Use This Mind-Bending Process Goal to Win More Writing Jobs


Get Writing Jobs with This Mind-Bending Strategy. Makealivingwriting.comEver wonder if there’s a superpower to help you find great writing jobs?

You know, like some kind of mind-reading technique to help you know what editors want.

Or some sophisticated computer program that learns rapidly and starts writing pitches to help you land more writing jobs. That would be nice, right?

Well, either one would also be the easy way out. And you’re not going to learn anything about the business and craft of freelance writing if you do it that way.

So if you’re struggling to find writing jobs and clients that pay well, what should you do?

Forget everything you might know about left-side brain logic and the most practical path to build your freelance writing business.

That’s what I did when I stumbled across a mind-bending process that really works. It took a little while to wrap my head around the idea.

Now I’m booking more work, landing more long-term clients, getting better-paying writing jobs. And this year is going to be even better.

What’s the mind-bending process to get more writing jobs? Here’s what you need to know:

The universal freelance trigger for ice cream cravings

When I received my first rejection letter, all I wanted to do was wallow in self-doubt with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Been there, done that? It’s kind of a universal trigger for freelance writers.

You put your heart and soul into writing the perfect letter of introduction, pitch, or query letter. Then you hear nothing but crickets. Or after a long wait, you get a generic email or form letter in the mail, that says your pitch was rejected.

It’s time to retrain your brain

When you’re new to pitching editors and marketing managers to land freelance writing jobs, it’s easy to second guess yourself. You’re staring at the e-mail or reading that rejection letter thinking:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • I have no business even calling myself a writer.
  • I’ll never be able to do this.

OK, so maybe I took those first rejection letters harder than most. It was bad. But you can turn it around if you’re willing to adopt an out-there mindset shift. Rejection doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can use it to transform your freelance career and get more writing jobs.

Wrap your mind around this mind-bending idea

There’s a common misconception that goes along with rejection that needs to be clarified. Instead of feeling totally defeated when an editor or marketing director rejects your pitch, remember this:

Rejection does not equal failure.”

I repeat, rejection does not equal failure.

You are not the only one receiving a “Thanks, but no thanks” email. We all get them.

Rejections are a part of every writer’s life. It doesn’t matter what you write, how well you write, or anything else.

If you’ve been a freelance writer for a day or a lifetime, rejections come with the territory.

Instead of fearing them, it’s time to change your mind about rejections, and use rejections to get more writing jobs. How do you do that?

  • Stop allowing the fear of rejection from holding you back.
  • Write a query letter or letter of introduction. Send it off.
  • Don’t get hung up on rejection. Keep pitching until you’re fully booked.

Reasons a pitch is rejected…

Before you start second-guessing yourself, recognize there are many reasons a pitch is rejected (and it’s usually not your idea or writing skills) like:

  • The publisher nixed the idea, even though the editor liked it
  • The query wasn’t clear to the editor/marketing director
  • It didn’t make it to the right decision maker at the company/publication
  • Your pitch email was deleted in error on a chaotic day for an editor

The list of reasons for a rejection is endless. Assume nothing. Take rejection in stride. And then make this one crazy move…

Set a rejection goal to get more writing jobs

By aiming for rejections, the business of pitching becomes a kind of game. Ask yourself this question: How many more rejections do you need to reach your goal?

If you’ve been struggling to get freelance writing jobs, you probably haven’t thought of those rejection letters this way. I know I didn’t. I used to keep a spoon and a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s on hand just for the occasion. But not any more.

Pick a rejection goal. For example, 10 rejections a week. Or 50 rejections a month. It’s a different way of thinking. But it works. It’s a process goal that will force you to send out more LOIs and more query letters. Set a goal, and get to work.

By the time you hit 100 rejections, or whatever your goal is, you’ll be a better writer. You’ll have more confidence in your skills to pitch ideas. And the more you send out, the higher your chances of getting more writing jobs to help you move up and earn more.

My rejection journey to more freelance writing jobs

Last year I set a personal pitch goal. A pretty wimpy one, in my opinion. Send out 90 pitches. I aimed for 90 winning pitches, not 90 rejections. Of those 90 pitches, 47 were accepted, and nine grew into repeat clients.

Not bad, right? Imagine how much better I could’ve done, had I really challenged myself. In truth, by aiming for pitches instead of rejections, I grew bored partway through the year and stopped before hitting a full hundred.

There’s nothing wrong with a pitch goal. But I challenge you to set a rejection goal this year. It’s a great way to force yourself to work harder, put yourself out there more, and make the odds of landing more writing jobs a lot better for yourself.

Here’s another way to look at this mind-bending idea. If you get 100 rejections this year, how many writing jobs will that translate to. There’s only one way to find out. Ready? Let’s do this.

Have you used rejection to get more writing jobs? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

Beth Casey is a B2B writer living in Maine. She writes about business, digital marketing, health, and technology
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  1. Peter Hubinsky

    Yes. This is point on. The fact of the matter is that at a certain point, it is the lack of marketing that holds us back. And marketing does not take a million hours. It can be done in a reasonable amount of time, like 5 email queries a day M-F for a month. You would get your clients if you did that. You could repeat this when work ran thin. But the number one thing holding back freelance writers is FEAR. If not rejection itself, it’s that their plan won’t work. Something. Overcome fear and do consistent high-quality marketing and you will not fail.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Peter,

      I agree. Marketing as 100% crucial, but so is networking. I just had a casual conversation with two people today who accepted my business card for further consideration. You never know where you might meet your next client. Always be marketing and networking.

    • Barb

      Or, perhaps, Peter, it is the fear that your plan WILL work and then you are faced with having deliver the goods. And the goods won’t be good enough…ugh…

      • Beth Casey

        Hi Barb,

        I can relate to that fear. That’s one of the biggest fears that used to hold me back – the fear of not being able to write up to expectations. However, what I’ve learned is that sometimes you’ve got to grab the bull, or the pen, or the whole computer by the horns and take a chance and make a leap of faith.

        If you always play it safe, you will never know how far you could’ve gone. It’s only by taking chances that you have the best chance of reaching your full potential. I know what you might say – what if I really do fail? What if I flop? What if I completely fall on my face? My response is this, no one is perfect. It does occasionally happen to many of us. The difference between success and true failure, though, is whether you give up or get up and try again. Best wishes!

  2. Erik

    I just got my first rejection letter and fortunately, I had a positive, healthy response: “people at companies take me seriously enough to do the courtesy of telling me no.”
    It helped that there was nothing wrong with my pitch; they just weren’t taking guest posts right now.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Erik,

      That’s awesome to hear! Congratulations. I’ll never forget my first rejection letter. It came from a magazine – back when we used snail mail to submit. The editor took the time to write me a letter to let me know that although he enjoyed my submission, it didn’t fit in with what they published and he encouraged me to try again after reviewing the magazine. It was a nice way of saying, “You write well, but failed to research our magazine well enough to understand what we publish. Please have another look and try again.” Keep, pitching, Erik, and you’ll get there.

  3. Judith Norris

    Not yet. But you gave me some terrific ideas to consider. Thanks!

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Judith,

      I’m glad you have some ideas to think about. Wishing you much luck and success in 2019!

  4. Jeremy K. Delancy

    I listened to the audiobook Rejection Proof by Jia Jang (he also has a TED talk) and he says that rejection is really just an opinion that sometimes can be changed. My motivation is to buy something after receiving a set number of rejections. I need to get 16 more rejections before getting an expansion pack for my Destiny videogame. Hopefully, I’ll get at least one client before I reach that number.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Jeremy, That’s an interesting goal and certainly a great motivator. I never would’ve considered adding in a reward system. Thanks for the info!

  5. Cassie Journigan

    Interesting way to approach the business of writing. If we take this advice, we may be willing to take more chances and pitch ideas that we would otherwise reject. And we might hit it with something that strikes an editor as being just right.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Cassie,

      Exactly! In my opinion, pitching is a numbers game, kind of like sales are to a salesperson. The more rejections you get, the closer you are to an acceptance. 🙂

  6. Marc Hayot

    It’s funny that you have been talking about rejections because I received one on Sunday that kind of shook me.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Marc,

      Rejections can sometimes be jolting for sure. I used to take them personally until I realized that they really aren’t and I just needed to view them from a different perspective.

  7. David Throop

    HI Beth,
    Thanks for the reminder. I work as a freelance writer and Realtor (though I like the two to be separate endeavors) and your post is very similar to what I have done as a Realtor.

    The more I reach out, the more I get rejected, and yet, the better the chances I have for success.

    It’s a nice reminder for all of us that being creative is not mutually exclusive of selling. I think even someone like Stephen King, Bob Bly, or even Carol Tice have to sell their services.

    The timing of this article is kismet, as I’ve been working on outreach in both forums since the start of February. Still looking for some success, but I’ll keep plugging along!

    • Beth Casey

      Hi David,
      I’m glad to hear that you’re plugging away at both opportunities. That’s fantastic! It’s also true that the theory behind pitching and rejections doesn’t extend just to sales alone, but can be applied to many other areas. Like sales, I see rejections and pitching as a kind of numbers game. You will eventually get a “Yes.” It’s just that you have to get through ‘X’ “No, thank you” emails first. How many that ‘X’ equals will vary by person, niche, and tactic. So, keep plugging away and you will reach your goal. It’s only when we give up on something that our goals lag behind and that sad part is that moment when some give up, they don’t realize that, too often, the “Yes” was right around the corner. Never give up.

  8. Jacqueline

    If I could turn back the hands of time, I’d learn this first…

    “…If you’ve been a freelance writer for a day or a lifetime, rejections come with the territory.”

    Where there’s an offer (freelance writing), it would be folly to expect acceptance all the time…this works in every life situation.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Jacqueline,

      That’s exactly right. Even the top writers get rejections. It comes with the territory.

  9. Andreia Esteves

    Thank you so much for this post! CHanging your mindset is really powerful 🙂

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Andreia,

      Yes, having a different mindset is a very powerful thing indeed. Change is inevitable in life. So, too, must be our ability to adapt and see things with a different perspective because doing so will allow us to further grow.

  10. Nicholas

    Rejection is one factor every freelance writer struggle to come by. Your points on why and how freelance writers should set rejection goal is very interesting. Thanks for this post.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Nicholas,

      Thank you for the comment. You’re right. Rejection is something that we all struggle with and sometimes we must get a little creative to get past them and move forward.

    • Beth Casey

      Hi Nicholas,

      Yes, I agree. Every writer, regardless of where they are in their career, faces rejection. Absolutely. Creating a rejection goal just puts a different spin on how we view rejections and can also make the task of pitching more interesting. Thank you for the comment.

  11. Judith Norris

    Hi Beth,

    Thank you for the reminder that rejection happens to everyone all the time. Your suggestions on good ways to accept rejection and profit from it are helpful and priceless.

    My Private Piano Lessons business for over twenty years has taught me many things. Not being concerned when a client doesn’t choose to learn with me. There are as many reasons as there are people who have them.

    Transitioning to Freelance Writing is a new venture for me. Now I need to apply the same principles of rejection acceptance already learned to my writing pitches. It somehow seems to not be the same thing. But it is.

    Best Ever


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