Need some writing inspiration during the holidays?
It’s a crazy time of year for a lot of freelance writers.
You’re hustling to work ahead. You’re thinking about how to move up and earn more in 2020. Maybe you’re feeling a little worn out since the holiday march began last month.
Sound familiar? How about a little writing inspiration to give you a boost during the holidays?
Believe it or not, you can still connect with clients and prospects during the holidays, land assignments, get paid well, and enjoy your work.
It happens all the time. Editors respond to queries and pitches during the holidays. A client asks for a rush job and pays extra. Or by taking some time off, your mind works out a smart way to earn more.
What’s your best or most unusual gig as a freelance writer during the holidays?
Here’s a little writing inspiration, a few laughs, and reminders of what’s possible. Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy…
The business of being a freelance writer during the holidays
What’s your best story about freelancing during the holidays?
First, the non-writing related stories…
- Sample the candy. Freelance writer Mary Rosewood once sampled everything See’s Candy sells during the holidays.
- Wake up…Happy New Year! When writer Diane Helentjaris was a medical intern, she walked through the pediatrics unit with the chief medical officer and woke up all the kids to wish them a Happy New Year.
- Miser or merry? Journalist Melinda Rizzo once received advance tickets to see a local theater performance of A Christmas Carol, which included a memorable scene with the Ghost of Jacob Marley rising up from a trap door in the floor of that stage.
- Chanukah kickoff. And then there’s kicking off the first night of the holidays with a Chanukah parody video, recommended by Carol Tice.
We also heard from freelance writers about landing assignments, getting ahead, and making extra money during the holidays…
Holiday hustle pays off with $1,500 assignment
Carol Tice carved out a niche as a business reporter when she worked for the Puget Sound Business Journal. It paved the way to help her create Make a Living Writing, and land freelance assignments like this one during the holidays.
“I used to write for a Nation’s Restaurant News special section that comes out mid-January, where you had to talk to restaurant owners during one of their busiest seasons,” says Tice. “But it was a fairly reliable $1,500 or so to start the year!”
‘Bah humbug’ Upwork: It’s time for better-paying freelance work
What if you were getting paid a pittance and working yourself to the bone during the holidays like the Charles Dickens Jacob Marley?
That’s where freelance writer Beth Casey found herself during the holidays a year ago, and it wasn’t pretty. At first, it was 500-word articles for a dollar. She moved up to getting paid $50 to $75.
And then she gave herself a gift that will change everything.
“I stopped searching for jobs on Upwork this year,” says Casey. “I’m currently finishing out the last two contracts and then I’m outta there!”
Now she’s writing for clients on ClearVoice, earning $110 to $300 per assignment, and a steady stream of work.
“This is one more step in the right direction for me.,” says Casey. “I know it’ll only get better from here.”
The $20,000 holiday-rush assignment
“I got a $20,000 SEO content writing project for an education nonprofit a couple years ago,” says freelance writer Maddie Osman. “I had three months to use up that budget to produce the long-form content deliverables they hired me for.”
The challenge? This time frame encompassed every major winter holiday…Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
What would you do with an assignment like that during the holidays? Osman worked like crazy to get the work done, in between celebrating the holidays.
“Those months involved some of my longest work days as a freelancer,” says Osman. “But I made it my mission to make this client happy with their decision to work with me and executed the full contract by the first few days of January.”
Long-term marketing efforts make the holidays merry
A few days after Thanksgiving, Lori DeMilto got one of those unexpected emails.
It was from an editor she pitched about a year ago. No response…nothing…until now.
The editor asked DeMilto to write four articles about health-related topics for consumers. The perfect niche assignment. DeMilto delivered, landed more work and a long-term client.
If you want to give yourself a gift as a freelance writer, keep marketing, follow up, and leverage online search and networking opportunities.
“More clients will hire you, if you develop a client-focused LinkedIn profile and website, build a strong network, and do outreach to clients throughout the year,” says DeMilto.
The chill-out freelance assignment for Make a Living Writing
“One of my most unusual and memorable holiday freelance stories involved a piece for Make a Living Writing,” says freelancer Maria Veres.
Here’s the scoop. One late December, she went to the library to work so her family wouldn’t bug her.
The task: Verify 150+ links in a monster list of writing jobs. It took longer than she thought.
“By the time I left, it was pitch dark and there was ice on my car,” says Veres. “Northerners can laugh all they want, but Oklahoma is the land of winter weather wimps. And I’m the queen wimp.”
After shivering and panicking for awhile, Veres realized two things:
- There was nothing falling from the sky anymore, and the ground wasn’t even very slippery.
- There was at least a 50 percent chance she would make it home alive.
Unprepared for icy conditions, Veres used her credit card, a pocket comb, and her car keys to try and clear the windshield.
“I made the drive home without any slipping or sliding,” says Veres. “And I survived to turn in my article on time.”
Feast on freelance success during the holidays
Just about every freelance writer has a family member or friend who raises an eyebrow at writing for a living. Right?
It can come up in conversation during the holidays. One Thanksgiving, Kaitlin Morrison served up a little freelance success at the dinner table. Here’s what happened:
First, she replied to a post from the Junk-Free Job Board inside the Freelance Writers Den. She landed an assignment to write a blog post, along with $100 worth of desserts including a cheesecake, chocolates, for photos to go with the post. (Editor’s note: The Freelance Writers Den no longer includes a job board because so few jobs met our minimum requirements.)
“After the project, I served the food at my Thanksgiving,” says Morrison. “And it helped to finally convince the family that I was a real freelance writer.”
Celebrate the freelance life
If you’re new to freelance writing or you’ve been at it for years, the holidays can be a great time to celebrate your wins, land some well-paying work, and refocus your efforts to move up and earn more. The secret to success is simple…Keep going. Happy holidays!
What’s your best gig as a writer during the holidays? Share in the comments below.
Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.