at writing and that I should choose a different career path.
    For years, I believed this and although I continued writing, I lacked the confidence to take it further. It’s only recently that I’ve realised I cannot live without giving writing everything I’ve got because I’ve only got one life and I want to make a living from it.
    For this I’ll sacrifice… my sleep, my fears, my free time so that I can read more, write more and eventually excel at writing. I’ll give up social occasions until I have that article or story complete. I can socialise anytime, but it’s my words I want to take me on a journey.
    I’ll sacrifice lay-ins, early nights and my favourite TV show to write that long-awaited sitcom that’s been driving through my head. Or that article that will not only be read but talked about and remembered for some time.
    I’ll sacrifice my naturally introverted qualities as I reach out at networking events to writers, to businesses, to publishers to plug my finished writing talents…Sacrifice that call that’s come in or a trip to the gym, in exchange for my favourite corner by the window, with my favourite coffee and my laptop at my fingertips.
    I’ll give up money for those new shoes, the coat, the new haircut, the dinner and theatre tickets, so that I can instead book a place at the Writers’ Den.
    In my life, I want to know that I have written something that’s made an impact for a cause, that will be remembered for all the right reasons; a written piece that is without flaws.

  121. Melissa Rezza

    Hi Carol, this was a lot of fun. Good luck to all!

    Time is one thing that has been a sacrifice. As a writer, I have this compulsive almost agonizing feeling to write all the time. Because of this I tend to say to my family “hold on, just let me get this on paper “real quick”, which you know if you’re a writer and you get a great idea, you’ll be there a while fleshing it out.

    I can remember when I was about 10 years old writing a poem for my grandmother, I was so proud of this poem, after she read it she looked at me and smiled and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said a writer, I knew as soon as the words left my lips this was an absolute truth for me. What she said to me next I’ll never forget. “Most artists are very strange people, you will struggle to make money to eat, and live, any dreams I had for you becoming a normal, successful young woman will be crushed”. I was becoming visibly upset when my grandfather said from the chair behind us “what’s normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”. I turned to him and said “this poem I wrote should have been for you”.
    My grandmother was right, I sacrificed any kind of “normality”, but what I’ve gained in the chaos is priceless! I still have yet to make any “real” money from my writing, but I’m not starving. My family has sacrificed their sanity on several occasions, but we are all happy and healthy.
    I knew at 10 years old I would be a writer and I will write until my last breathe escapes through my ink.

  122. Joy Renee

    I will sacrifice excuses. I’ve used enough to fill a suitcase, leaving me nothing to wear but chagrin.
    I will sacrifice fretting. It burns up time and eats up brain space, creating only dread.
    I will sacrifice chaos in mind, space and time. Clutter in these realms ensures there is no room for anything new, no time to devote to it, and no inspiration to give it life.
    I will sacrifice perfectionism. It paralyzes will and murders creativity, producing nothing except the sour satisfaction of escaping another ego-lashing for mistakes.
    I will sacrifice the respect of anyone who thinks there are more important things than my writing ‘hobby’ deserving of my time attention and enthusiasm.

  123. Natalie Wills

    I will sacrifice my fear! I will embrace that my friend Rosa, who sent me information about this contest (more than once), believes in me. I will sacrifice any and all notions that I can’t do this, that I don’t have the talent (despite evidence otherwise), and that I just can’t do it. I will sacrifice the words can’t, won’t, and the phrase, “oh, I don’t know.” I will embrace stronger words like, “let’s do this” and “pick me!”

  124. Inanna La Fevre

    Like a kitten playing with a ball of yarn my mind is spinning a tangled mess, obsessed, frustrated and confused. Sounds like a simple question. What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? Are you kidding? Anything! Everything! What do you want? What do the GODS want? What do the Muses demand? Take it! It’s yours.

    I so want to put this on someone or something else. There must be a right answer. If I stall long enough it will come to me or someone will slip me a clue. I’ve been waiting all day – ever since I read the email about this essay. Waiting for that bolt of lightning, that Ah Ha moment. Instead I got a scathing text from my irate landlady/housemate having a meltdown because I didn’t buy bananas and open the windows when it cooled off. I wish this was an “alternate fact” but nope, this is my current reality.

    What matters is what I let it mean and the story I tell myself. Ah Ha! Here it is. This is it. I will sacrifice MY STORY to succeed as a writer. It’s a compelling tale of perfectionism leading to procrastination resulting in self-loathing and crammed to the rafters with all those could’a, should’a, would’as. Throw in the constant comparison to others and I become completely paralyzed.

    I know if I don’t learn to accept, forgive and love myself (yes – Love Myself) I will never succeed as a writer. Lately the Universe has been calling me on this one.

    Recently I decided the Writer’s Den was my path to the writer’s life. Self-flagellation is what I do best. It is more compulsively addictive than crack. I will give it up to become a writer. Being a Den member would probably help a great deal.

  125. Sherel Purcell

    While anyone can become a freelance writer, to become a “successful” freelance writer does require sacrifice. Most importantly, that sacrifice will be time. It takes time to properly concoct a successful pitch. It takes time to market yourself successfully, and it takes time to produce great content.

    So where does that time come from? It’s that extra hour you cannot sleep-in on a Sunday morning. It’s that mid-afternoon coffee break with friends or a catch-up drink with the people you used to work with. And that spontaneous weekend trip to visit your neighbor’s new cottage? Forget about it. When it comes to time, you simply cannot have it all.

    Time is the true sacrifice to be made in order to become a successful freelance writer. So is it worth it? Hell ya. Otherwise, that time you find so precious will be squandered in a cubicle job or spent on the phone listening to your friend’s cat stories or worse, a laundry list of her husband’s faults. Ultimately, it’s your time. Make it work for you.

  126. Bobbie

    I am willing to sacrifice my soul-crushing full-time job that I dread waking up for every morning and, although it is a management position, offers low pay and no benefits.

    I am willing to sacrifice the content mills once and for all, which I have still been desperately hoping will offer me stable employment if I can just find the right one.

    Since I have been trying to make this a while, I am willing to sacrifice the starry-eyed notion that writing is an easy way to financial freedom. I am willing to work hard in order to see results.

    I am also willing to sacrifice being too poor to do the things that I want, and to have the life I want for my family.

    As for lifestyle things to sacrifice, I don’t really have any. I don’t have a social life to speak of, and my family lives frugally. I have plenty of free time to build a business if I can give up the anxiety and uncertainty.

  127. Karin

    (This post is 250 words over the limit and I know that isn’t cool…but, thank you for this great question! It forced me to think and it was therapeutic for me to write this. And, sometimes, you just have to go for it and break the rules.)

    Happy birthday, Writer’s Den- Hey, I have a birthday this week, also! You’re celebrating six years and I’m celebrating 55. Happy birthday to us!

    Before I answer the question I need to provide a little context because I didn’t set out to be a freelance writer. But sometimes, along life’s journey, in the most unlikely places, you’ll find a lovely rainbow between the storm and the sunshine.

    Eighteen months ago I left a full-time, salaried position as an Executive Director for a local nonprofit. Working on behalf of those in my local community was incredibly rewarding and I felt like my work was moving the needle for families, headed by single parents, and living in poverty. My Mom, in her 70’s and struggling with Parkinson’s Diseases, needed me. She lived several hours away. She wanted to live her remaining days in her own small town and I felt strongly that I needed to honor her decision.

    As her disease progressed, her needs grew–and the time requirement for care-giving also grew. I made a difficult decision and hit the pause button on my career– I resigned from a full-time position and spent as much time as possible with my Mom; with the intention of jumping back full-time into the job market after my Mom passed and no longer needed me.

    I wanted to keep earning money so I networked a bit and ended up with a few odds and ends: teaching writing as an adjunct at my local university, teaching a couple of yoga classes each week and writing grant proposals for nonprofits. Each of these opportunities provided income and also provided the flexibility and each of these were completely in my comfort zone.

    The drive time to see my Mom was three hours so I had lots of time to listen to podcasts. I stumbled upon Ed Gandia’s podcast for successful freelancers. One episode of his podcast featured an interview with Carol Tice. Listening to her describe her freelance journey and how the idea for the Writer’s Den was conceived, made me wonder if perhaps I could set up a freelance writing career.

    Immediately the negative chatter began: “Whaaattt? YOU want to be a freelance writer?! HA…you’ve never made a living writing, you’re almost 55, you’d have to give up a salary, employer based insurance and an employer match on retirement when you jump back into the workforce. What do you know about starting a freelance writing business?” The list went on and on. The monkey mind and the negative chatter were as much a part of my reality as watching my Mom’s physical body slowly withering away.

    My Mom passed away in May. Because of the flexibility of my schedule, I was able to be with her for almost an entire month before she passed. Time is priceless. Flexibility is priceless. And I knew that I needed to give this freelancing idea some nurturing.

    What am I willing to give up?
    I’m willing to give up the negative chatter.
    I’m willing to give up fixed and limiting mindset.
    I’m willing to give up my comfort zone.

    Happy birthday, Writer’s Den! Thank you for sharing your good gifts with the world and for helping me to see that I can also share mine in a new and different way.

    • Richard Barnett

      Happy Birthday Karin!

    • Sandy Mickey

      What a roller coaster these last few months have been for you! I’m sorry for your loss. My grandmother had Parkinson’s, and I spent the last two years of her life caring for her part-time. It was some of the best days I’ve had, and I cherish having been able to do that.

      Congratulations on your new adventures, and Happy Birthday!

      • Karin

        Hi Sandy,

        Thank you for your kind words. I just checked out your website and see that we live in neighboring states.

        I recently began teaching a respite yoga class for parents and caregivers of children with special needs.

        Let’s connect? I’d love to hear more about your freelance journey.

  128. Sharon

    Freelance writing means being flexible and adaptive each time I show up to work. It’s the biggest sacrifice for someone who craves structure and order and is very time conscious.

    I am a former corporate marketer who never would miss a deadline or meeting I was invited to attend. Being late is not in my DNA. I never miss a day of work. I want to be paid well for my time, effort and knowledge.

    Showing up to work now is not about punching the clock nor being visible in my organization but instead, it is about committing myself to working when I need to. I must consistently seek out new opportunities. No excuses.

    Freelancing forces me to start each day with a blank slate or computer screen and write until I have personal obligations and must stop working.

    • What do I have to write about today and for whom?

    • Who should I be contacting and marketing to in order to have a good flow of work?

    Monthly and sometimes weekly, I consider what’s the optimal mix of clients and assignments to not only pay my bills but to also feel that I am learning and growing professionally.

    Variety is the spice of life as the old adage goes and I like mine hot as in jalapeno peppers.

    Thanks to the Freelance Writing Den for showing me how freelancing can work at its best. Congratulations on turning 6!

  129. Lyle K. Weiss

    The Last Full Measure: What I am Willing to Sacrifice for a Freelance Career
    From the title, you might suspect I am willing to sacrifice my life for a freelance career, though that would hardly make sense. I have met very few active but dead freelance writers (though to date my career could do a decent impression). I left a tenure track professorship for a job that, though I severely dislike it, pays more money so my wife and I could send our son to the Catholic high school he wanted to attend. So sacrifice is not beyond my capacities if it is something of great enough value. And a freelance career is certainly a significant value for me. But, what am I willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it? For months and years, I have read about the joys of being a freelancer and the many perks, besides making a good living, that come with it. Not working under the thumbs of a boss comes immediately to mind. In the effort to inspire the next generation of freelance writers, the blog posts seem rarely to speak of the sacrifice, only of the many benefits. What I need to sacrifice in order to become a member of this unique community is first and foremost my fear. The greatest obstacle holding me back is my fear of jumping in the water with both feet. I must sacrifice my self-doubt that my writing is not good enough to allow me to enjoy the benefits of the writing life. And I need to sacrifice my doubt that a better professional life is waiting for me out there. If I am able to sacrifice my fear and doubts, the ‘write’ life will be within my grasp.

  130. Chris

    The rain hammers down, slashing across my dark window. Within the silence of this sleepy world, my thoughts swirl, spilling out my fingertips onto the keyboard to appear on the screen in front of me. Pausing to sip my coffee, I see the first rays of the day create a watercolor scene outside my window. I wander out on the deck breathing in the freshness of freshly washed earth. I feel the warmth of the rising sun on my arms. I hear birds greet the day with chirps, twitters, caws, and clucks as my awakening kids add their own noise to the day.

    Wait! I thought this was about sacrifices to become a successful freelance writer. A sacrifice is defined as giving up something that is prized for something of more value. Many would consider getting up before the birds, not watching television or driving a less snazzy car a sacrifice. What do you truly value? Sacrifice or gift is a matter of perspective.

    What have I sacrificed? I’ve sacrificed the restriction of corporate time clocks for the freedom of biking with my family on a beautiful day. I’ve sacrificed worrying about how to handle childcare for sick days and snow days with guilt-free days caring for my kids. I’ve sacrificed the fear of losing a single source of income with the security of clients from different industries.
    Sure, I may get up before the birds or daybreak. I may not know the latest television shows. I may have to adjust my idea of how much I need financially. These are sacrifices that I choose in exchange for the flexibility and freedom of my time that freelancing provides.

  131. Michelle

    What Are you willing to sacrifice to be become a successful freelance writer?

    It seams to me that most people say they are willing to sacrifice anything and everything to be presented with the opertunity to become a successful freelancer. Time, money, job security, family, fun, sanity and everything in between. Even procrastination, self doubt, and excuses are things you just have to learn to let go of, to change and adapt. All these things are more of a necessity to learn and grow as a writer not so much things you need to sacrifice.

    I haven’t got much left to sacrifice as life for me has decided to point me in a direction that has left me with only the option to make writing a success. It makes me hungry and determined, while simultaneously being in a place that failure is not an option and succeeding is the only thing that remains. I am focused and driven to show the world that despite the turmoil caused by: a brain tumor, chronic illness, financial ruin, divorce, and disability, sucess is still attainable. I will negate feelings of a life waisted. This is my chance to show the world that the mind is the most powerful tools we have as human beings. I choose to use my situation to show the world how to fight, not only to survive but to live, thrive and be fulfilled.

    So in closing I will sacrifice nothing short of a miracle, I will sacrifice failure, I will sacrifice letting life get the best of me, instead I will thrive, and show the world there is always hope, there is always a way when you hold on to the knowledge that you CAN achieve your goal when you work hard and never give up. I will use the negativeity for positive, I will research, learn, set goals and smash them one after another.

  132. Richard Barnett

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    The amazing thing about this question is what did I already gave up just thinking and fretting over becoming a freelance writer. I have well over a hundred writing books. My wife is so sick and tired of hearing about my plans and (in her words) schemes, she’s to the point of “just do it already.”

    I did a stint writing a weekly call for volunteers for local agencies in the South Bend Tribune for The COmmunity Resourse Center.

    I tried a writing course for children, by my instructor kept pushing me to convert the young readers to his liberal ideals (that didn’t last long).

    I got a one year Certificate in Business Software just trying to break into the computer writing market.

    I have great startup power but I wallow in the follow up.

    I’m not quite sure trying copy-writing is the way I want to go but over the years I tried a number of things. I have to learn focus and follow through.

    I will keep on trying until I get it right. That’s all there is to it. Keep trying until I am in the grave.

  133. Elaine

    Perfection is what I am prepared to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer.
    Trying to be a perfect writer will drain me emotionally, slow me down and therefore waste valuable billable time. One rough draft, one rewrite, one final review and then hit send. It’s best to let it rest overnight first though, and then maybe have one last read through — but no changes!
    Achieving perfection in all areas of work and personal life is an unattainable goal. If I can manage to make it to 90% in most areas of life, that’s fine. Getting to 90% in family life and close relationships seems less than perfect but we can all live with that, any more is a bonus. 90% perfection in housekeeping, laundry and shopping is probably too much – maybe we should borrow a few percentage points from here to aid our writing.
    If perfection is the condition or state of being free from all flaws or defects, I am never going to make it. The best we can all hope for is 90%.

  134. Brigitte Barry

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a freelance writer? I am at the edge of the starting line after two decades of marathon laps of comfort jobs. It has come down to this choice: give up my few hours of relaxing downtime every morning or give those morning hours to working as a writer?
    I pondered this question at work yesterday and it is a hard sacrifice with being a working mom, but it is the only answer. I am willing to give up my downtime and put my feet on the starting line.
    The Freelance Writers Den is a great opportunity to run alongside writers of different paces, writing styles, training methods and experience. No, I am not a runner at all! The analogy of a marathon came to me as I am writing because a marathon requires dedication, commitment, planning, training and is often met with injuries, failures and mental challenges to push forward.
    Carol Tice is the trainer and the Freelance Writers Den members are the runners. I need the support and the training resources. I am an experienced writer of many years but I need to “run the race” on a course that is more focused and efficient rather than loose and lagging.
    My teenage son keeps asking me, “Did you write today mom? You can do anything you set your mind to do. Dream Big.”
    Ouch. For him and my other three children, I must lead by example. How can I tell them to work to the best of their ability and pursue their dreams if I am not?
    My writing goal is to stay home with my children and freedom to make my own schedule while making a living doing what I love, writing. I have my running shoes on. Let’s go!

  135. Aamir M

    I have no sacrifices to make over here. At least not in the most philosophical sense of the word: a sacrifice is made when you part with something you own and hold dear to your heart. Life’s easy for me, by God’s grace: I have quite a bit of time on my hands and six figure savings in the bank. That gives me an opportunity to venture into a new world without leaving my couch at the neighborhood cafe. A world where my work not only feeds my creative side, but also gives me an opportunity to chip in into filling the massive void for quality content created by the ongoing digital revolution.

    So to answer your question more precisely, the only things I’d be letting go of would be:
    – my leisure time exploring other possibilities to be a valuable member of the digital society, and
    – that feeling of comfort and confidence that comes with doing things you’re familiar with over and over.

    But to me, those things are worth giving up in the interest of a much bigger payoff later down the road. So what I’m willing to do here is not a “sacrifice” but a “trade”.
    Thank you Carol!

  136. Sandy Mickey

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    For me, freelance writing isn’t about sacrifice. It’s about opportunity. I left my stable, well-loved position with the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a Park Ranger 2.5 years ago when my son was diagnosed with a rare spinal disorder. I had been at the top of my game and rocking the work-life balance. I had a Master’s degree, 15 years of experience, two beautiful boys, and was enjoying life. Then the diagnosis came and my world crashed. The next year saw me leaving my hard-earned position that I loved, and concentrating instead on doctor appointments, 2nd opinions, hospital scares, surgeries and a new normal of special needs parenting.

    Two years after I left my position, we were stabilizing. Our ship was still sailing, just in a different direction. Our son still needs specialized care, and has surgery every eight weeks (he has his 16th surgery in August), but we finally have predictable days, weeks and even months. Going back to my previous career wasn’t possible. I needed more flexibility than it offers. So I began searching for opportunities that fit with my experience, needs, and desires.

    Four months ago, I decided on freelance writing and blogging. It offers income for the mounting medical bills, but more importantly, it offers a chance to have something that’s my own again. I was losing myself these last 2.5 years, and both my husband and I knew it. I needed to go back to work. I’m not sacrificing anything to be a freelance writer. It’s saving me.

  137. Carla Buckles

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    The phone startled me awake. It was 10:57 am. My daughter was very excited! I wasn’t expecting a call, I just moved her four states away a few weeks ago, she calls me at night! The sun was rising when I finally fell asleep less than four hours ago. My mind was groggy, my heart was racing, the voice in the back of my mind behind the fog was reminding me to stay calm! Do not show fear, God has this and he will find a way for me to reach her if I need to. I am awake! I’m awake…” Hello, beautiful. “ I said in my best mom voice. She answers in a strange voice, excited, not one that I hear very often but I know to be still. “ I don’t have long to talk. I’m not supposed to be on the phone but I had to call and tell you! I just got the call. I got the job! I know what we talked about, but I couldn’t help myself. I went ahead and took it. I will be teaching in the place that had the live wall of plants and the bright colors! I know that I will be happy there…”

    That happened this morning. True story. I have wanted to write since I was in high school. I had a teacher who wanted to enter my writings for possible student publication. I was terrified of rejection so I said no. My daughter is half deaf and half blind. She was a surgery kid to boot. I had to investigate almost every step of our lives. She is my hero! I will give up all excuses, self-doubt, fear of rejection and failure.

  138. Michele Lemieux-Madison

    I don’t know how relevant the question is for me. As a freelance French editor and translator, I have already given up much. A regular paycheck, benefits, paid vacation, … But I have gained so much in return! I can work the hours I want, as long as there is paid work for me, of course. I can live anywhere I want, although being closer to my children and grandchildren has been nice the last couple of years.
    The drawbacks I have found and that I must work around to be successful in my career are discipline, organization, and motivation. I frequently get overwhelmed and, because of that, I find I give up too easily on a piece I was working on when there is no money involved. When I’m busy with a client request, I do what I have to do. But if I have been very busy with different client projects, it is harder for me to get back to my writing.
    I could not sacrifice sleep since my head would not work properly and my health would suffer. I could not give up time as it is more precious the older I get and I don’t waste enough of it as it is. I would not want to do without the pleasures in my life like being with my grandchildren or playing the violin as these activities ground me.
    No, I have sacrificed enough. I would however rearrange my time and let go of some of my current clients so I could learn more, get better and faster and eventually replace that revenue completely.

  139. Catherine katemba

    Question: what are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?
    Freelance writer is a writer who works on self employed basis. He or she can work for just magazine or more often, tend to write for several different publication at a time.
    Now I want to become successful freelance writer due to the following reasons.
    I want to succeed in my life and become independent lady free from government employment. The freelance writing is good and am real sacrificed in it for the coming future. By doing this freelance writing I will manage to fulfill my dreams.
    I want to become good journalist by learning my faults and where am going wrong. By interacting with different people in freelance writing I will be able to gain more knowledge from my friends and by doing so I will manage to teach my fellow what is freelance writing and benefit from it.
    I want to help people from poverty through freelance writing. This comes when am good journalist and payable as well as by educating friends about it and taking it as work to do. By this am real sacrificed in freelance writing as my work to do and doing it effectively.
    Also I want to travel from different countries for learning, enjoying and cooperating with different people from different countries.
    That’s is how am willing to do freelance writing as my job.
    THE END.
    Written by Catherine from Tanzania.

  140. Annette

    Wanting to become a successful freelance writer is not really about what I would have to sacrifice. That’s because I was a graphic design freelancer for many years so I already have a deep understanding of infrequent vacations, is-it-even-worth-it IRAs, eating out less, and making my own lattes. Things are easy to do without.

    Much more difficult is getting rid of old baggage, such as the belief that you are not good enough. Being “blessed” with a perfectionist nature only adds to the challenge.

    Fortunately, with age we tend to loosen some of our old tendencies (aka mellowing). Contrarily, we also tend to become more of what we are. Now staring down the big 6-0, I find myself at an intersection of these two trends: 1) still desirous of attaining perfection yet now able to accept “very good” and 2) my love of and fascination with writing which has finally risen to the forefront, demanding attention.

    I finally realized I have secretly been a writer my whole life. I have the mindset of a writer but I’ve acted like a frightened child. I really want this now because after finally figuring out where my passion lies, I want to go for it!

    With age also comes the realization of time and that there is a limited amount of it left. I would really appreciate having the advantage of Freelance Writers Den to expedite the process of becoming a successful awesome freelance writer.

  141. Jinni Bradfield

    What are you willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer?

    When you realize that your passion can transform the lives of individuals and businesses, you become willing to sacrifice your time, energy and even finances to make that passion a reality. Once I discovered this about myself, there was no stopping me.

    Writing embodies who I am. It’s my nature to be supportive of others. Through writing I enable business owners and budding authors to express their own passions and to showcase their message or mission to the world.

    So I sacrifice my time. I’d get more sleep if I didn’t work through the night to finish editing a book, or I could have more of a social life if I didn’t spend my evenings researching a technical white paper. Writing and editing can be intensive and exhausting. They demand your focus, your creativity and listening to your client. In order to do the job right, you have to empty yourself into your work, so that your words connect who you are with your client’s mission. This can sap your energy while simultaneously invigorating you. Deciding to freelance is also a serious financial risk. Unless you get a high-paying client early on, it could be a struggle for a while. I worked two part time jobs to keep my family afloat while I got my freelance business off the ground. Was it worth it? You bet!

    I would not trade being a freelance writer for the world! By being willing to sacrifice my time, energy and—at various times—finances, not only do I get to do what I love each day, but I am rewarded by seeing how my clients are benefiting from my creative passion and professional dedication to them. I get to see them achieve their dreams, and, in the process, I achieve mine.

  142. Ashley Quirk

    I am willing to sacrifice bad writing. I cannot tell you how many times I have been reading an article in a popular magazine, a brochure for a big business, a website for a famous brand or some other publication that is just plain poorly written. I always think to myself “I can totally write better than that!”
    In all seriousness, I am ready and willing to sacrifice that voice in my head telling me I’m not qualified, or a good enough writer, or knowledgeable about anything important. I am going to sacrifice my fear and excuses. I have actually been a den member for about a year now. I haven’t been using it nearly enough, which I feel guilty about. I know there are so many people waiting to get in who would take full advantage. Now that I think about it, guilt is something else I am willing to sacrifice for my successful freelance career! Guilt along with caring about what everyone else thinks. I have been so worried about what people would think if I failed at this, that it has kept me from trying. That is just silly! So, whether I win this contest or not, I am making a promise to myself right now that I will sacrifice the following things: that mean voice inside my head (just shut up already!), fear, excuses, guilt, and other people’s opinions (of me!). That seems like a lot, but I am going to fake it ’til I make it! ☺

  143. CM Porter

    In my case, what I’m willing to give up heavily overlaps with things I’m actively trying to give up—mostly a variety of crutches (mental, emotional, financial) that I’ve come to realize I’ve been leaning on for my entire adult life.
    While I have a fair number of these crutches, most of them relate to the fact that, when I was 16, I was diagnosed with an illness that we knew, even at the time, was likely to be lifelong. I was legally certified as “permanently disabled” when I was 19, and have been considered such ever since. As a result, I have always had a consistent income (from SSI), housing, and qualified for health insurance (through Medicare and Medicaid). However, I’ve come to find the limitations incredibly suffocating, and I suspect they are impacting my mental and possibly physical health.
    I’m both willing and actively seeking to give up my (stable but very limited) Disability income for one I actually earn. I’m also trying to give up the “disabled” mentality I seem to have developed, which is why I have not touched on the subject before. In a more general sense, I am willing to sacrifice most or all of my current lifestyle in the hopes of finding one that is at least marginally satisfying to me. This is almost certainly not viable right now, but I think I am willing to do it.
    I did some research for a few months before settling on freelance writing, which seems to be a good combination of skills and interests I already have, things I can and/or am interested in learning, and the ability to potentially work around my limitations until I can progress past them.

  144. Aaron Perras

    It’s been said that the things we regret most in life are the things we chose not to do. Perhaps we can also measure sacrifice by the cost of choosing to not take the road less traveled.

    I see my child who has the same restless spirit as me. She is brave and curious and insightful. Although she has yet to find the faculty to fully articulate her ideas, I see that she also craves adventure and freedom. My wish for her is to grow up pursuing her passions without inhibition or fear of failure.

    What must I sacrifice in order for her to see that it is possible, that she is able to do these things?

    My sacrifice is the terror of stepping into the unknown. That darkness that breeds the Fear must be slain without mercy or hesitation. That warm blanket of a dull, but secure, job serves only to smother dreams. Goals evanesce until they are forgotten, only to be remembered with regret at the end of a life.

    So I have been told.

    If the best memories lay stagnant on a shelf, preserved only in a few journals and unseen pictures, then what is the sacrifice? How can the cost of building one’s own world compare to having wished for better, but having never thrown in on a turn of pitch-and-toss?

    This freelance path offers the opportunity for adventure, growth, and self-direction. It offers the chance to be type of person I wish for my daughter to be. Against this, everything pales.

  145. Nicole Jack

    To become a successful freelance writer, I am willing to sacrifice the security of my comfort zone. This has never been an easy task for me. From childhood to early adulthood I was bound by a shyness so severe I couldn’t meet the eyes of strangers in a supermarket and would consistently skip English class to avoid having to speak in front of a group. Even as I gradually learned to take risks and let myself be seen, part of me continued to reach for the safest, most familiar route. I stayed in jobs that didn’t allow me to grow, in relationships that had ceased being built on love, in homes that weren’t ideal but were the ones I knew. Writing remained a constant and a refuge even when I didn’t know who I was, but it also remained personal.

    Over time I began to learn my own value and to want deeply to help others recognize theirs, and I’ve reached a point where I am willing to push through the vulnerability of sharing myself through writing. For the first time I identified myself as a freelance writer on social media, shared short articles I had written, and will be reaching out to those I hope to write for. I have experienced firsthand how strong the pull of our comfort zone can be, but it is so well worth it to take a breath and push ourselves further.

  146. Ann Walker

    I’ve always loved words. I used to read dictionaries when I was a kid – nerdy or what?! I like the way words feel and taste on the tongue. However, I never saw myself as a writer. I was always being told at school that I was too much to the point when I wrote something – not including enough ‘padding’ – and it discouraged me. So, I didn’t write.

    Exactly a year ago finances were, well, abysmal and I signed up with a couple of crowd-working websites in desperation. You know the sort of thing – racing against myriads of other desperate people to grab as many tiny, repetitive tasks as possible to earn a pound.

    One day, a $4 job popped up to write 200 words on the latest interior design colour trends. I managed to grab it and wrote the piece. It was submitted, proofread and the proofer came back to me saying that I was a natural writer and should pursue it. I was very surprised and not a little flattered I suppose, but thought I might give it a try.

    No idea where to start, I signed up with a content mill and began to get jobs. Yes, little money and more work than it was worth, but it gave me confidence. About half my income now comes from writing, on different topics although mainly medical stuff (I trained as a nurse years ago), but I have loads to learn and really want to move up.

    I’m still not financially stable as yet, so even the small Den fee is a lot to me and means sacrificing my one monthly treat, but I think some time in there will set me on the right path to become a full-time freelancer. So, I’ve signed up.

    Lead on Carol!

  147. John


    Undoubtedly, one major advantage going for a freelance writing career is the freedom tied to it. However, as universally acknowledged, success in all endeavors come with a price, a sacrifice to be made.
    Fully aware of this fact, these are some of the sacrifices I will make to achieve a successful freelance writing career.

    First, I will sacrifice my fear of rejection and failure. Painful as rejection is, it is a constant feature in the writing industry, one which every writer must learn to deal with if they are to see any measure of success. Hence I stand ready to kill my ego, get my queries and pitches out there and risk rejection.

    Secondly, mediocrity must go. Though fun, a successful writing career thrives on the back of in-depth research, quality and informative write-ups, attention to detail, meeting deadlines, excellent time management skills etc., all qualities alien to mediocrity. Hence to ensure my success I am willing to cut all ties with mediocrity to be my very best.

    Again, as one who is extremely introverted, networking, communication, forging bonds, marketing are not my best of friends. Having come to the understanding that the successful freelance writer must network with other like-minded people, go out of his/her way to bond with other industry players like editors, publishers, marketers and writers, I will sacrifice this character trait (introversion) to ensure it does not stand in my way to finding those who matter in the industry.

    Though the list of sacrifices I am willing to make are by no means exhausted, I believe the above give a strong signal as to what I am willing to sacrifice just to enjoy the freedom of writing as a freelancer successfully.

  148. Penelope Blair

    What Are You Willing to Sacrifice to Become a Freelance Writer?

    The most important component I am willing to sacrifice to become a well-paid freelance writer is time. As I am getting older time is a precious commodity. In the past few months, I have unexpectedly lost loved ones that I thought would be around for years. I allowed jobs and simply the busyness of life erode spending time with loves ones and living a life well lived.

    I see the Writer’s Den as the gateway to allowing me to live life on my terms while realistically earning a great income.

    A free year in the Writer’s Den takes away the excuses and exposes me to thousands of dollars’ worth of resources as well as expert advice, bootcamps and the opportunity to forge friendships with other freelance writers. I recently had surgery and a nerve was damaged during the process which will delay me returning to the workforce. My husband was laid off right before Christmas and has not found a position yet. What started out as there is no income and this is terrifying to this is an opportunity to live your dreams.

    What am I willing to sacrifice to be a well-paid freelance writer? Comfort. I am willing to sacrifice my ducks all being in a row before I can move forward. What am I willing to sacrifice? Stepping outside of my walls that I have constructed with decade layers of self-doubt and fear. I am willing to sacrifice leaning on my own understanding to immerse myself with the strategies, training and sage advice that the Writer’s Den provides.

    Happy Anniversary to the Writer’s Den family and thank you for this wonderful opportunity.

  149. Jason

    When I think about what I would sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer, my first thought is that I have nothing to lose. I mean, it’s not like I’m lying in a gutter, starving and cold, begging every passerby to let me write them a few words, just a couple, anything to take the edge off.

    Instead, I live here on a couple hundred acre farm (not mine) with a swimming pool and a fishing spot. I’m far from maddening crowds and the hustle of boring retail or administration jobs. It’s quiet, serene, and the birds are always singing.

    I’d gladly give all that up. For all the beautiful scenery and star filled night skies my mind screams and my heart burns because writing for a living is what I’ve always wanted. I’m lucky enough now to be able to pursue that goal in relative peace. I’d drop that peace in an instant if I knew it meant my career would progress.

    You see, I’ve been working retail since high school. I succeeded at propelling myself from entry level cashier to various management positions in a few different stores. At one time I was third highest in command of a large chain big box store. I worked hard and I worked well, but I never really liked any of the work I did.

    I always thought that it was going to be this way. I’d work myself to exhaustion telling myself the whole time, “Your next days off you can write something. Your next week of vacation you can start the ‘real’ work.” But it never got off the ground. The work I hated got in the way of the work I desired and I want that to change.

    So you may have the swimming pool and the quiet and the pastoral scenes and those stupid squawking birds. Even the night sky, though it is my favorite.

    I’d even sacrifice my ego, fed by so many telling me how well I can write. I’d love for someone to rip something I hand them to shreds and force me to start from scratch because that is the kind of work that would feed my soul.

    My luxuries and my ego, they can go right out the door. I’ll take long nights, black coffee, and endless hours poring over words, because that is where my heart lives.

  150. Ellen Kolb

    I’m willing to sacrifice “yes.” I have a niche, you see – tiny, hyperlocal, but mine. I have a single paying client at the moment, and we’re very pleased with each other. All good, as far as it goes, but It’s not a living.

    I’m willing to charge more – and that will definitely mean risking “no” when it’s time for an extension of my current contract. I’m willing to seek new clients actively, which is a huge shift from the local word-of-mouth that has landed me modestly-paying gigs in the past. That definitely means sacrificing the safe, reassuring “yes.”

    I am not used to that. The biggest revelation I’ve had this year is something longtime Denizens know: clients don’t pay a writer for being “good.” They pay for good writers who can help them achieve the client’s goals. Being a “good” writer isn’t going to earn me a living. This is new stuff, for someone who is emerging from the local-blogging cocoon.

    Without having any idea just where I’m going to land when I step off this particular cliff, I’m willing to sacrifice being best-known for my local blog that has earned me a local reputation but nearly zero in compensation. (Nearly. There was that $7 in Amazon Associates money last year.)

    Investing the time to sacrifice “yes” is not a problem; writing is already a full-time occupation for me. What I look forward to learning is how to invest that time wisely, turning an occupation into a career.

  151. Julie Neese

    For years I have run in circles like a dog chasing her tail searching for that magical puzzle piece that will bring me to the proverbial finish line of “success” as a writer.

    I’ve taken classes, read books, joined social media groups to find “my tribe,” been in writer’s groups, wrote for content mills, started my website, watch webinars, and stare daily at my unfinished novel’s first few chapters. You get the picture. No “real” progress.

    Every day I wake up expecting to feel different. Today will be the day that I have the motivation, inspiration, knowledge, and courage to take the right step that will make the difference. I will find the path or the missing clue that catapults me into a new lifestyle, a new career that actually brings me joy, satisfaction, and direction.

    And therein lies part of the problem, I don’t know how to do joy. For 30-plus years I have worked in many jobs that snuffed out the flame of my spirit to a short blackened stub, just like a burnt candle – smoke still wafting in the air.

    So when someone asks me what would I sacrifice to become a successful Freelance Writer, I tell them, you’re asking the wrong question, because I’ve already sacrificed who I am, my passion, my light in this world. The question should be what am I willing to do to ensure I reach that first finish line of success.

    I am willing to never give up, never stop learning, and open my heart to live a life I adore. I will re-ignite my flame and use the power to always move forward, never to look back on what I had to sacrifice to know how I want to give to the world.

  152. J ash

    I need to sacrifice my drive to create “Perfect” for “fit for purpose”. I don’t need to write guilded literary prose, I just need to write straight forward communication that speaks to its audience.

    I need to bin the idea that I can learn no more that there’s nothing better out there. I need to stay open to ideas change your approach.

    I need to sacrifice the idea that creating content has to be for a local market. I could take my skills to any marketplace. The world is huge and the Internet makes it all accessible.

    I need to jettison my Fear of failure. I need to remember If you don’t try you won’t learn and if you don’t learn you’ll never succeed.

    I need to stop thinking if something does go wrong the “writing police” are not going to bang on my front door and demand that I explain myself.

    I need to stop listening to the little voice in my head that keeps undermining me. That voice that says your work isn’t good enough. That voice that says you’ll never make it.

    Time. It takes time to become proficient. I’m ready to invest my time to polish my skills and put time into building a successful business using my own skills. Time is the most precious investment you can make. You’ll never have that hour of your life again. And after all what did I do with that last hour anyway?

  153. Don Knox

    Many years ago, when I was that many years ago younger, I attended a writer’s seminar hosted by writer Lawrence Block. One of the great tips he had for us pertained to research for fiction or non-fiction: research should provide us with just enough information to have a believable structure to flesh out with our own writer’s imagination. Anything more and we create another distraction to take our attention away from the task at hand – the writing.
    Such good advice – I wish I would have followed it. Instead I took the road to Hobbytown and ended up researching for another 35 years and stuffing bookshelves with histories and How-To –Do’s that I knew I would read when I started actually writing those books and stories I had outlined.
    I have read in a couple of the self-help writer books that we all consume to some extent, not to throw away any of those ideas and outlines that we let sit around in files and boxes for years. The day will come when we can open them and pick up where we left off. I thought maybe I would start with the “The Man from UNCLE” television show script that I wrote when I was 14 years old in 1965.
    Although I don’t expect to sell my handwritten script to any “Man from UNCLE” reboot – it is something that informs me from 52 years away what was important and what is still important to me. So what is the problem?
    I still get frozen by the fear of not being able to craft a piece of work as well as some of my favorite writers.
    That fear is what I will sacrifice.

  154. Miguel A Cortés

    Becoming a successful freelance writer would mean the sacrifice of comforting habits and ideas. Making dreams come true instead of wishing for them. Doing what I love instead of finding excuses. Recognizing my weaknesses as an ESL writer instead of pretending otherwise.

    I love writing, yet I wasn’t doing it. Waiting for the perfect moment were I could use it. This has caused my writing skills to stagnate. I have learned that writing, like all skills is developed by exercising it. What a good reason to start earning money with it.

    As a native spanish speaker living in Latin America, I had always thought my english was excellent. Starting as a freelance writer would mean I couldn’t trust my grammar and puctuation to be good enough any more. A lot of care and attention would be needeed to ensure quality.

    Why don’t I write in spanish? I have found, when writing in spanish, that it doesn’t allow the inspiration that english affords me. It should be the opposite, but for some reason it’s like that. The english language let me feel like a writer.

    My dreams are to become a tech entrepreneur, writer, speaker. I have learned they don’t become real just by wishing for them. Action is needed and becoming a freelance writer would be a first step in that direction.

  155. Roger Bishop


    Your question about sacrificing to become a successful freelance writer doesn’t have an easy answer, but you know that.

    After decades of human resource writing, I said enough of this stuff and reinvented myself as a copywriter.

    Since I consider myself a storyteller, writing articles and a blog can be fun, exciting and challenging.

    People have told me that I’m detail oriented, highly organized and analytical – yes it sounds boring, but that’s me.

    While I am a self-starter, I also work well as a team player.

    American Writers & Artists Inc. (AWAI) is a great place to learn and I have taken several classes.

    All of this may sound great but it hasn’t gotten me an offer.

    So in answer to your question, I’m willing to sacrifice my pride and personal time.

    What I’m not willing to do is quit or consider myself defeated.

  156. anna

    When I was a child I didn’t fit in. Whatever I did, wherever I was, I tried again and again and I couldn’t make it work. Everyone else seemed to know what to say and do. And they seemed to know I was different.
    Writing – sometimes in my head, sometimes on paper – was where everything worked. I paid attention to words and in return they became my friends. Eventually I got better at navigating the world but I never stopped writing, because writing was what I did. I carried a notebook and a pen everywhere. I kept a diary and thought in words.
    Of course I wasn’t a writer. Writers were creative and talented; I was just an absurd little person who made sentences and stories. People said I was good at writing but that didn’t mean much. It was like saying I was good at breathing.
    I got jobs where I wrote. I wrote articles, press releases and acres and acres of reports. In the evenings (and in dull meetings, on the bus, whenever I could chip out a few minutes) I wrote more; a novel, stories, comedy.
    That was sort of OK, but it was the wrong way around. I worked hard for things that mattered a lot at the time, but faded away too quickly. Writing is my one constant and it’s time to put my trust in it.
    Maybe I’ll fail. Maybe people will call me ridiculous. Maybe, if words can work magic, a laugh can send me time-travelling back to my awkward childhood. Maybe no-one will pay me; they don’t pay me for breathing, after all. It will be hard to bring my love affair with writing into the open, but there’s no maybe about whether it’s worth it.
    I’m going to give up hiding.

  157. Margo

    Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, even without knowing what you’ll have to sacrifice along the way.

    Sounds reckless? Well, I decided to become a parent without fully knowing what was in store for me, and that worked out fabulously. I think becoming a freelance writer will shake out in a similar way.

    I start with my vision and my dream. Sacrifices loom on the horizon, but they are just theoretical; they pale in comparison to my passion. Time, money, sleep – all of those are expendable, right?

    But at some point the going gets tough. Reality sets in. I feel terrified and incompetent. So I sacrifice even more time, money and sleep to learn the skills that I need for this gig. There is no alternative.

    As time goes on, I realize that although this is my dream, it’s not all about me anymore. Because the only way I’ll achieve my dream is if I help someone else (a child or a client) achieve theirs. So I sacrifice hubris and improve at listening and being of service.

    And finally, I come to realize that I’m not the same person that I was at the beginning of this journey. Along the way, I’ve sacrificed my old beliefs about who I am and what I’m capable of. Hopefully, the new version of me is an improvement over the prior one.

    Sacrifices can’t always be known or anticipated up front. I take it as a personal challenge to learn to roll with that.

    With all of this uncertainty and sacrifice, it’s a comfort and a pleasure to know that there are over 1,000 of us in the Den, sharing the path and keeping each other moving forward. Happy Birthday, Den!

  158. Steve Bremner

    “I love being a writer,” said Peter De Vries. “What I can’t stand is the paperwork.”

    My variation on that theme would be, “I’d love being a writer, if only I’d shut up, sit down, and DO the paperwork.” What I need to sacrifice is doing nothing, (although, false modesty aside, I’m darned good at that!)

    As other aspiring Denizens have noted, ‘sacrifice’ has shades of meaning. Its darker side evokes ancient Mayans ritually slaying the School Hampster [sic] to schmooze capricious gods. Not my style. I still have guilt nightmares about jabbing Hammy in the rump with a Crayola – pointy end, yet – circa 1963.

    Then there’s the nobler ‘sacrifice.’ Martyrs; saints; everyday human (versus merely ‘super’) heroes; every Mom anywhere ever. What I’d need to do to become a successful freelance is arguably unworthy of that sense of The S-Word. My ‘immortal’ epitaph: “He made the sacrifice of getting off his keister”? Besides, I share’s Woody Allen’s preference for attaining immortality by not dying. But I digress.

    I come from a small island with a FIFTEEN syllable name. (Count ‘em: “The United Kingdom of Great…”). If I can read my passport aloud – and on a transatlantic flight with lame movies, who hasn’t? – then surely I can handle hordes of words like a pro. Yes, I can do this … if only I, uh, DO it!

    To mangle that quote from Einstein, who won’t object, (as he’s been dead since 1955 and it’s a misattribution anyway): For me, the definition of insanity has been leaving the same things NOT done, over and over again, and vaguely hoping for different results.

    So I’m willing to ‘sacrifice’ doing nothing, by finally getting my derriere in gear. You might say I’m willing to sacrifice insanity. Hmm, sounds kind of oratorical. Almost noble…

  159. Rose

    When I think of sacrifice, I think of God, family, and country, but not of profession, and certainly not about anything for myself. Maybe this comes from the fact that I was raised to believe that women are supposed to sacrifice for others, and not to worry about themselves. I even developed this vague idea that it was okay to put my all into helping others, but that it was unbecoming, and even selfish to do the same for myself.
    When I think back to what I was taught as a young woman, I only remember being encouraged to marry and care for a family. I remember once when I was a little girl, my grandma gave me a lesson about how to iron my husband’s shirt. I asked her, “Who is going to iron my shirt?”
    I dreamed of who I would marry and what my family would look like, but never what I would be. I wrote poetry as a child, and I loved to read; I always had a sort of love affair with words, and even at a young age, I realized that words had power.
    I thought that I could help others using words. However, no matter what I accomplished in my life to help others, I never really learned to be confident. I have a hard time believing that I have accomplished anything of value, or that people would really want to listen to anything that I might have to say.
    So, what would I sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? I would sacrifice the idea that I don’t really have anything of value to offer. I would sacrifice the vague idea that I don’t deserve to be a successful freelance writer. Ultimately, I would sacrifice my lack of confidence.

  160. JoAnn

    Why don’t people who love to write just write? The rest of the world will never understand because the reason lives deep within the soul of a writer, it’s all about security. Most writers are naturally insecure, yet that’s the place where creativity and brilliance lives. Even a thousand compliments never seem to convince writers they excel at their craft; they always believe there is someone else out there who can do it better. They will always believe that they could do it better too.

    Insecurity about their talents is compiled with a fear of lacking financial security. Instead of pushing past the fear, writers tend to write on the side while working a “real” job to earn a living. Writers who do not get past their insecurities become writers who eagerly take assignments paying pennies, fulfilling the fears they have created in their mind that writing is not a profitable business.

    I am willing to give up the false armor of insecurity to become a freelance writer that changes lives.

  161. Michelle Nguyen

    I’ve been interested in writing for a very long time. I’m 20, and I think I’ve been playing with words for half of my life now.

    I’m currently studying abroad. It’s not my first time staying alone, all by myself, but it’s my first time living in another country, all by myself. It’s not my first time staying far from my mom and dad, but it’s my first time staying so far from them that it takes me nearly a day to see them face to face. It’s not my first time having to support myself financially, but it’s my first time having to cope with such huge debts.

    My parents are not young anymore; they should have been enjoying themselves right now, not working hard to finance me.

    But they do. They still have to do. And that’s why it’s so hard for me to give up the stability I have from my current part-time job, the little hope I cling onto that I can help my parents with the tuition fee, in order to pursue full-time freelance writing.

    But I want to work on my writing. And that’s why I’m willing to put myself in a tight position, having to cope with debts and hoping that I will be able to earn a six-figure salary in the future, paying off all the debts, bringing my parents to this beautiful country with me and having a good, fulfilling life with them.

    And I’m going to do that, because I put my trust in you, and your Den. It would mean so much to me if I could win a year’s pass to the Den, and no words could describe my feelings if that came true.

    Thank you, and congratulations on the Den’s birthday.

  162. JoAnn McCarthy

    What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? A question posed to me with the word ‘sacrifice’ being problematic.

    While it’s true, all accomplishments have an element of ‘sacrifice,’ I struggle to view the steps in achieving my goal of becoming a successful freelance writer as sacrifices. Instead, I view these as stages that I am eagerly willing to work through.

    Of course, there is the process itself of getting started: I will have to find my niche, set up a website, create a solid LinkedIn profile, set up fees and guidelines, continuously seek out clients, as well as continuously network and market myself. And of course, write. Again, I don’t see these as sacrifices—just steps in the process.

    No one would deny that following a schedule, a timeline, being disciplined, and setting up goals, are all avenues that generally lead to success. But are they necessarily sacrifices or just expected norms in following-through in achieving any set goal?

    Yet, truthfully, for me, there is one element that could be categorized as a sacrifice.

    And it’s a big one: networking/marketing. I am an indisputable introvert. So in order to be ‘successful,’ I know I’ll have to make the sacrifice of leaving my introverted comfort zone behind, along with my self-doubt comfort zone. It’s odd what we take comfort in—even when it’s self-destructive. However, few would argue that there’s any benefit in self-doubt. And therefore, leaving it behind is truly the best—maybe not even really a sacrifice.

    Being a successful freelance writer is my “personal legend,” my home base, what I am meant to do. For eleven years I taught others to write. Now it’s my turn. I’m sure I have much to learn, but I’m not sure I view it as making sacrifices.

  163. ev nittel


    We all want to look good. To smile without spinach in our teeth and sing without missing a single beat. Nothing wrong with that. Except, what if the desire to appear pulled together strips us of our ability to take risks? Or if the need to look good gets in the way of achieving a dream?

    More than one person has touted the virtues of failing in order to succeed. And yet, I’ve been too damn afraid of looking like a fool to even try. So I keep doing the safe thing. I wake every morning and battle traffic to go to the job I know doesn’t quite fit. I quiet that small voice that says “there should be more,” and carry on crossing my T’s and dotting my I’s. Boy, do I look good, or at least like someone who has her hat on straight. But in doing so, I’m only living half a life.

    If I’m ever to forge ahead and walk a path that truly reflects who I am and where I want to go, then something (probably a lot of somethings) must be sacrificed. But the very first and maybe most important of all to forfeit is my need to look good. In doing so I will undoubtedly appear to be a fool. I will fall on my face. I will make mistakes. But what I’m banking on is that in the end my clumsy attire, with its holes and loose threads, will allow me to lead a more authentic and fulfilled life. I’m willing to sacrifice looking good, fully understanding I’ll inevitably get it wrong, knowing that in the end that it’s the only way I’ll ever truly get it right.

  164. Nancy Farris

    Having been self-employed for the past 7 years, I’ve grown accustomed to sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed a steady paycheck for the continual stress of not knowing if I’ll have enough hours with my contract gig to cover my financial needs. I’ve sacrificed what I wanted for what I could afford, or what I had the time for. I’ve sacrificed my carefully constructed financial house of cards while it collapsed with me inside.

    Turns out, those were the easy sacrifices (if there is such a thing). The ones I’m facing in becoming a freelance writer are a lot scarier – they require me to sacrifice who I’ve been, so I can BE who I really AM.

    In this space, I’m willing to sacrifice my limiting stories and beliefs about myself and what’s possible. I’m willing to sacrifice my self-inflicted comfort zone, to explore exciting new possibilities.

    I am willing to sacrifice my tendency to hide, play small and play it safe. To not risk pissing people off with my opinions or my truth. I’m willing to sacrifice the two-headed monster in my psyche, to the god of my soul.

    I’m willing to sacrifice my stories about being unable to string words together in ways that touch other human beings.

    I’m willing to sacrifice my old beliefs around struggling to earn a living.

    I’m willing to sacrifice my fear around charging for the value of my contributions.

    I’m willing to sacrifice my tendency to neatly wrap-up all my ideas, trusting instead that it’s worthwhile to leave both writer and reader with unanswered questions – to provoke thought and curiosity – to broaden the conversation.

    I’ve always wanted to write, I’ve just never given myself permission to create meaningful value exchange around it. And I’m willing to sacrifice my habit of journeying alone.

  165. Amy H. Peterson

    I’m a journalist for the local newspaper right now at 30 hours per week. So I have at least 10 hours to do what I do. To go on my own, I would sacrifice self-doubt. I would say goodbye to other people’s ideas of what I should be. I would let go of (or transform, preferably) relationships that cause me to question my writing ability. I would release the desire to move to a big city, live in a beautiful loft, wear fashionable clothing, and have a fabulous life, because at the end of that rope is a lot of fray and not much substance.

    I just returned from the Hive Global Leaders program in which we stated clearly our life’s purpose for making the world better. I said my purpose is to write into life the altruistic, innovative, life-changing work my Hive cohort is doing and will do in the world.

    My mind is on a precipice of shadows and the haze of the unknown. Each night I meditate, each day I recite affirmations, each afternoon I walk and each evening I pray for the answer, and I am convinced the answer is within, but still obscured.

    When I relinquish safety, I will pick up the sound of my beating heart, the whoosh of my creative soul, and the very hard work of finding the right beat for my heart and my words.

  166. Marcia

    Willing to Continue with the Sacrifice of Keeping a Job for Structure

    For fourteen years, the yearning to write for a living has been aching my heart. I even went to college and not only did I learn the language, I graduated with a BA in English Literature and minored in Mass Communications, but only today and with tears on my face, I can finally understand successful people’s job: they sacrifice to have what they need and want, an structure that allows them to freely plan their goals and achieve them.

    One of my job gigs as teacher’s assistant and substitute (this is once a week gig) gave me the opportunity to meet kind, work colleagues who do not only have this once a week gig, they also have real jobs, and even one of them is going to college and is up to date with college payments – how nice is the structure of having a job. And whenever they say they are going to an overseas trip with their family to relax and have fun, I genuinely become happy for them, but when I look at my life, there are no family summer trip plans, and not even a single memory of a trip, just those of constantly pawning our laptops.

    But I am happy to announce that a few months ago, I made a search on a job, which I found, that is based on my personality and skills and gives me the peace of mind, flexibility, thus the structure I need to invest in a writing coach. I had at least scanned all of Carol’s emails since 2014 without being able to subscribe. Today, I started working at 10 AM and arrived home at 8 PM, I am tired, but it is all good.

  167. Phoebe

    Why do I write? I could do other things that bring me less stress, more money, fewer rejections. I have done those things that paid the bills and the mortgage. I have worked at dreary, tedious, mundane jobs that drove me to near insanity. I can’t do that anymore. I have to be true to myself for once. If it is the last thing I do I will write. I have to create something, anything. I have to share ideas and thoughts with others whether with a company doing a newsletter or helping someone tell their story through their biography. I have to create something. What am I willing to sacrifice to become a successful freelance writer? Time. Energy. Money. I am driven only by the possibility of success. Some days it feels like pushing a gigantic rock up a hill. I have to face my fears of failure and success. I know I will never be a Steven King or J.K Rowling. Those accomplishments are few and far between. However, there are many who are successful writers. They are carving out for themselves a fine niche in their writing world. There is a strong community of writers. I believe there has never been a better time to work as a writer. Social media groups and places like Freelance Writers Den make it possible to encourage each other to achieve our goals. If I do not accomplish my goal it will be my loss. There are ways to create and still be thriving. I do not have to work at this alone. I can see the top of that hill. It does like promising. The rock seems a bit less heavy now. I have other people to help me push when the going gets rough. I can!! I will write!

  168. Richard Thomas

    What am I willinh to sacrifice to become a successful freelance copywriter?
    I am willing to sacrifice long hours of dedicated work.I am willing to do researches and whatever it takes to be the best in copywriting. The determination is here, I just need the chance.

Related Posts

A Look Inside Den 2x Success Stories

The Freelance Writers Den is the online community where freelance writers learn how to grow their income -- fast. Inside the community, there are two levels: The Freelance Writers Den is for freelancers who are just getting started, learning the basics, and giving...