By Issa Mirandilla-
Freelance writing is a balancing act. If you take on too much work, you burn out. If you take on too little work, you risk a crater-sized hole in your bank account.
What counts as “just enough work” or “just enough income” varies from one freelance writer to another, but it’s easier to find that sweet spot in the middle when you:
You don’t have to pitch articles every day (though if that works for you, by all means go for it). Pitch every other day, or once a week, as long as you don’t sacrifice the quality of your pitches, but pitch regularly. The more often you pitch, the better your chance of landing assignments with publications like the ones listed on “Who Pays Writers?” http://whopayswriters.com
Take at Least One Light But Regular Gig
The problem with high-paying assignments, like those from magazines and big-name corporations, is that they’re usually temporary. You need something to tide you over in-between these assignments, which is where the light-but-regular-gig comes in. (For starters, check out the gigs advertised at Blog Writers Wanted.) http://blogwriterswanted.com
Think of this extra gig as a part-time job. It might pay lower than what you’re comfortable with, but at least you’ll have pocket money. Besides, if the gig involves tasks like social media promotion and image editing, you can expand your existing skill set, which puts you in a good position to haggle for higher rates in the future.
A word of warning, though: Don’t stay too long in these kinds of jobs. You might fall into the habit of churning out only easy articles, leaving you with little time and energy to craft more difficult, more lucrative, pieces. If a better opportunity comes along, and the extra gig is becoming more of a burden than it’s worth, drop it as soon and as professionally as you can.
Use the 45-15 Rule
To better handle these tasks, create a schedule. You need time to pitch, time to write those $1-a-word assignments, and time for your extra gig. Sounds like a lot to squeeze into a day, right?
Not if you allocate 15 minutes of rest for every 45 minutes of work. This method keeps your energy levels stable throughout the day, no matter how many hours you work. The 45-15 rule helps you accomplish and earn more, without sucking every last bit of energy out of you.
Make It a Habit to Freewrite
Freewriting may not be directly related to income, but it can spell the difference between five articles a month and five articles a week. Before you write any paid article, jot down as many ideas as you can about that article without opening Google and without stopping to check whether your ideas make any sense. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with, and how fast you’ll be able to write the final product.
“Feast and famine” doesn’t have to be your awkward bedfellow. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to a more fruitful and less stressful writing career.
BIO: Issa Mirandilla has plenty to say about freelancing, writing, marketing, and other business-related topics. Drop her a line on Twitter (@issamirandilla), or visit her website http://issamirandilla.com