Where is Your Freelance Writing Career Going?

We're getting into the time of year (the final quarter) where I like to start looking back over the current year to set some goals for the following one. You now have enough time behind you to see the trends. Are your 2009 goals working out for you? Are things a bit sluggish? Are they better than expected? Should you tweak anything between now and the end of the year to pick up the pace a bit, or are you content?

I just crunched some of the numbers on my earnings for the year so far, and I was really surprised (it's not something I constantly analyze even if perhaps I should). For example, I learned that I've already earned more this year than last year even though I still have more than two months to go. That feels nice. I also got to see that between April and June, the new contracts I took on paid off -- I basically doubled my monthly income at that point, and have been able to maintain that. That also feels nice, and the changes to my work week were really minimal -- same working time, just different (more consistent) projects for fewer clients.

This puts me in a position where I have some tough decisions to make about my freelance writing career next year (we all have to make them).

When I set my freelance writing goals for 2009, the biggest one was probably that I wanted to be writing for myself full-time (e-books, blogs, etc.). That's already taken a setback as I still haven't released my second Web Writer's Guide e-book due to a sheer lack of time after client work. But I was still in a position to make the move in early 2010.

That was based on my earnings during the period where I set those goals though. Things have obviously changed. While my own projects could compete income-wise with what I was earning from clients at that time, now my client work completely overshadows it. That's not to say I'd give up those more personal projects -- they still add a nice mix to my income sources -- but that it might not be worth my while to move to it full-time.

That's a difficult thing to swallow. I was really looking forward to doing it, but it would be a stupid business decision (and we all know how I feel about stupid business decisions). So, assuming my existing contracts remain steady between now and the end of the year, I'm probably going to keep things as they are -- writing for myself part-time and dealing with client work for the bulk of my income.

It's slightly misleading though. I'll still be spending more time on my own projects. One of the biggest reasons I want to keep my working hours dedicated to the highest earning activities is that I'll be able to better support my other projects, like working on The Query-Free Freelancer book and Freelance Theater shows. Still, it's a big change from the plan I've been working from all year.

What about you? When you reflect on your freelance writing career so far this year, do you see a change in direction coming, or do you plan to stay on your current path? Why?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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3 thoughts on “Where is Your Freelance Writing Career Going?”

  1. I’m still picking out my path. This time last year I had no idea that I’d be starting a business and trying to write full-time – I was still dreaming of becoming a dog trainer (and that dream is only on hiatus). I managed to get three clients in my first month, so I must have done something right.

    In the next year, my goal is to develop a clear idea of where I’m actually going to go with this thing – currently I’m doing mostly website content, but I don’t know how sustainable that will be long-term. I’m going to a couple of conferences soon, so that might give me some ideas (fingers crossed, some new clients too) and spark a fire of some sort!

  2. Well, I’m gonna stick on my current path for now and work hard to establish my brand. While I don’t know how the client situation will eventually end up, I do want to focus more on my blog and build that up as a major part of my platform.

  3. Great post! I’ve certainly looked back on this year recently, and while it has been good on the work front I haven’t achieved as much as I would have liked. This is mainly due to the family nursing a close family member through their final illness. Needless to say, that and the subsequent grief has had an impact. My writing has provided a worthwhile escape however.

    Next year I have one major resolution I want to achieve for myself with my writing. It has to do with making myself a new client! As you say, it’s good to write for yourself to a degree, as well as helping out other people.

    My best success this year was setting up my self hosted blog. No more free blog platform – this gal is doing it for herself and loving it! lol


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