Two years ago, I joined the Writer’s Market in my first attempt to learn how to launch my freelance career, and then I joined MediaBistro. I purchased The Renegade Writer’s Query Letters That Rock to help me improve my pitching skills.

Armed with my arsenal of writing information, I targeted a few publications I wanted to write for and even wrote two pieces au gratis just to get some clips out there. Eventually, I found paid opportunities in 2008 (albeit not big paying gigs like the glossies).  But, I was excited and motivated–then the economic crisis hit in the fall, and the doors of opportunity slowed down tremendously. By the end of the summer of 2009, my pitches (and follow-up e-mails to editors) completely ceased. I wasn’t hearing anything, not even from the few publications that I’d written for. Dumbfounded and worn out, I took a break to regroup and rework my plans.

Working for a publishing company and freelancing as a book researcher, my writing aspirations went to the wayside. In the fall of 2010, I decided to return to writing for magazines. Once I made up my mind to do just that, I got organized and followed the blogs of successful magazine writers. I’m also taking online classes to help me as a writer.  But out of all the things I’ve done, I think the most important thing that has helped to push me in the right direction is to define what it means to be a successful magazine writer. And here it is:

1. Work Finds Me: I understand that as a freelancer I’m pitching ideas to editors. But, I believe that establishing myself as a reliable writer who produces quality content in a timely manner will place me ahead of the game in terms of editors who reach out to me when assigning articles because they trust that I can do the work.

2. Diversification: Part of being a successful writer means not relying on a few publications to be my bread and butter. By writing for different magazines, I will have a greater chance of working because if my pitches to a few publications are rejected, or if I’m not getting assignments from certain editors then pitches to other publications may be accepted or other editors may contact me for assignments. So in that sense more is better because I’m increasing my odds of getting work. And I’m able to showcase that I’m experienced and that I have written for different magazines.

So being a successful writer means that I’m actively working for different publications, and I have good working relationships with the editors there.  On that note, I better get cracking!

How do you define success?

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