business of freelancing

Do this before you finish for the year

By December 18, 2019 29 Comments

If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling as though you are limping to the end of 2019. In fact, I debated if I would even write blog posts for the next couple of weeks because I figured that most freelancers are ready to switch off for the year. But, I’ve been writing this blog for three full years and I haven’t missed a weekly post in all that time, so I wasn’t about to start now. But this post is short and sweet. I promise.

How to finish the year on the right note

I don’t know about you, but at this time of the year, I’m just trying to find the motivation to finish off articles and not spend hours daydreaming about time by the pool.

I know that must be weird for my readers in the Northern Hemisphere, but my part of the world is baking right now.

Around about this time in previous years I’ve done a review of the year that was, and it’s always been helpful.

But this year I feel exhausted.

I’ve done so much travel, and despite only working three or so days a week, I think I’ve invoiced for around $100K again.

(I’ll post my yearly figures in my first January post).

I feel so grateful that I can earn a good living as a freelance writer, but being a solo-entrepreneur is tiring – you’re pitching, hustling, emailing, talking, interviewing, networking (or not), invoicing, following up, writing, accounting, procrastinating – you get the drift.

And while it’s exhilarating knowing that you’re responsible for every single cent in your bank account, it’s also tiring.

So at the end of 2019, please do this one thing for me.

Celebrate your wins

I know, I know.

Everyone says this, but how many of us actually do it?

Please.

Take a few minutes to celebrate your wins.

Whatever they are.

Maybe it was getting up the nerve to talk to an editor over the phone, approaching another writer to ask for help, pitching a new publication, hitting an income target, or frankly, maybe your win was the fact that you stuck with freelancing.

Big or small, it doesn’t matter.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel down that we’re not getting enough commissions, not making enough money, not getting replies from editors.

And those things suck.

But before the year is out please write down (you can even do it in the comments here if you want to share – I’d love that) some or all of your wins.

Promise?

29 Comments

  • Michaela says:

    I hear you re limping to the end. I don’t think this time of year agrees with me. Last year I got hit by a car and this year I’ve been hit with a sinus infection. I am actually not sure which one is more painful!!
    In the spirit of sharing a #win, I pitched to a new magazine and the editor asked me to write on spec as we hadn’t worked together before. I really wanted in so I agreed to it and filed my piece a couple of weeks ago. The editor’s response was gold: “You have nailed the tone and style of our mag perfectly.” And, my piece was commissioned! Thanks for all your inspiration and tips here x

    • lindyalexander says:

      This makes me so happy Michaela (not the part about the car or sinus infection), but your #win. What a wonderful response from the editor (clearly in response to a wonderful article by you). Such a lovely way to professionally end the year. Hope your sinuses clear up soon and you get to enjoy a glass or two of bubbly over the holidays. Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting on my posts xx

    • One win was hiring a writing coach (oh hey, that’s you!), Another is taking a course on pitching that has put money in the bank and resulted in replies from nearly every pitch I’ve sent since then. Most are rejections, but I’m just so happy to be hearing back. And my biggest is finally reaching the pageview requirement for my blog to be accepted to an ad network.

      • lindyalexander says:

        Jen! How good is that? Sounds like you’ve been so proactive in seeking the support you need and then putting it into action. Love that you’ve reached the page view requirement for your blog – go you! And I reckon my readers would love to hear what you think has changed about your pitches so that you’re now getting regular responses from editors – if you’re happy to share?

        • Helen Iatrou says:

          Hi Jen,
          Hi Lindy,
          That’s great news! I’d actually love to know which pitching course you took, Jen, if you don’t mind sharing it.
          Cheers,
          Helen

          • Jennifer says:

            Hi! Sorry for the very delayed reply, I hadn’t seen this until Lindy pointed them out! The course I took was through Dream of Travel Writing. They offered a virtual workshop for the Pitchapalooza and Ideafest workshops that they usually offer in person in New York. Not sure if they plan to do the again, but it was super helpful!

      • Bron Willis says:

        Thanks Lindy and well done for getting through another great year!
        I have a question for Jen Sotolongo. Can you tell me what the pitching course was that you did? An area I definitely need help with! Thanks! Bron

  • Fiona says:

    I just said the same thing today about limping to the end of the year.
    Thank you for your posts, I’ve really enjoyed them & learnt a lot from you this year πŸ™πŸ»

  • K. Wright says:

    I started freelancing full-time in April this year and I agree, I am exhausted. I thought I might push through this week and send a few more LOIs but my brain is fried. I have had a lot of big wins this year so I’m trying to keep that in mind and not get down on myself since I tend to be overly ambitious. I had my first byline in The New York Times (an amazing and totally unexpected occurrence), landed several writing assignments paying $1/word, networked my tail off, and made several spectacular freelance writer friends. Professionally it’s been a great year but I’m definitely out of gas and ready to regroup. I hope you get some well-deserved rest too!

    • lindyalexander says:

      My goodness, it sounds like you’ve had a spectacular year! Congratulations on all those huge achievements AND for recognising that your tank is nearly empty and you need to re-fuel. All the best for a restful holiday season and incredible 2020.

  • Karen says:

    Definitely feeling the limp! Thanks for this post, I felt like you were talking right to me. One of my biggest wins this year was getting myself the opportunity to interview an artist I’ve admired for years and years. Unlike most of my interviews, which are done over the phone or email, she offered to do the interview in person (which made me nervous and sent me shopping for an appropriate outfit, but was well worth it). Meeting her has been the highlight of my (brief) freelance writing career!

    • lindyalexander says:

      I love this Karen. What a thrill for you to meet her in person. I’m sure you did a beautiful job with the interview and the article too. Sometimes when we take the leap and do scary things, they turn out okay (and we even get a new outfit in the process!)

  • Robyn Lang says:

    My goal is to get over my morbid fear of pitching! I feel like I am writing some good stuff for my own blog but I’m too timid to take that next step. So that is my aim for 2020 to make pitching REAL!

    • lindyalexander says:

      Oh Robyn, I hear you. It can be scary when you start pitching. I do think it’s like anything – that the more you do, the less of a big deal it is. What do you think is holding you back?

      • Robyn Lang says:

        Self-doubt and loathing! LOL. The self-doubt bit definitely. In the back of my head, it’s always “Will anyone besides my mum read this?” I have done a few courses through AWC (Including the Freelance Writing one) and the NSW Writers Centre (travel writing, science freelancers) etc.

        I know in theory what to do and your site has been very helpful. I guess the crux of it is knowing who to pitch to in terms of the best match for what I am writing.

        • lindyalexander says:

          I think it’s really easy (and tempting) to jump from ‘I’ve got an idea’ to immediately talking ourselves out of it. And I’m definitely someone who likes to do courses and feel like I know all the theory before doing anything, but unfortunately knowing all the theory doesn’t always help getting pitches out there.
          If you think it would help, please feel free to email me a couple of your ideas and possible places you’re thinking about pitching and I can give you some feedback. My email is : lindy (at) lindyalexander.net
          Would that help with the self-doubt?

    • Christine says:

      Go on, Robyn – do it! The worse thing that can happen is they ignore you – which isn’t all that bad in the scheme of life. And they may say yes! I started this year – got some nil responses but got some yeses too.

  • JoAnna says:

    Here are some of my wins: Getting “passive” work with several clients (clients were referred to me from my colleagues); having steady, monthly work from long-term clients; clients who are super happy with my work!

  • Christine says:

    Look at all these great wins here! I’ve had a good year as I venture out into a new world of travel and lifestyle writing, now you’ve urged me to look back (thank you). I’ve had nine stories accepted (with only one non-paid as a trial) and including some at a major travel mag. I’ve also done a famil with a tourism board and just yesterday I’ve confirmed a trip with a luxury travel provider to Africa! Over the moon about the last one. Have also had lots of nos and too many people not even responding, but that’s life.. Have appreciated your info, advice and honesty over the year, Lindy as I entered into something new in my life. So, thanks and Happy Christmas!

    • lindyalexander says:

      I had such a smile on my face as I read your comment Christine. Talk about serious wins. I love that your wins took the majority of the space in your comment and the ‘nos and non response’ part was a short sentence – I think that’s the right balance πŸ™‚ Thanks for your lovely comment and let us know how you go on that trip to Africa – sounds fab and well deserved.

  • Lauren says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts! Keep ’em coming, please. πŸ™‚
    Love this focus- celebrate the positive, instead off focusing on what’s next.
    My wins:
    Starting in September this year-Officially dedicating 25-30hrs a week to freelance writing a week and creating a routine
    Landing a contract writing gig for a couple months (ended in December and feel like I’m back at square one but I know I gained experience…now figuring out next steps. Getting deposits was such an amazing feeling)
    Having my very pitch accepted for a big publication for a personal essay. (After a year of pitching off and on many stories and essays to various publications).

    • lindyalexander says:

      Thank you Lauren! Fabulous to read your wins – I think creating a routine is a big one and it sounds like it has paid off for you. I don’t think you’d be back at square one after your gig – I’m sure you learnt loads of valuable skills and made lots of contacts? I guess the challenge for you now is to leverage them and let existing or potential clients/editors know these new skills/abilities you have! And well done on your personal essay – that’s amazing.

  • Helen Iatrou says:

    Hi Lindy,
    Congrats on another super successful year while only working around three days a week – that’s amazing!
    Echoing the sentiments of other writers here, your advice and words of encouragement – via the blog – were among those I have found the most useful and actually remembered!
    December marked my first year as a f/t freelance writer, focusing mostly on travel and lifestyle, and, while my income didn’t match what I earned in my last (ever) full-time post, I did manage to reel in some meaty assignments for a major UK daily that has led to more work. I also completed several projects for a small-scale luxury hotel client whom I love (doesn’t that make a world of difference?) and is happy to pay relatively well.
    Meanwhile, my thoughts are with our beautiful country as I watch so many parts of it burn from afar. It breaks my heart.
    Wishing you a healthy, happy and inspired 2020!

    • lindyalexander says:

      Hi Helen,
      Thanks so much for your lovely words and congratulations on your first full time year as a freelance writer. It sounds like you had some great gigs in 2019, and it’s wonderful when you find a good client who is good to work with and who pays well.
      And yes, the bushfires are devastating. I think this is now the reality of the climate disaster and summer in Australia and it’s catastrophic. I do feel so heartened by the kindness people are showing and all the fundraising efforts.
      Thanks for your comment and let us know how you go in 2020.

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