After spending a lot of time launching a career as a freelance writer, my experience has taught me a lot. I've learned from other people, and from my own victories and failures. Through it all I believe that I have discovered the secret to becoming a successful freelance writer. Are your ready for it? The secret, the one key that will get you to success, the essential element: hard work. That's sort of disappointing, isn't it? After all, there must be some magic strategy, or some quick side step that will bring instant success. In my experience, that's just not true.
Hard work isn't glamorous, but in freelancing as well as in most types of careers, it is the most rewarding. You've got to be willing to put in the time; day after day, month after month, year after year. It takes a lot of dedication to gain experience, develop your craft, and meet the right people to work with along the way.
You've got to knock on thousands of doors, even if only a few of them open. You've got to be willing to go out there and pound the pavement with the hope of catching a break. Sometimes you have to write for less than you're worth just to get a foothold with a client or be able to add that marquee piece to your portfolio. It's hard work. It's unpredictable, and there are a lot of peaks and valleys. I would't recommend it for everyone. But this much is certain; if you are willing to put in the work, you will make it.
It starts with a willingness to learn. If you are willing to learn how to run your own business, how to be a better writer, and how to meet and manage clients, you can do it. If you put your nose to the grindstone and write with a willingness to put in the thankless hours that no one sees, it's inevitable that you'll start to get noticed.
Being a successful freelance writer might have a different meaning for everyone. For some it might mean simply earning enough to write full time, for others it might mean making a certain dollar figure, or for others it might mean having the authority to write for a very specific clientele. Whatever success means to you, there's no way around working hard.