How Freelance Writers Can Get More Credit for Their Work - Make a Living Writing

How Freelance Writers Can Get More Credit for Their Work

Carol Tice | 17 Comments

I know, it’s the holiday weekend. So I’d like to take a moment and give you the recognition you deserve.


Freelance writers work hard.

I’ve been helping new writers learn how to write queries and letters of introduction in Freelance Writers Den lately, and I can practically see the little sweat beads on their foreheads through the Internet. It’s tough to get the hang of these formats.

Marketing your writing is a long slog, especially right now.

Have you ever done work for a client who just sort of disappeared with it? No pat on the back, no ‘good job.’

Or they rewrote the heck out of it?

Or maybe you ghostwrote something, so nobody knows you wrote it.

It can feel sort of lonely. And maybe you start to wonder if you’re really any good at this writing game.

How to get more credit

There is one way you can always get more credit for your work. You can feel more accomplished, more talented, and more rewarded for your writing.

Do you know who can give you that much-deserved credit? As my dad used to tell me, find the nearest polished glass surface and take a look in it.

That’s right.

You can give yourself the credit you deserve.

When I first started out as a freelance writer, I treasured my portfolio. It was a physical book then, with my precious handful of yellowed clips inserted into clear sleeves.

Sometimes, when I felt overwhelmed, or behind schedule — or like I couldn’t imagine how I would write the 3,000-word feature article assignment that was due that day — I would take it out. Just leaf through the pages.

It never failed to blow my mind.

“Wow. I wrote all this,” I’d realize.

And I’d recognize what was lost in the day-to-day grind of writing: that I am good at this. If I wrote all that stuff, I could write some more good stuff, too.

We’re all so busy, it’s often hard to see your whole career and what you’re building. So we get too sucked into what others are telling us.

You shouldn’t rely too much on what others say about your writing career. Your drive, your passion to do this — it all comes from within.

Not every client will love your writing. But you have to love yourself as a writer to make this writing-biz thing work.

So this weekend, if you can, take a moment to look back. See what you’ve accomplished. Read some of your best work again.

Remember that no matter what others say, no one can take that body of work away from you. You wrote it.

Recognize that loads of people wish they were writers. Give yourself credit for actually putting it out there.

You are building your freelance writing career, piece by piece, against all odds.

I recognize you for that, and you should give yourself that recognition, too.

What would you like to give yourself credit for? Leave a comment and let us know.

P.S.: I’d like to thank and recognize all of you who nominated this blog for Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2012! If you find the info on this blog useful to your freelance-writing career, there’s still time to head over there — nominations are open through Dec. 10.

17 comments on “How Freelance Writers Can Get More Credit for Their Work

  1. Angela on

    I have a couple of folders on my desktop: one labeled “Send to Magazines” and the other “eBook ideas and drafts.” Whenever I get an idea for an article or a chapter to include in an unfinished eBook, I sit down, open a new document and draft it as soon as possible. Often these pieces take a few rounds of writing to completely finish, but it feels very gratifying when I do complete them.

    I’ve sent a few articles to print publications and then changed the name of my saved copy from “Send to XYZ Magazine” to “Sent to XYZ Magazine” + the date I sent it. It’s a small thing, but it’s a reminder I’ve done an article I feel is an example of my best writing and had the courage to sent it off. I haven’t gotten any of them accepted yet, but that’s all right. I’m simply getting those early rejections out of the way so I can get some eventual acceptances.

    I still go back and read those sent pieces; then I think, “Yeah, I CAN create something well-written and interesting. It probably just wasn’t quite the right fit for that publication.”

  2. Kimberly on

    Thank you for your encouraging, uplifting, and inspiring words of wisdom.

    I believe I am a GREAT writer. 😉

  3. Valerie on

    It does humble me to realize I’ve written enough articles in fill several books. Then I tell myself that much of it was crap. Instead of being negative, I am trying to focus on my ability to move and get stuff done. And honestly, my work has gotten better, Gradually.

  4. Carol J. Alexander on

    When I worked as an executive secretary I kept a folder in my desk labeled, “Praise.” Any thank you card, note received, or other recognitions went into that folder. Then, when the boss was in a sour mood, or maybe I was in a sour mood, I’d pull that folder out and remind myself that I was appreciated.
    Now, as a freelance writer…October made one year that I wrote a weekly post for an online magazine. December will be one year that I had a monthly column in my local newspaper. I would like credit for sticking to it. For unfailingly coming up with something to write about. For never missing a deadline. For turning things in early when I knew I’d be on vacation. I’d just like someone to say “good job.” Guess it’s time to go through the piles of publications under my desk and re-read some of my stuff.

    • Carol Tice on

      Ha! I had one when I was a secretary, too! I kept every scrap of positive strokes people had sent me. Everybody should.

      As someone who’s been blogging 3x a week for about 3 years now for one client, I salute you! Not many of us can keep cranking out the ideas week after week.

  5. Linda on

    As usual, your post has good timing with my life. I have been going through a little lapse in confidence. When I get in this mindset, I act like a beginning writer with zero confidence, not like a writer with over two decades of experience. It’s amazing how quickly I can slip into a negative space. Just before I was closing up shop on Wednesday afternoon I got a email from an editor thanking me for the consistent quality of my work for this pubication in 2011. He said he was especially happy because he knew he never, ever had to worry about me not turning in a good story. Man, I needed to hear that! But you know what, somehow I need to hear it from myself too!

    Yesterday I was visting my elderly Dad for Thanksgiving and he had two old clips of mine I’d forgotten about. One was 45 inch feature about Hurricane Katrina’s impact on one family. The other was a first person account of being smack dab in the middle of a tornado in 2006 and getting to survivors before the first responders. (I was the editor of a small town paper at the time.) I read both articles over and over.

    I love your notebook idea. I think I’ll create a scrapbook on the computer. Thanks Carol for adding more confirmation and support.

    • Carol Tice on

      My pleasure! I think most writers could really stand to take a little more time appreciating their body of work, and a little less time running themselves down.

  6. Ruth - Freelance Writing Blog on

    The best credit comes in the form of a paycheck, in my opinion. I rarely receive public acknowledgement for my work (corporate communications materials aren’t going to name the freelance copywriter behind the content), but I don’t mind. As long as I am being well paid, and my clients keep coming back, that’s all the credit that I need :-).

  7. Emily McIntyre on

    What a really great post, Carol! It is hard to remember in the slurry of the latest rejection letter that I am actually doing what I’ve wanted to do for years, that I’m writing well and with creativity, and that each assignment leads to another in the long term.

    Thanks for your encouragement.

  8. Madeleine Kolb on

    Great advice and similar to some broader advice I gave my daughter in a blog post entitled “Open Letter to my Daughter on Turning 30. Under the heading of Records Retention, I advised her to keep

    “…work records—not only information about each job with the title, description, supervisors, contact information—but also every document you get back with comments on it, such as “Good job” or “Excellent work,” or whatever. Also every award (monetary or otherwise), bonus, promotion, performance review, and so on. This stuff is useful because—as time goes by—you won’t remember all the details, and, frankly, sometimes you may need a reminder of all the kudos you’ve gotten.”

  9. Mac on

    I am an amateur freelance writer. I never got an idea of creating a portfolio. Thanks for the ideas and tips. I am confident about my work and feel a bit depressed when some one does not like it. But, then I think everyone has their own point of view. Persistence is what one needs in any field.

  10. Steve on

    Freelance writing is all about discovering your skills. My friend who is a freelance writer used to get demotivated when any client used to comment on her writing. I asked her to respect her work and change the work according to client’s needs. Self confidence is what you need.

  11. John T. on

    You are very right. There are not all who will love your writing but as a freelance writer you must learn to love your writing. With each feedback you need to grow and take feedback positively. I think this is the main point for all freelancers.

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