Apr 11, 2011

I is for Initiative

(Courtesy of hisks)
ini•tia•tive (i nis̸h′ə tiv, -ē ə tiv)

1.  The power or ability to begin or to follow through energetically with a plan or task; enterprise and determination
2.  A beginning or introductory step; an opening move

Initiative – an important trait for the freelance writer.  Do you have enough initiative?

Sure you do.  Signing up for the A-Z Blogging Challenge took initiative.  The gauntlet was thrown down and you added your blog(s) to the mix, taking that introductory step.  If you made even the first post for the letter A, you followed up with an opening move.

Since this challenge has been so inspirational, I’m already contemplating future challenges with my peers for both blogging and article writing.  I’m energetically planning the new task(s).  Ok, that last one was a stretch.  But that’s initiative.

Without initiative, you might find yourself in a rut or out of work.  Freelance assignments won’t always fall in your lap so you’ll need to take the initiative to seek them out.  Most successful freelance writers suggest diversifying – writing for more than one client; if you concentrate on one site only, you might be severely limiting yourself.

Take the initiative to seek more writing opportunities; ask your peers, search online, participate in message boards and forums on freelance writing sites.  Leaving your comfortable nest can be scary, but taking the initiative to test your wings can bring positive results to both your portfolio and your pocketbook.

A freelance writer might take the initiative by:

Applying to other writing sites
Querying a magazine or book publisher
Researching self-publishing
Taking classes to improve writing skills

Have you become complacent in your writing career?  What initiative have you taken to remedy that? You can't win if you don't roll the dice.

[Get Copyright Permissions]
Click here for reprint options

Copyright 2011 Marie Anne St. Jean


  1. A few years back, I broke the #1 rule of freelancing: CONTINUALLY seek new clients.

    I'd gotten comfortable with my regular roster and had a nice steady stream of work coming in. That sounds fine, but things change and not every client is going to be a long-term one. I learned that hard way that successful freelancing means always having feelers out there so that income doesn't vary too terribly much from month to month.

    Live and learn.

    About a year or so ago, I took a somewhat blind step off the ledge and chose to cut way back on article writing and whatnot to allow myself the time to pursue more of the kind of writing that I truly love. That leap of faith was scary, but I knew that the 'perfect' time was unlikely to present itself, so I took a deep breath and jumped. I'm glad I did.

    My “I” post is here: http://www.word-nerd-speaks.com/2011/04/inconspicuous-online.html

  2. Great post. Sort of ironic that just as I was reading the last line about rolling the dice, 'Luck Be A Lady' by Frank Sinatra came on the radio station I'm listening to! You are right though, we do have to take initiative, which I openly admit that until recently I hadn't been. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  3. I hadn't really been taking freelancing very seriously until the start of this year, but now I take initiative quite often! :D

  4. Sometimes I need initiative to follow through on the initiative.

  5. I'm with dragonfly. I have the initiative and ideas but sometimes I battle with self-doubt and procrastination.

  6. Great post, Marie Anne. Initiative is the first step! Your Flying Alligator story cracked me up, by the way. I can just imagine you and your husband racking your brains trying to find SOMETHING that sounded like Flying Alligator and Brian probably getting so frustrated that you couldn't understand him. I'm still laughing about it.

  7. My problem has always been having plenty of initiative for clients or platforms but not saving enough for myself. This challenge has helped with that immensely.

  8. Fantastic post. You need initiative to start any task or challenge. I love the dice analogy.

  9. Taking the Initiative is something we all need to do, but it's not always easy to know when we need to do it.

  10. This is a wonderful "I" word! Between your "I is for Initiative" post and my old man buying me the 2010 writer's market and 2010 novel and short story market books, I'm feeling rather inspired!

  11. I'm feeling self-conscious here because I know how I am in many cases; having the initiative to begin, but lacking the motivation to see it through. That's one thing I like about this challenge. It has forced me to follow through to save face. I'm hoping it will help me develop some patterns that will stay with me.