Being new to freelance writing can be an overwhelming and confusing time. There seem to be too many things you need to do and almost all of them are on the same level of urgency or importance.
Do you pitch to publications or build your website first? Do you need to have business cards printed before attending a networking event? What on earth do you put on your LinkedIn profile?
The questions go on and on.
While these are all important questions, there’s really one question you need to ask yourself if you want to find success as a freelance writer.
That question is:
What’s one thing I can do today to bring me closer to my freelance writing goal?
When you think about this question, it’s really simple. It forces you to think in the now. The present. What can you do now? Not tomorrow, not next week, not when you quit your day job. Now.
This question is powerful because of the following reasons:
When you ask this question, your answer will immediately be converted into an action. It’s something you can do right that second.
You don’t need to take a course, or read a manual, or buy supplies. The only thing you need is to have an actionable idea that you can do instantly.
It can be as simple as a phone call to a friend, or the start of something more elaborate like writing a book. Both of these things you can do today. Of course, you can start a book now — but it doesn’t have to be done by the end of the day. The point is to do something, anything that will push your freelance writing goals forward.
When you make the habit of asking this question every day, you gain more focus and clarity about tasks that really matter. The confusion goes away and you are pulled back into the heart of your intentions. Suddenly, you understand that not everything is as important as you thought.
As an example, I always thought that having an active presence on social media was super important. Because of this belief, spent hours creating content for my social media profiles. At the end of the day, I had to admit that it really did not do anything for my freelance writing goals. While it may help others see my work, it’s a long shot that any of these people will hire me.
This is not to say that I don’t do social media anymore — I still do. It’s just that for me, I am now aware that it’s not as important as, say, pitching a guest post or writing a blog post.
Imagine what will happen if you ask yourself this question and have more than one answer. Maybe you have two answers or three. And they all can be done today.
Now, wouldn’t it be a super productive day if you see it through?
When I was just first starting out, I made sure to send at least one pitch to a publication before the end of the day. That was on top of the main things I had to do on that day. Writing and sending a pitch doesn’t take more than an hour and no matter the outcome, it’s a better shot at getting more freelance writing clients.
When I’m done, I can move on to other tasks I can do to bring me closer to my goals. Not only was I productive, I was doing the right things because I asked this question and have specific answers.
Not everyone does the same thing. This applies to freelance writers too. Some found success on networking sites like LinkedIn. Others found clients with their pitches, or with their blogs. As for me, I still believe that having a writer website and a blog is a great strategy.
When you ask the question every day and take action on your answers every day, chances are you are going to discover strategies that work for you. You can only do this if try all or most of them. It will take time and a lot of effort from you — and the courage to do new and scary things.
The payoff is to develop a proven way of growing your freelance writing business that is suited to your personality and working style.
Now that you know this question, be sure to answer it the best you can. The answers may not always be the same, but they should all help you reach one goal.
Asking this question will not only help you fine-tune your focus and drown out other distractions, but it helps you start your day with purpose and motivation.
Go ahead, do one thing today that will bring you closer to your freelance writing goal.