How Rejection Can Make You a Better Freelance Writer

July 17th, 2008

rejection is a normal part of every freelance writer's life

Photo by Irina Slutsky

A Freelance Writer’s Blueprint for Handling Rejection

Since I embarked on my freelance writing career, I have experienced rejection more often than I have received acceptance. Now I have been a professional long enough and have worked with enough tough bosses that I can take criticism — including harsh criticism — and not get crushed. After 19 years of working in various offices, I now have a pretty tough skin.

However, I don’t just let rejection slide over me. I gnaw on it and suck the juices out of it. No, I’m not a masochist. I am a person who makes the most of every situation and tries to learn something from every experience, even one that’s as unpalatable as rejection. You might be surprised to know that rejection can be a positive thing in your freelancing career.

How should a freelance writer deal with rejection? Here is my own personal blueprint for handling rejection.

Expect rejection.

I’m not being a negative thinker here. All I mean is that you should accept rejection as a normal part of a freelance writer’s life. Even the best, most successful writers have been rejected at one time. Yes, including Dr. Seuss himself. Do you think you’re better than the rest of them? If you expect rejection, then you’re less likely to take it personally. Rejection will not defeat you.

Recognize and accept your disappointment.

There will be lots of times when you feel that you’ve written the perfect article for a publication, or made an irresistible bid for a project, or that you’re the perfect fit for a writing job — and yet your services were rejected. Admit it, you’re totally bummed! And it’s the perfectly healthy way to feel. Allow yourself to feel bad about it. Treat yourself to a chocolate cupcake and a latte while nursing your wounds. But don’t stay there too long. You need to move on.

Analyze what you did wrong.

Go back to the article you submitted, your bid proposal, or your application letter and resume. What could have gone wrong? Was the article not suitable to the publication you submitted it to? Was your bid too high? Perhaps the application letter had a typo? Maybe your resume does not differentiate you enough from other freelance writers, or show off your best qualities? Or maybe you did everything correctly but they simply liked somebody else. It is possible that it was not your fault.

Brainstorm ways you could do better.

Even if your rejection was probably not your fault, note how you could do better next time. Could you do more research on the target publication? Could you offer an additional service — at no added cost — that your competitors might not be able to do? Could you improve your resume so that it reflects what you do best? Would you like to test-run your article, project bid, cover letter and resume to a trusted friend and see what they think of it? You might be surprised with what you learn.

Try and try again.

Now that you have a list of ways to improve how you get new clients or writing jobs, go and do them! Test your new knowledge just to see if the little tweaks you thought of give you better results. If you think you’re too raw to expose yourself again, then try again out of curiosity: will it work this time? Remember what Lisa Simpson used to say, “I’ll keep asking because you might say yes on the 99th time”? This is how people succeed: they try until they succeed.

Rejection is a painful, humiliating experience that’s enough to undermine any professional’s self-confidence and desire to persist. But as with any form of suffering, rejection can help you become a better writer, a better freelancer, and an all-around better person.

Related website:

Rejection Collection: The Writer’s and Artist’s On-line Source for Misery, Commiseration and Inspiration

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The Cost of Starting a Freelance Writing Career

June 12th, 2008

costs of freelance writer home business

Photo by [177]

Freelancing writing is an easy and inexpensive home business for a stay at home Mom to set up. According to an article in Yahoo!, it can also be one of the most lucrative. However, many newbies may not be aware that there are start-up costs involved in putting up a freelance writing business.

If you’re thinking of launching a career as freelance writer, here’s a list of 10 items to budget for:

1. Computer, printer, home office supplies – These are basic home office equipment which you probably already have anyway. You’ll also need paper, printer ink, folders and other basic home office supplies.

2. Business name registration – If you want to use a business name other than your own, you may have to pay to have it registered. Consult your local business bureau on the procedure and costs involved.

3. Internet connection – Broadband, please. You’ll need the Internet to market yourself, find clients, do research for your articles, do research on your competitors, network with potential clients … the list is endless.

4. Website hosting and domain registration – Every freelancer needs an online portfolio to help attract clients and show off sample work (here’s mine). Don’t use a free blogging service. It doesn’t look professional and you don’t have enough control. You could also easily lose your website. I use Bluehost and so far I’ve been happy with its reasonable prices, unlimited domains, and ease of use. Caroline Middlebrook has a free E-book on setting up a WordPress site. That’s how I learned. Or you could try Yaro Starak’s video guides. If you’re absolutely clueless about putting up your own website, it might be better to hire somebody to do it for you.

5. Various insurance plans – Depending on what your government and your spouse’s employer provide, you should consider buying: life insurance; basic or extended health insurance; and, disability insurance.

6. Professional services – You’ll need the services of an accountant so you can do your taxes properly. Unless you plan to set up a corporation, you probably won’t need a lawyer. Depending on your capabilities, consider also hiring a web designer and graphic artist.

7. Marketing tools – Aside from your website, you’ll need business cards and a letterhead at the very least. Again, if you have no artistic abilities, hire a professional graphic designer to create these for you and have them printed professionally. Don’t print them at home!

8. Freelancing networks – Consider joining networks and job boards for freelancers, such as Elance. Actually, you can bid for up to 3 jobs a month for free in Elance but to enjoy the full features, you’ll need to pay a monthly fee of $9. Not bad. I’ve just joined Shelancers, a network of female freelancers. Aside from a directory listing, Shelancers also provides various resources for its members. Although I haven’t gotten a job through Shelancers yet (I’ve only been a member for a couple of days), I have already learned so much. I especially like meeting other stay at home Moms who are trying to balance family and earning an income at home. The best thing is meeting Moms who have succeeded! Besides, I’m tired of getting advice (from men, no doubt) like, “do only one thing at a time.” Don’t they know that multi-tasking is the only way Moms get everything done?

9. Training – No matter how good you already are, you need to keep learning. There are so many ways to make money at home as a freelance writer and you will have to pay to get good advice, guidance and mentoring. Also have a good dictionary, thesaurus and other reference materials.

10. Babysitting – The day will come when working during naps and after bedtime will no longer cut it. And that’s a good thing! Invest in your sanity and productivity by hiring a babysitter, even if for just a couple of hours every day. The more work you get done, the more income you’ll make.

If you’re thinking of starting a career as a freelance writer, remember to include these items in your budget. Other types of freelancing will have similar costs. It isn’t that daunting, and having all these things covered will give you peace of mind.

Related articles:

How to prepare financially for your home business

Home office productivity for Moms of young children

Countdown to being a work at home Mom

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