Two Easy Strategies That Eliminate Your Freelance Writing Mistakes

Carol Tice

I get a lot of questions about how to break into freelance writing. And I can answer them all with two words.


If you do these two things, it will keep you out of a lot of trouble as a new writer.

You’ll move forward faster and probably earn a lot more.

Can it really be that simple? Two words?

I think so.

Ready? Here we go.

1. Experiment.

A lot of new writers are mystified on how to move forward with their careers. I get questions like:

Should I send a query or a letter of introduction?

Should I pitch more than one idea at once?

What is the one easiest, low-cost way for me to market my writing?

Is it OK to reach out to editors on LinkedIn?

Which is the best writing niche for me?

Take a listen here and you can hear what Laura Spencer from WritingThoughts and I had to say about that last one (plus describing the easiest way to market yourself) at yesterday’s Webinar:

[hana-flv-player video=”″ width=”175″ height=”100″ description=”” player=”2″ autoload=”true” autoplay=”false” loop=”false” autorewind=”false” /]


To sum it up, the answer to all of your questions along these lines is: You’ll have to experiment and see what works for you. Every writer is different.

I can tell you what worked for me, and it might work for you.

But there’s only one way to find out for sure.

You can get advice all day long, but if you never go out there and start trying it and see what gets results in your case, you’re not going to have any concrete data on how to move forward.

Once you start experimenting, you’ll learn fast. Or at least faster than you will sitting alone in your home, trying to guess at what might work.

Is following up on query letters a waste of time?

Will my healthcare writing pay better than writing about pets?

There’s only one way to find out. Start doing it and see.

Here’s the other big thing you can do to avoid mistakes:

2. Ask.

Often, new writers realize they don’t quite know what to do. You get yourself into a situation where you’re worried you’re about to screw up.

I’m not sure if the editor wants a sidebar with this story.

They told me to send an invoice but I’m not sure what they pay.

I want to use my best friend as a source in my story — is that OK?

When you have these sorts of questions, you can twist your worry beads, vent on writer forums, take anxiety medication — or do the one thing sure to resolve your uncertainties: you can ask your editor.

Barring that, you can ask a freelance writing pro for advice. We’ve been there and can give you some guidance based on our experience.

We’ve already experimented a lot. And asked a lot of questions. That’s how we got here.

Have you experimented in your freelance writing career? Tell us in the comments below.


  1. David Shallcross

    One of the very few honest blogs i have read in a long time! I cannot agree more on the second point of asking. I dont know why people are not open and ask if they are stuck somewhere. I am part of a startup and i must say it is not easy. Keeping all the ego aside you open your heart and ask! Thats the work culture i am trying to promote at Towoglo. If you need help, just ask!!

    A Big shout to all the freelancers out there.

  2. Susanna Perkins

    Carol, you have a wonderful knack for reducing all sorts of hair pulling to very simple terms. Experiment. . . Ask. . .

    Duh. . .


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