(Guest post by Carol Tice, Den Mother at the Freelance Writers Den community)
Have you ever wondered why some freelance writers earn a lot, while most barely scrape by?
It’s not that these few writers have extra IQ points. It’s not that they’re more brilliant wordsmiths.
They have something special going on, though. It makes them more productive and it finds them more clients.
To discover what it is, I want you to think back on your days as an employee. Maybe you’re still there, even. But if not, recall for me…
At Your Regular Job, Who Makes You Get Things Done?
Oh yeah — the boss.
The boss sets priorities and deadlines. You know what needs to be done by when.
The boss notices if you’re getting to work on time. If you’re doing your assignments or not.
If you don’t do your work, you know you’ll be in trouble. You stand to lose that regular paycheck.
It makes you get off your butt and do the thing that needs doing so that you meet your deadline, doesn’t it?
You want to do your job really well so you might get a raise, right?
Then There’s The Life of a Freelance Writer…
What’s different? No boss.
There is no one holding you accountable for whether you write or market or not.
Now there is only you to tell yourself to get your butt in the chair and send a dozen query letters this week. Or make 20 cold calls. Or write that article that’s due.
This works OK for a few writers. But for many, the lack of a boss creates a crisis.
There is no one to tell you to work now. So you don’t. Instead, you fold laundry or play Farmville or talk on the phone to your mom.
The days melt away, and you’re not getting enough writing or marketing done to keep the bills paid.
You know you should do more to make your freelance career happen. But it’s so easy to not do it because…no boss.
How to Create Accountability for Your Freelance Writing Career
The answer to this problem, of course, is to find a way to create a boss — a person or group of people who will hold you responsible for what you said you would do in your freelance writing career.
There are a few ways to do this. Maybe you have a writing buddy you could report to.
But I’ll tell you the most powerful way I’ve found to create accountability and keep your writing career on track:
Put It In Writing and Give It to Your Freelance Writing Community
If you are part of a community of serious freelance writers and every month you get up and tell this group of like-minded people what you plan to do in the next month, in my experience your odds of actually doing it just skyrocketed.
In my community, the Freelance Writers Den, we call them monthly weigh-ins. I find a month is a great slice of time to look at for chopping big career goals down into manageable, doable steps.
You don’t have to do 500 cold calls or write 100 queries or anything crazy. It’s just — what could I do this month to move my freelance writing career forward? Look at your schedule and your available time, and make a plan. Then, say what it is.
When writers come on the weigh-in forum and state their goals, and then they report in at the end of the month about what they got done, it’s huge. Change happens. Stuff gets done. Writers start to earn more. Simple as that.
How do you create accountability for your writing? How well has it worked for you? Tell us in the comments below.
Carol Tice helps writers grow their earnings at the Make a Living Writing blog. She’s also Den Mother at the Freelance Writers Den, the community for writers who are serious about growing their income — fast.
Get accountability. Learn what you need to raise your rates and get the support you need for your writing goals in the Freelance Writers Den. Join John Soares and Carol Tice in there now.
Note: the Freelance Writers Den closes periodically to new members. If it’s closed, you can easily get on the waiting list to be notified when it reopens.