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Freelance Writing A Little Obsession and a Large Dream

It is my opinion that in order to become a successful freelance writer you’ve got to be a little obsessive and have a large dream.

Here is what I mean. When I find a new writing opportunity or the chance to earn money, I throw myself into it totally (obsessively). I envision a large stream of dollars flowing into my account. I know the only way that will happen is if I work hard to make it happen. As long as I have my dream, I’ll continue to work at it.

On occasion I wake up to see that my typing fingers are burned to nubs from typing at such a breakneck speed. Depending on the writing format, I could usually bang out a few articles in a day, but at the end of the day I always wish that I could bang out a few more.

When I stop to take a breather, I look at all of my other writing opportunities and realize that I’ve let them take a back seat so I then start working like a mad woman (obsessively) on those opportunities (of course I do this because I have a dream of dollars rolling in).

Passive Income Lifestyle

My motivation is my belief in the 100% passive income lifestyle. I want my passive lifestyle to be a lobster tail and shrimp lifestyle, not a hot dog and hamburger lifestyle. I could work at a slower pace, but while I have the energy and the opportunity (the kids are in school all day), I might as well take advantage of it.

Lucrative Times Ahead

There will come a time when I could leisurely write one or two articles a day or maybe skip a day entirely, if I choose. If you’re anything like me, however, it gets tougher and tougher not to write daily because its in the bloodstream.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Every once in a while, I stop to smell the roses. I look to see where I was, where I am and where I want to be.

Where I was: A little over a ago on February 9, 2007 I made a vow to quit my part-time job and work full time as a freelance writer. I believed I could match and exceed my part-time income through freelance writing.

Where I am: On February 9, 2008, I accomplished the task and have exceeded my part-time income. I’m well on my way to doubling my old part-time salary through my freelance writing. As a matter of fact, as of this post, I’ve effectively given myself a 22% salary increase over my old part-time job. Imagine telling your boss you want a 22% salary increase.

Where I want to be: My goal is to continue increasing my income but I want to specifically increase it residually. I want my work to pay me in the long run over and over again rather than work daily for pay. Right now 34% of my income is from active (write for pay) opportunities while the remaining 66% is residual. I guess I’m moving in the right direction because last year my active income accounted for 68% of my earnings and residual a mere 32%.

To that end, I’m writing like an obsessive mad woman, burning my fingers to the nub to be able to have substantial residual income flowing into my accounts. If I can do it, I KNOW you can do it too. All you need is a little obsession and a large dream.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Felicia October 6, 2008, 11:57 am

    Hi Alyssa,

    I feel your pain. I understand that it is difficult to leave a job forfeiting health insurance benefits and a 401(k) plan. My situation is a little different because my husband does have a full-time job that provides our family’s benefits.

    I did do some research some time ago on individual health plans and wrote an article on it. Maybe some of the information may be helpful. If not, there are links that will bring you to other sites that could be of help.

    As far as become a full-time freelance writer, it’s not all fun and games. It takes focus, discipline, persistence, and finding every tool I can employ to increase productivity. To that end, I invested in a couple of tools quite some time ago. .

    I use a digital voice recorder and Dragon Deluxe NaturallySpeaking software (I wrote about them in earlier posts here and here). It helps to speed up my writing process significantly. I blame it on my advancing years but my memory is not quite what it used to be. Other times my schizophrenic personality becomes overloaded with ideas and I have a difficult time in capturing them all at one time. The digital recorder has in both situations.

    While I do have a respectable typing speed, it is nowhere near as fast as I can speak. I found that by recording my articles and ideas in my digital recorder, and having my software transcribe and type them, I’ve been able to kill two birds the one stone and save lots of time.

    While my NaturallySpeaking software is transcribing the digital files I downloaded, I am able to continue dictating more work into my digital recorder. It takes a little getting used to. Fortunately, back in the old days in one of my 9-5 jobs I had a secretary who used to transcribe my correspondence. I learned early on how to dictate in a fashion where I won’t have to make too many editorial changes.

    In your situation, Alyssa, having a full-time job and children takes even more discipline to make the freelance writing career work. The beauty of it is that it can be done. But you’ve got to be determined and have a big enough dream.

    I find that focus is the reason why I’m able to continue doing what I’m doing. Someone had sent me an e-mail some time ago about two mice stuck in a pit (I’m paraphrasing it here).

    Some one (a cow or something) came along to help them by pouring milk into the hole. One mouse looked at the milk and decided that his situation was hopeless so he drowned in the milk. The other mouse kept his focus and continued swimming in the milk. He swam like the dickens and churned the milk into cheese and was able to walk out of the pit.

    I look at freelance writing that way. Working a full-time job and being a mom you’ll have to swim like the dickens to churn your milk into cheese. It’s not always going to be easy but it is doable.

    As I’ve written over and over again, there is money to be made as a freelance writer, but it doesn’t happen overnight

    When I look at what’s going on with the economy and with folks losing jobs, the cost of milk, gas, oil rising, I know we’re in dire economic times. However, if I continued to focus on the dire economic times rather than the fact that my income increased by 22% and the year isn’t over yet, I would be paralyzed by fear instead of being motivated to do the backstroke in my pit of milk.

    Alyssa, I apologize if I got a little preachy. Take a look at the article on health insurance and do more research on your own. You might be able to find something affordable to help you in your situation. As far as the 401(k) goes, I’m no investment guru, but there are IRA accounts and other investment options that you can use in the meanwhile. I would suggest that you contact a financial advisor to find out your options.

    Knowing your options will help you to set the pace for your writing.

    I hope this helps.

  • Alyssa October 6, 2008, 11:02 am

    Your stats are a testimony to the great groundwork you’ve laid out as your business plan last year! You’re definetely going in the right direction – you’re a wonderful inspiration to the rest of us. But I wonder if you or anyone else can speak to how we can sever the cord with our employers.

    For example, I’m so used to having healthcare, 401k plans, and other company benefits that standing on the precipace of a freelance career seems suicidal at this point.

    I just started with Textbroker, and they’ve accepted two of my assignments (it’s only been two so far because I’m very discriminating about the jobs listed – some are hoakey while others seem legitimate and reasonable requests). I also dove into the Martetplace at Helium.com. The articles there range between $30 to $40 for 400-500 words. It’s not a bad gig, and the requests are of better quality than Textbroker. But I wonder how in the world I can write with speed and quality without doing some research, which can suck up the time. I also wonder how other novice freelance writers are composing quality, original articles without understanding what they’re writing about? I find this to be the most difficult part of this endeavor.

    Would you be able to post or respond by comment on how you write with speed and quality each day to meet your writing goals?

    You have certainly motivated me to continue pursuing my freelance dreams but I’m finding the course daunting, with a full time job and young children.

  • Alyssa October 6, 2008, 12:41 pm

    Thanks, Felicia.

    This is all useful information, and your pearls of widom will come in handy (I’m reading all your links). And no, I didn’t feel you were preaching to me. I believe I’ve already cast a wide net to break my fall when it does happen (being neurotic isn’t bad after all [sheepish grin]).

    I guess what I’m really asking is that if we want to write articles that are credible and of high quality, we have to research our subject, and that’s where time becomes a big issue. I get the sense that some writers may be so focused with “cranking” out articles that I can’t believe all this information is stored in their head.

    Right now, I’m working on finding out about reliable and credible sources on the internet and other places from which I can reference in my articles. It doesn’t hurt to go back to the basics; think of the reference librarian or information brokers who are now in such high demand, and for good reason.

    What I was trying to ask is how do you do it? what resources do you find useful? For example, I followed the link to your article “Health Plans for the Individual”. As you mentioned in your article, you had to do research, and I’m asking, for the benefit of everyone who reads your blog, how do we find credible online resources as well as hard copy resources? I’m sure there’s a block of references that a librarian refers to online that don’t require a subscription. It’s almost like data mining, but you have to learn how to synthesize the information and provide it in chuncks that readers can digest.

    Have I completely flipped your mind? I think I may be overanalyzing this a bit, but that’s my nature.

  • Felicia October 6, 2008, 1:04 pm

    I think I understand where you’re coming from. I guess my answer is that I’m a Googleholic.

    I begin my research with Google and then drill down the links from there. I try to find at least two or three sources per topic to make sure that my source is a valid one.

    The beauty of the internet is that you don’t have to be an expert, all you have to do is give enough information and provide enough sources for the reader to do more research. I think the problem comes in when we attempt to become the resource. I’m a resource of useless information, but when it comes to the stuff that matters and the info that people need to make hard decisions, I defer to the experts.

    When I find valuable resources, I bookmark them so that I can come back to them later.

    I guess what I’m saying is, there are tons of sites and blogs with valuable information. Before you use them as a resource, compare them against one or two independent sources and provide links so the reader can research further. I prefer not to take on the responsibility of being the expert (unless I get the big bucks to be an expert).

    Hope this makes sense.

  • MsMayor October 8, 2008, 3:21 pm

    Felicia, you truly inspire me to continue to write an write more. I do have a dream and I need the focus sometimes I feel as though I work 40 hrs, go to school twice a week, take care of my two children and I feel I should still be able to conquer the world (and other little things). I say to myself I will always not have to work this hard, but I also love the fact that I am able to do this all- sometimes that is where I get me sense of accomplishment.

    Thanks Felica for sharing your wisdom and thoughts.

  • Felicia October 8, 2008, 6:12 pm

    Hey MsMayor,

    Good to hear from you. I’m glad I can be of some help.

    Keep at it, over time it will all work out as long as you work it.

  • Julie October 22, 2008, 4:49 pm

    I am defintely obsessed and have large dreams! lol Good article and inspirational. I enjoy the comments from others as well!

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