Freelance Writers: Do You Have the Writing Chops for This?

Carol Tice

Can you write well enough to be a freelance writer? Makealivingwriting.comDo you wonder whether your writing makes the grade? Is it creative, compelling, unique, and strong enough for you to use your craft to earn a good living?

These are questions I hear a lot in the Blast-Off Class I teach with Linda Formichelli. They often come from writers who’re looking to move up from content mills, or land their first print-magazine article assignment. Writers make comments to me like:

“I’m just not sure my writing is worth $1 a word.”

“I don’t know if my writing is good enough to write for a national magazine.”

“I’ve written for small businesses, but I don’t know if I’m ready to write for a big company.”

So today, we tackle the big question:

How good is your writing?

You might be wondering how I’m going to answer this question without reading writing samples from each of my thousands of individual blog readers.

But I can tell already.

Your writing is good. It’s good enough earn a living.

I have mentored dozens and dozens of people now, both one on one and through the group Blast-Off class. And I have never, ever found that what I needed to do was sit a writer down and have a conversation that goes like this:

“About your writing…it just isn’t any good. You’re not going to be able to make a living as writer.”

In my experience, everyone who is possessed with a burning urge to make a living as a writer practices their writing a lot. You get better and better at it…and you write well enough to do it for a living.

Here’s how you can tell:

Go down to your local chamber and pick up all the brochures. Take them home and read them.

Some of them totally suck, don’t they?

You can write better than that.

Pick up a stack of magazines in the library and read them.

Some of the articles are wonderful, but some are less enthralling, aren’t they?

You can write better than that.

The reality of what it takes to write for pay

The truth is, there are a lot of mediocre writers making a full-time living from writing. It won’t be hard to write better than they do.

No matter what your writing style and ability level, you can find clients who think your writing is perfect for their needs.

Also, other clients who think you suck.

I still occasionally get an editor who just doesn’t seem to like what I write.

Why are some writers earning well and others aren’t? Often, it’s not so much the quality of the writing.

It’s like the old joke about two campers in the woods who’re confronted by a bear and start to run away.

You don’t have to be faster than the bear — just faster than the other guy.

You don’t have to be the best writer ever. Just a good one, who’s better than some other ones.

So what makes the difference in which writers make a living and which don’t?

It’s all about marketing

Writers who aggressively market their business earn well and have lots of clients.

Those that don’t market their business, don’t.

It’s really that simple.

Do you worry about whether your writing is good enough? Leave your questions and comments below.

Your writing is good enough…but is your marketing?

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