Freelance Writing as a Career: Do You Have “One Day” Disease?

The following is a guest post by Tiffany Howard.

It’s a benign enough phrase: “One day.” It’s the ubiquitous placeholder for those of us in the adult world who feel too overwhelmed with everyday life to assign time frames to “nonessential” things.

Usually it’s followed with a desirable action, and then with a reason (read: excuse) as to why we can’t proceed with said action just yet. In the case of starting a freelance writing career, following are some of the things we plan to get to “one day” before we can get started.

One day I will start my blog. I’m just not sure which direction to go with it yet.” OR

One day I will send a letter of introduction to XYZ company. I just don’t have enough experience right now.” OR

One day ______________________________ (you fill in the blank).”

Freelancing and the “One Day” Disease

Here is the thing about “one day:” It is a disease.

Once you use it, it becomes contagious and spreads to a bunch of other things you haven’t done yet. When you make “one day” a way of life, the results are loss of revenue, loss of valuable networking opportunities, and losing out on resources and opportunities that would have otherwise gotten you to where you wanted to go faster.

Why “One Day” Never Comes

In addition to being creative thinkers, writers also tend to be very insecure. As a freelance writer, putting yourself out there is akin to jumping off how to start freelance writingof a cliff or diving into shark-infested waters with the faint hope that you will survive. So instead of jumping we attach “one day” to our great ideas and send them floating off in the atmosphere, untethered to any real plan of action.

We push actionable ideas to the back our minds and let them sit there day after day, hoping that the courage/experience/opportunity to live our freelance dreams will magically appear. Days, weeks, months and years pass.

“One day” still doesn’t arrive.

Want to Start a Freelance Writing Career? Here’s a Cure For the “One Day” Disease

After awhile, I had to be honest with myself: “One day” wasn’t going to happen. I was new to freelance writing, and was under the impression that successful writers got successful because of a “big break.”

I spent a lot of time waiting for my own big break to come, but it never did. It was very disheartening to realize that I had wasted so much time waiting for the stars to align. I soon discovered the one surefire, time-tested way to beat the one day disease once and for all. What was it?

Start now.

That’s right; it was that simple. I threw my inhibitions to the wind and started where I was, even though I didn’t immediately have all of the answers, resources, knowledge, or ability to make it big. One of my favorite quotes comes from “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill is:

“Do not wait. The time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”

Start Living Your Freelance Writing Dream: Tips for Turning “One Day” into “TO”day 

Here are a few tips for successfully treating one day disease . . .

Pool your resources. Think of every resource available to you that can help you achieve your goal. If you’re lacking in knowledge or tools, where can you get them from? Blogs like this one are excellent resources for writers. However, don’t get caught in the trap of having to know everything.

Act before you’re ready. Initially, you only need to know enough to get started, and the rest will follow.

I remember being beside myself with excitement when I got my first well-paid writing gig, but then realizing that I had no idea how to draw up a writing contract. I also didn’t know when to bill the client, or how to handle revisions. These are things I learned after I got the assignment. You don’t have to know everything before diving in. Even practicing medical professionals use reference materials to fill holes in their knowledge.

Make the time. Let’s be real, it’s the 21st century and everyone has a ton of things that occupy their time. However, keep in mind that you have the same 24 hours in a day as that successful person you look up to.

That person knows the importance of making time for their craft amidst the daily hustle of life. If you love something and want to succeed at it, then you must find time for it. You must work towards it because it’s not going to work towards you.

Set a time limit. A goal without a plan is a wish” is another one of my favorite quotes.

My perspective on planning totally changed when I heard former NFL head coach Herman Edwards say these words. I want you to make a list of steps you will take in order to reach your goal. Then, set a time limit for each.

Make your first step something that you can do today. Can you take a few minutes to register with WordPress? Can you find contact information for a company that might have use of your services? The point is to get the ball rolling today so that you can build momentum to complete the remaining steps.

Find accountability. Accountability does wonders for writers. Once you put it out into the world that you intend to do something within a set time frame, it further defines your newly set boundaries.

Call a friend and let them know what you are doing. Share your goals to an online writer’s group, or in a Facebook update. Once you’ve lit the fire, let accountability fan the flames.

Your Career as a Freelance Writer Is Really Up To You

You might still have some reasons floating around your head as to why you can’t possibly get started today, but ultimately it’s up to you to make your freelance writing business happen.

If you have some pressing all-day obligation, then get started tomorrow, but don’t let anymore time pass needlessly. Today is the day to cure yourself of one day disease once and for all — and decide today to live a more proactive, fulfilling writer’s life.

Do You Suffer from “One Day” Disease? Tell Us About It

What’s stopping you from pulling the trigger on your freelance writing career? Lack of money? Time? Experience? Fear of not knowing what to expect? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Maybe some of the more experienced freelance writers who hang out here can give you some perspective.

About the Author: Tiffany Howard is a freelance writer whose work includes articles, press releases, blog posts, eBooks, white papers, special reports, and sales copy, and her concentrations include science and nature, real estate, travel, and nutrition and wellness. When she is not at the beach or playing tag with her little one, she can be found blogging about online marketing and social media. Connect with her on Twitter @THowardWriter.

P.S.: Share Your Freelance Story. We’re always looking for insightful stories/advice from freelancers that can help others.

P.P.S.: Did you know that you can now order any of our products (like this freelance writing e-course) and take up to 6 months to pay? You can.

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    1. I love that quote from Napoleon Hill. It’s so true that you must take action. The worse thing you can do about any goal you want to achieve is NOTHING.
      Karen Cioffi` recently posted…Book Marketing – The FoundationMy Profile

      • You’re so right Karen.

        IMO opinion, too many of us live fear-based lives. My parents died very early (mom at 45 and dad a 47). I was in my early 20’s when they passed away almost a year to the day within each other. And let me tell you, those losses have been two of the biggest motivators of my life. I’ve learned first-hand that life is simply too short to NOT pursue your dreams. It’s why I’m such a non-conformist.

        Thanks for dropping by. Now I’m off to read your post on book marketing. It’s a never ending “education.” 🙂