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Growing Your Writing Career By Becoming A Specialist

How narrowing your focus may broaden your writing opportunities

By Amanda Layman Low - November 21, 2013
When I quit my day job four years ago to become a freelance writer, I aggressively threw myself into the digital and physical world. I signed on to Elance, Examiner and content farms. I tacked up flyers around town advertising my services, called local businesses asking if they needed my help and proselytized former professors and friends about the array of writing and editing I could do. On the side, I did commissioned artwork and opened an Etsy store to sell my existing paintings.

Despite this lofty expenditure of energy, I had little success. In three months I made $100 on Elance, $30 on Examiner and averaged $30 a day writing content-farm material. In my desperate attempt to do everything, I did nothing -- and earned nothing.

Then I honed in, focusing on copyediting, parenting essays and service pieces on writing. Ironically, narrowing my focus broadened my opportunities. Though the sporadic nature and pay of our work as freelancers makes it tempting to cultivate every random idea, here's my advice: don't. Specialize first, and branch out within your specialty. Here's how.


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