The "4 Ds" of Freelance Writing Success: Do You Have It In You?

Written By: Annapurna Sharma

Freelancing is indeed a lucrative job with flexi timings as well as being ‘one’s own boss’. I ventured into this market way back in the early 2000’s. Assuming it to be a cake walk, I thought of making an extra buck, apart from my regular job. Candidly, weighed down with professional and family encumbrances, I couldn’t make a mark for myself. In 2008 I was able to write for a health magazine. Now again I am at it with great interest and jubilation.

Freelancing, like any other profession, is a struggle to carve a niche for oneself.  I dare to compare it with the battle of Panipat and Babur. Hurdles to name a few writer’s block, fear of rejections, no-work periods are all part of the trade. An amateur myself I take the liberty to suggest a few tips to assist newbies. Before venturing further ask yourself whether you have the 4 D’s of success – Desire, Direction, Dedication and Discipline. Try answering these simple questions.

  • Do I really have the desire to pursue a career in writing?

I had often enjoyed reading books and sometimes even penned a few lines. The inclination to write was always there, but to make it into a profession I had to be passionate and have the intense desire to see my initial scribbling transform into a mature writing in print. That intense desire drives me to set distinctive goals.

  • In what direction should I proceed to reach my goal?

Once ascertained that writing is the destined goalpost, one should consider the way to go about it. There are numerous branches in writing – medical writing, travel writing, general articles, content writing and so on. The million dollar question is which field pleases you most and you derive immense satisfaction. Success stories of experts in that field serve as guiding tools. In that process identify your strengths and weaknesses for eg. I studied and taught Nutrition in college, definetly my choice of line would relate to food and health. I have other interests as well – literature and travelling, subjects that I need to develop on to become an expert. Unlike olden days, the internet comes to our rescue to enlighten us in any given topic.          

  • Am I dedicated enough?

Freelancing is just like any other job with its share of trials and tribulations. Accept all hitches with a broad mindset and develop a positive outlook. Learn from previous mistakes. Consistency, optimism and continuous learning characterize a dedicated writer. Don’t be complacent with just one achievement. Never wait for a third person to give you the boost. Self-motivation is an essential ingredient to learn the tricks of the trade and churn out more and more writeups. No great author was created overnight; it is a constant struggle to be in the rat race. With opportunities galore (so are the contestants), there is a fair chance for everyone. Procrastination – an element found in plenty especially among newbie writers. Benjamin Franklin’s words – “Never leave till tomorrow, which you can do today”, an advice best suited for procrastinators.       

  • How disciplined am I with regards to my profession?

For many, freelance writing may begin just to fill the vestiges of time, but to succeed one must put in all the ingredients of hardwork. Plan everything well in advance. If working from home, set up a specific work area. Allot time schedules best suited for you to churn out masterpieces. Wind up your regular chores asap, and engross deeply in reading, writing and jotting down important notes. Keep a notebook handy at the kitchen table/ on the fridge/ in the living room to scribble ideas and points as they come to your mind. Create an article bank. Articles about almost everything under the sun can be written about, but prioritize your expertise and education. Start with small and easy articles like “5 tips to better memory” or “how-to raise better roses”. Slowly embark on complex subjects.  Freelancing is like a colossal, one needs to have the grit and determination to continue to research and to produce distinctive articles. A portfolio is a set of your best articles put together, exhibiting your writing skills. They can be put up on some of the best ezines. Most web based articles and ezines may not be pay but gives the much needed exposure and experience. Get public exposure by blogging and networking with fellow-writers and friends. Gain mastery over market research and marketing your product to stay afloat professionally. Initially it could be a rough path, but proceeding further, you will adjust better. Once an entry has been made, rest is history. You can well be assured of success as perseverance, persistence and patience bears sweet fruit.

Annapurna Sharma is a passionate freelancer based at Vijayawada, India. With 10+ years of teaching Nutrition to college students in her kitty, health writing is her forte. A mother of a 14yr old, her other favorite niches include environment, parenting, home improvement, women’s and kid’s health and exotic travel locations. She has numerous web-based articles to her credit and you can visit her blog


  1. of the best articles I have ever come across..I would definitely visit this blog again and again for future reference...Meanwhile keep up the good work and you mentioned really useful points..Thumbs Up..

  2. a very good article!! I m sure it wud help many of us

  3. I've written a lot of jingles and rhymes for no reason or purpose. I'm really lost when it comes to get my work out there and getting noticed. I'm willing to write for free, so how do I get small writing
    Jobs? I need them for the experience?


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