Why You’re a Better Writer Than I Am — But I Still Earn More

Carol Tice

I’m not the greatest writer ever to pick up a pen.

In fact, I marvel at the work of more skilled writers almost daily.

I consider my husband who went to UCLA Film School to be the creative genius of the family.

I certainly feel I’m a competent writer. But I’m not outstanding.

So how do I earn six figures as a freelance writer? (Yep, happened again last year.)

How do I pull that off, when hordes of more talented writers can’t seem to keep their fridge stocked on what they make from their craft?

Here are the reasons I believe I’m an outstanding earner, even though I’m not an exceptional writer:

  • I’ve got positive vibes. I like myself, think writing is really fun, and know I have a lot to offer clients. I think prospects pick up on that.
  • I’m willing to put myself out there. When the economy went down in 2009, I learned how to market myself as a freelance writer. From scratch. I went to in-person networking events, answered online job ads, got on social media… I became a marketing machine.
  • I love to learn new stuff. When I discover an obstacle to my earning more, I climb right over it. Technology is not my strong suit, but I slogged along and learned how Twitter worked. I learned about SEO. I learned three different blogging platforms.
  • I’m kind of a dork. What can I say? I was a legal secretary for years. My dad sold life insurance. I used to think this was a shameful history, until I started making big bucks writing on legal and insurance topics. Often, these gigs are not for national magazines, but they pay the bills like you wouldn’t believe. Speaking of which…
  • I don’t need my name in lights. While a lot of writers dream of seeing their byline on the covers of glossy national newsstand magazines, I’m not hung up about where my work appears — or if my name is even on it. I’m open to both publications and businesses as clients. That flexibility keeps my income growing.
  • I can’t resist a challenge. When a client throws me an assignment about something arcane — say, actuarial forecasting — I’m delighted. I get bored if I’m writing on the same topic all the time, so I welcome writing gigs that force me to stretch.
  • I negotiate. Where most writers seem to jump at the chance to work for any rate no matter how bitty, I’m a student of the art of dealmaking. I’ve earned tens of thousands more over the years by making counter-offers and holding out for a rate I believe is fair.

What skills have helped you earn well from writing? Leave a comment and tell us about your strategies.

P.S. Here’s how you can become a high-earning writer: Get the knowledge you need to land good clients and run a successful freelance-writing business in today’s fast-changing media world. The Freelance Writers Blast Off Class — a 4-week course I teach with Renegade Writer Linda Formichelli — starts next week. (Congrats to Christen, who won a ticket to the class’s Participation level in my Friday contest, and to Jason, who won a ticket to Audit the Blastoff.)

Due to the holiday, Blast Off registration has been extended through tomorrow (Tuesday).

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