Writers: Expect More

Four years ago this week I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I started my own hissy-fit inspired movement – Writers Worth Day – which has now morphed into Writers Worth Week, an annual awareness campaign designed to help writers everywhere uncover their own value.

In that spirit, I want to urge you to expect more. Expect more of your clients, your value, and your business. Shift your thinking, starting today, from take-what-comes work processes to building a stronger business that sustains you and helps you grow professionally.

Start here:

Redefine what legitimate work is.

Sometimes the problem lies in what you’ve been accepting as work. Take off the I-need-the-money blinders and look objectively at the job and the client. Is this something you’re proud to add to your portfolio? Is the work paying what professional writers should earn? Would the best writer you know accept either the rate or the job? If not, rethink that client.

Set your own rates.

Don’t allow anyone else but you to dictate your earnings potential to you. Clients should not tell you how much you’ll be earning per project or per hour. You determine that. If they insist, find a new client who respects you as a business person.

Create your own opportunities.

Don’t build a career on the passive approach. Instead of relying solely on job listings where you’re competing with thousands of writers, find your own clients. Locate companies and people you’d love to do business with, then tell them how much they can benefit from your services.

Treat yourself better.

You’re not merely a writer. You’re a business owner. Don’t allow yourself to think negatively about your abilities or your value. Your skills are marketable and you are a professional writer. Say no when you need to and enforce your work and income boundaries when necessary.

As a writer and business owner, you have marketable skills. Those skills are sought by clients who value good writing and professional behavior. If you expect more of yourself, you’ll be more appealing to clients. The reward – a stronger business and a happier you.

Profile image for LoriWidmer
Professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in trade and business writing. Specialties in risk management and insurance.

13 thoughts on “Writers: Expect More”

  1. Loved this post. Thanks so much for your contribution to writers! When trying anything new or different, whether it’s in writing, or just life in general, most of the battle is in your mind. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities. I’ve found that if I’m doubtful of myself, it’s usually because I’ve never tried the “thing” that is making me doubt my abilities to do it. Every time I’ve gone ahead and tried it, even with the doubts still there, I’ve found that my fears were unfounded and it builds my confidence even more.

    That little engine had it right…

    • You are SO right, northwoodswriter! We tend to be our own toughest roadblocks. It’s why I think writer’s block is a bunch of hooey.

      Irune, too many think “freelancing is dead.” With that attitude, it is. For them. Not for those of us ready to work at it a little.

      Damaria, good idea! I’ll see what I can do. 🙂

      Thanks, Sharon. I appreciate you spreading the word!

      Joe, isn’t it the truth? You can live inside the box or you can build a new box, I say. 🙂

  2. Really nice post. I hope more writers listen to this instead of just accepting with a shrug “that you cannot make a living off writing”

  3. Well written, Lori, and valuable to not only freelancers but company writers too. I particularly liked and related to “Create Your Own Opportunities.” Over a 40-year period as a journalist, I’ve established newsroom beats where there were none, simply because I liked the subject matter and became an expert in it.

  4. I actually remember when this, “hissy-fit inspired movement” started. One courageous woman, sick of seeing the writing business cheapened, stepped into the sparring ring for battle. I can’t think of a better person to be an advocate to all writers, new or experienced. You go, girl!

  5. I took-off the blinders and am no longer willing to work because “I need the money.” I have a well-rounded educational and work experience background and know I bring value to an organization. I’m comfortable with saying, “I have the sense I’m not the ‘right’ freelance writer for you. Thank you for the opportunity.” It took me a while to get here but I did it.

    • Congrats Rebecca. 🙂 The less time you give to the “wrong” types of clients, the more time you have to pursue better options. There’s nothing like an interesting client with an interesting project coming along, with no fights over your rates, to make you wish you had even more time for clients like them.


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