The 5 Most Common Problems Freelance Writers Face

So. This virtual Networking for Word Nerds thing is now a… thing. Third Tuesday of every month. You can make it a recurring event on your calendar and shit. Its existence makes me feel… productive. And happy. Because I get the chance to meet new, fabulous freelance writers every time I sign on.


Every month, I’ll be writing a post over at Brazen Careerist in order to promote these events. Here’s my latest!

The life of a freelance writer is not an easy one. There’s the constant hustle. The pressure to come up with fresh ideas that are both newsy and original. The late paychecks from delinquent clients. The ways in which you open yourself up to public criticism from everyone, including anonymous commenters who seem hell bent on crushing your very soul.

I’ve experienced it all but, when I eventually launched my own business — coaching other word nerds — I was regularly surprised by the issues that were holding them back the most.

What follows are the five most common problems that come up among my clients, and what you can do about them.

1. Fear of sending out the pitch

This one baffles me. Especially considering that the ones who mention it the most seem to have no problem generating new ideas or writing up query letters. Nay, their fears don’t lie in preparing their pitch. Rather, they let their perfectly good query letters languish in their draft email folders for weeks on end. Why? They worry they’ve made a mistake or left out a crucial bit of info. They worry that their letter is just not perfect enough to land them the assignment. They worry that — with their weak portfolio — they don’t even deserve the assignment.

Here’s the thing. While a strong portfolio, or strong connections, definitely help, you can still land an assignment if you have a strong idea and strong writing ability.

And if you don’t land the assignment (or hear back from an editor within five minutes of sending out your award-worthy query letter)? You can’t take it personally. Editors are busy and overburdened. Timing can be off. Your idea may be too evergreen for them, or a better fit for someone else. The only thing you can do to conquer your fear is to change your mindset and remember: a rejection is not the ultimate reflection of your abilities as a writer.

Interested in reading about the remaining four problems that freelance writers commonly face? You’ll find the rest of the post right here.

But before you head on over there, please do register for my latest virtual networking event on Tuesday, June 21, 7 p.m. EST!

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