Successful freelance writers have these traits…

It’s one thing to have an interest in and talent for writing, it’s another thing to be a successful freelance writer. In some ways, freelance writing can be compared to acting – there are lots of “auditions,” some memorable projects, and others that are taken for the sake of financial necessity. It is, indeed, a competitive world, though success isn’t as difficult to come by as one might think, provided freelance writers know how to develop and display certain character traits.


Some people might look at this word and immediately associate it with the word, “humiliation.” Humiliation is a source of embarrassment, while humility is a lack of pretentiousness. However, it’s definitely true that pretentiousness can lead to embarrassment!

So, basically, freelance writers can’t assume that just because they have an advanced degree from a prestigious school, or have been published, that they can adopt the “Do you know who I am?!” attitude at any time in their careers. Their self-importance might become so all-consuming that they pass up more projects than they take. This lack of productivity surely can’t result in success.

Optimistic realism

It’s true that many freelance writing jobs don’t pay as well as they should. Unfortunately, it’s this “some money is better than no money” reasoning that often results in freelance writers settling for far less than they deserve. No freelance writer should be toiling away, keyboard constantly clicking, and still only make several dollars an hour.

The successful freelance writer is the one who acknowledges the flaws in the freelancing system and is ever-vigilant in evaluating good versus bad freelance writing opportunities. Optimism is key, too: newer freelance writers will have to accept lower-paying jobs in the beginning until they build up their portfolio/experience.  Freelance writers with years of experience might experience time gaps between projects. Regardless, keeping an upbeat outlook will reflect well in dealings with current and potential clients.


To be successful as a freelance writer, it’s important to stay current and competent. For example, many freelance writing projects require knowledge of various style guides, whether they’re the standard ones like AP or Chicago, or a company’s in-house style guide – and the rules within these guides are subject to change. So, freelance writers need to be able to learn and implement changes when they’re called upon to do so.


Sometimes, freelance writers find one company and stick with them and them only, no matter how low-paying the work is, or how tedious the project. Success is not found through stagnation. What’s here today could be gone tomorrow, so it’s important to regularly look for other freelance writing opportunities to either apply for, or make note of. The successful freelancer, whether a newbie or a seasoned professional, should always keep their eyes on the horizon.

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