It’s true. Successful freelance writers are surrounded by terrible freelance writers. Some of those terrible writers are even making a good living at it. You would be amazed at the number of sub-par freelancers who manage to make money. Some of them make idiotic, easy-to-correct mistakes such as sending their proposals on scented pink paper, getting the editor’s name wrong, or finishing their assignments long after they are due. Some are sloppy. Some don’t know how to market themselves. Some are just lousy writers.

Most freelance writers who make these kinds of mistakes struggle. They eventually either get better or give up. Others, however, manage to find clients or publishers and make money. They manage to be in the right place at the right time and luck into jobs. Some freelance writers manage to succeed just by showing up.

The lesson here is that it really isn’t that hard to succeed as a freelance writer. If you follow the basic steps of marketing yourself, following instructions when they are given, meeting your deadlines, and building relationships with clients, you will have an excellent chance of succeeding. Why? Because you will be competing with so many people who can’t even manage to meet such minimal benchmarks.

It really isn’t that hard to rise above the pack if you do your job well. That is why good writers still make a lot of money, even with all the cheap, desperate competition out there. I have been in a position to judge other writers as an editor, as a publisher, and as an employer. I’ve put up with more than my fair share of low-quality submissions. At times, I’ve had to use writers whose submissions, resumes, or portfolios were below my standards, simply because I couldn’t find anyone better. The number of competitors you must face for a given job or assignment is irrelevant. What matters is the quality of your competitors. I am here to tell you that their quality is low. If you are good at what you do, you will find work. If you aren’t good at it, you still might find work. Either way, you won’t know until you try.

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