When I first became a freelancer, at age 19, I sent out five query letters a day.
When I first started blogging, I published a blog post every single day.
When I first started writing books, I wrote a minimum of 2,000 words five times a week.
People often ask me how I’m so prolific, but there’s no secret to that. I just commit to doing something and I do it consistently.
In fact, you can look at my life and career right this minute and be able to tell immediately which things I’ve put consistent effort into and which ones I’ve not. Freelancing? Consistent. Content marketing? Consistent. Blogging and eventually The International Freelancer? Consistent. Physical fitness? Consistent. Relationship? Consistent.
Novel? Inconsistent. Email list building? Inconsistent. Networking? Inconsistent. Mental wellness? Inconsistent. Sleep and time off? Inconsistent.
In fact, every single thing I struggle with in my life and career can be found on the “inconsistent effort” list.
That’s why my goal for 2017 is Consistency. I believe that anything that’s worth doing in life is worth doing regularly, as a consistent daily practice. If I’m not going to commit to doing it regularly, then I either need to outsource it or let go of it completely.
This is why I now have a daily goals sheet, even though I know that I won’t be able to do everything on that list every day. There’s a list of 24 items, which includes working on fiction, marketing, meditation, journaling, reading, exercise, working on nonfiction book projects, working on the International Freelancer, etc. And I try to at least do as many of these things as I can on a daily basis. I make an honest effort to get to them and if I don’t do one thing for a long stretch of days at a time, it becomes clear to me and I can fix that easily and quickly.
I don’t need to tell you the value of daily habits and consistency. We all know that there is no such thing as overnight success, that talent and skill do not magically appear one day, and that fit bodies and happy relationships are not formed because you went to the gym one morning or spent a weekend away together after four years of arguing.
Healthy bodies are formed one good decision at a time, relationships are strengthened in every act of kindness towards one another, and writing careers are built with every word written, every finished piece submitted, and every day spent creating.
And yet, even though I have been preaching consistency for years and it is the one thing that we know makes a difference, it is still the number one thing missing from most people’s lives.
Every day, I get emails from writers saying they don’t make enough money with freelancing or that they’re unable to find the time to write or that they’re not getting the success they imagined, and I know, even before the conversation has started that they’re simply not consistent. They’re not writing consistently and they’re definitely not marketing consistently.
Don’t even talk to me about not making a decent income unless you’re marketing at least five times a day, five times a week, I said to a coaching client a few weeks ago. Not surprisingly, she multiplied her marketing effort and had regular work coming in within a month.
So, consistency is important. It is, in fact, the idea on which pretty much all my trainings are built, 30 Days, 30 Queries in particular, and indeed, it works. My students have received acceptances from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Marie Claire, National Geographic Traveler, Discover, The Guardian, Afar, GlobalPost, Vice.com, BBC, CNN Travel, and more, sometimes before they’ve even finished the course!
But it is the ones who dive in and just start pitching who get the results. Those who resist it, who keep waiting to read through all the course material, who let their lack of confidence stop them from taking action, get nowhere. But the writers who just dive in, say screw it, I’m going to pitch regardless of the imperfection, the lack of confidence, and even though I’m pretty certain I’ll get a rejection… those people? Those are the ones who get the results.
There is a good reason why many writers are inconsistent. It is quite understandable, really. You finally get over yourself and start showing up and putting in the hard work for days, weeks maybe. Every day, for weeks, you are consistent. And you see no results. Nothing. Nada. No acceptances. No rejections. Not even a response. And then, instead of hitting harder, coming back stronger, you convince yourself that this isn’t working, that the industry is rigged, that you’re no good, and you just quit. You start believing that it doesn’t work and so you stop trying.
This impatience, this lack of commitment to the results is what kills dreams, what closes businesses, what leads to the death of so many freelance careers. It’s what causes the inconsistency.
Consistency means focusing on the action regardless of the result. Committing to it until it works, even if that takes years and decades. Do you really think I was getting results from the moment I started pitching? Hell no. I was pitching five times a DAY for the first few years of my career and getting next to no acceptances. In fact, I was averaging five rejections a day.
It is what I didn’t know that saved my career: I didn’t know that people stopped when it wasn’t working. I didn’t realize this. For me, quitting never even seemed to be an option. All I had ever wanted to be was a writer. I was either going to succeed or… I don’t know. I hadn’t actually ever considered the alternative. There was no alternative. I was going to succeed. Full stop. It was not a matter of IF but WHEN.
So sometime in my twenties, when my peers simply stopped trying and went off to get full-time jobs, I didn’t realize that it was I and not them, who was in the minority. Because when it didn’t work for me, as it didn’t for a long time, instead of quitting, I simply doubled down on my efforts.
It is what I still do. My novel is a perfect example of my commitment to the result, no matter how difficult things get. I have now entered the seventh year and another edit on this book and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest any more. I KNOW I will be successful as an author, both financially and critically, because there is no other option. It’s not IF, but WHEN. It’s not about which book it will happen with or how. That’s not the point. The point is that I have committed to the result and now it’s just about making sure I’m working daily to get there.
I am also now extremely passionate about helping other writers get to the same level of consistency, commitment, and success.
It is why, after a long hiatus, I have started coaching again.
If you’re committed, truly committed, to achieving the results you want, getting the success you know you’re meant to have, and willing to do whatever it takes to get there, I want to help you reach that point.
This is for those of you who are truly passionate about living the freelance life of your dreams and creating the freedom and the independence that you so desperately crave.
What is it? It’s coaching based on the 30 Days, 30 Queries course, designed to have you sending 30 queries in a month. It will be a 1:1 intensive, we will talk several times during the month, and I will keep you accountable by looking at your queries, suggesting markets, giving advice on editor responses, helping with negotiating, and sharing my own scripts and emails to editors.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this coaching and about helping you achieve the results you want with your freelancing. My 30 Days, 30 Queries students have achieved some spectacular things already (100+ testimonials and counting!) and I’m super pumped to be working with more of you in a more personal way and pushing you even further.
If you’re committed and ready to do the work, THIS will help you get to the next level in your career.
I now only have 6 out of the original 10 spaces left. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get a more detailed breakdown of working with me privately and achieving the results you want.
Because you can talk all day long about someday earning money doing what you love. Or you can actually do it.
We start on February 1.