Popular Reviews


Learn the profitable craft of direct response copywriting...with Michael Masterson's Accelerated program for Six-Figure Copywriting


Know how much to charge for every type of copywriting job...The 2005 Freelance Copywriter Fee & Compensation Survey


Make money writing about health and fitness...with Secrets of Writing for the Health Market


Travel the world and make money...with The Ultimate Travel Writer's Course


Make money writing resumes...with Start your own Resume Writing Business




How to Pitch, Swerve and Succeed As A Freelance Copywriter

By Nettie Hartsock


When I'm asked about how I've stayed "mostly employed" as a writer and covered so many genres, I always reply, "I know how to pitch and swerve." For me that's what this long journey of writing is really about. It's about racing toward your dream and not giving up, taking the dents and scary curves along the way and using them to improve your journey and empower your writing.


It also means you have to be willing to pitch and swerve to garner possible jobs. Becoming a master copywriter is a never-ending proposition and lifetime journey. Becoming a good solid copywriter well-versed in many arenas is a good solid way to increase the potential for writing jobs. I call that, “pitch and swerve” and the way I apply it is to always increase my copywriting abilities so if one pitch does not work, I can readily swerve to another pitch in different arena.


Being a copywriter is like being the turtle in the race between the turtle and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race. My own race has lasted nearly fifteen years and it hasn’t been until the last five years that I’ve made it to the stage of full-time freelance writer.


The great news in the race to write is that there are always new opportunities.


The race for content continues to grow and the demand for good copywriters will continue to grow as well.


When I started out nearly fifteen years ago, I was a full-time mom with a twelve week old daughter and wanted to stay at home with her. I wrote mostly in the middle of the night between “mommy naps” and feedings. I had been a published fiction essayist and short story writer, but I knew that wasn’t going to pay the bills. With only a BA in English from Goddard College, I turned to copywriting to subsidize my staying at home with my child.


I committed myself to writing every single day. If you want to be a virtuoso you have to practice the scales. In writing, you have to apprentice to the craft of writing and practice it daily in order to push your skill set to the next level. You cannot be a brilliant writer unless you are willing to write, rewrite, write and rewrite again.


I started out writing for our church newsletter, then pitched free stories to an Austin celebrity magazine, which eventually led to me being the Managing Editor for the magazine for three years. When it went under as they often do, I utilized my best interview clips and applied for a job online to do interviews with CEOs.


(Many of these interviews were done with my three year old daughter on the floor playing with Legos and eating banana slices, while I sat at my desk and interviewed tech leaders.)


In my interviews with online folks I always worked hard to engage them and this helped in later years, because many of those CEOs impressed by my research skills, and the interviews I did with them, hired me for copywriting work. As a writer, you’re always auditioning your work. So don’t be lazy and do your legwork. Build your network one job at a time.


The other very important thing you can do during this slow race is to be an apprentice to the copywriting craft. Be willing to listen and learn from the masters like Bob Bly, Peter Bowerman and Nick Usborne.


Here are some other good tips to follow for long-term race success:

1. Formulate copy before you have a job to write copy. What that means is practice makes perfect. Even if you don’t have published clips to send to a prospective client, come up with some good solid writing samples of ready copy that you can send as samples of your work.


2. Join a professional writers group in your area. You’ll be amazed at how the networking aspect will kick in if you put yourself out in the network!


3. Think locally and build regionally. Pitch a couple of articles to your local newspaper, even if they don’t pay for contributors. If they run your article, you’ve got your first published clip.


4. Be willing to “kill your little darlings.” The hardest thing early on as a writer is to understand you’re not writing for you…you’re writing for them. So while you might love everything you write, you must be willing and able to adjust your style to what the company needs.


They’re your customer and the product you’re selling is content.


5. Be your own best salesperson. Writing jobs don’t come to you, you have to search them out. Join freelance job listing sites and respond to those listings.


6. Don’t get discouraged. If you truly want to succeed as a copywriter, you cannot take rejection personally. You cannot let fear of “not being good enough” keep you from doing anything at all.

As aspiring writers you have to be willing to let go of “scarcity” and only deal in “abundance.” Stay hopeful and persistent and do not come to the career from a place of fear, because if you are afraid you cannot do it, you most certainly will not be able to do it.


Win your race one writing clip at a time. Be abundant in your writing, and don’t measure the value of it early on by whether you have earned top dollar for the work. The money will come if you’re willing to spend many hours laboring to build a solid framework of clips, potential clients and fellow peers.


My favorite writer Roy Blount Jr. once wrote to me in a letter years ago, “If you cannot but write, then you are a writer.”


Here are some other ways you can tell you are a writer who can win the race:

1. You obsessively make suggestions and edits on menus in your neighborhood restaurants.


2. You are a voracious reader.


3. You love books and new knowledge.


4. You spend hours writing copy for your neighborhood newsletter.

(By the way those volunteer newsletters can serve as great sample clips.)


5. You are a news-hound and you have opinions you want to share.

For myself, I've traveled the world of writing for entertainment magazines, health and bio-tech news writing, playwriting, tech and e-business writing, white papers, case studies, and blog writing. At night, after all is said and done, I turn on my writing engine one more time and fine tune my one-woman show. And don't even get me started on the two novels I'm trying to sell!


You can do the same! Remember, slow and steady wins the race.



Top Resources:


The 2005 Freelance Copywriter Fee & Compensation Survey

Finally. Now you'll know how much to charge for that next freelance copywriting job - without having to worry about estimating too high or too low. Read my review...


Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

I was sent a review copy of the entire course and read through it from cover to cover. It is excellent. Perfect for offline copywriters. Also an excellent writer resource for online copywriters who want to write in a way that drives RESULTS. Read my review of Michael Masterson's course


Make 6 figures as a freelance copywriter


Get this FREE introduction to earning 6 figures as a freelance copywriter when you sign up for the Freelance Writing Success Newsletter.

Sign up now and, once you have confirmed your subscription by email, we'll send you the link where you can download your free copy of The Freelance Copywriter's Six pack - 6 Articles on how to make 6 figures as a Freelance Copywriter...




We value your privacy

Related learning materials:


Nick Usborne's Million Dollar Secrets to Online Copywriting

The demand for print and direct mail copywriters is static, to say the least. The real demand right now is for copywriters who have the skills to write effective copy for the web. This is a professional-grade course that will make you a specialist in online copywriting. This is where the future for copywriters lies! More about this online copywriting course...


Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting

I was sent a review copy of the entire course and read through it from cover to cover. It is excellent. Perfect for offline copywriters. Also an excellent writer resource for online copywriters who want to write in a way that drives RESULTS. Read my review of Michael Masterson's course



Copyright FreelanceWritingSuccess.com. All Rights Reserved.