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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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