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What Making Almost $4,000 Writing Taught Me

Last year, my world grew and I changed a lot more than I realized. Here are some of the valuable lessons I got from it.

Eric S Burdon
Jan 2, 2019 · 5 min read

Last year, I made a massive advancement in my writing career.

I went from making about $1,000 in 2017, to almost $4,000 in 2018.

Full disclosure, that’s in Canadian dollars but that is still an impressive feat. I 4X my income over the span of a year.

While some people may think it’s a small feat — especially since I’m a writer full time — it’s important to look at the path that was taken. Before 2018, I made hardly any money. 2017 was the first year I made some level of income and even then it wasn’t much.

2018 was the first full year I took my writing seriously. I pushed myself a bit farther than I usually would have and through that, discovered where I’m best suited to be.

And I learned more than that.

I Learned How To Get Into The Zone At Any Time

But on top of that, I also know what other triggers that I can use to pump myself up.

This is key because I don’t always do my rituals in the morning. Some days I don’t feel like working out or going for a walk. And I know I’ve said before that how we feel doesn’t matter — in terms of habit building — but it still happens.

To have those triggers in place, it can help you to get back into the zone. I found that journaling got me into more of a writing mood. That was a recent discovery.

Before that, it was walking down to the nearest Starbucks (5 km away) and working there. I still do that as well.

I also found listening to music was helpful too. I’ve got two playlists on Soundcloud that I turn to.

One is simply labelled “Awesome Music” which has electronica, mixed with acoustic and lyric tracks all designed to energize you.

The other is “Relaxing Music” which goes without saying.

Every person has their own ways for getting into the zone, but also have their own times to do it. A lot of people do it early in the morning as is recommended by many others. But starting out, not everyone is going to be following that.

They know that they should, but they won’t.

That’s why it’s important to have these “recovery rituals” over the course of the day. That way you can get back into the zone, any time, anywhere.

It Taught Me Who An Ideal Client Is

Looking at my income streams, the highest earnings I’ve gotten have come out of Upwork, a freelance site I jumped into in March last year. 2/3rds of my income has stemmed from that platform.

And the work I did, and am still doing, is not the best out there.

To speak broadly, I’m ghostwriting content on various topics. Namely trending articles at this point. But in the past, I wrote articles on manufacturing steel, pins, SEO, and many others.

Some, interesting, but most of it not that engaging.

Furthermore, the pay I received was lacklustre.

But I still did it.

Because an ideal client doesn’t always have to be someone that satisfies your big goals at the end. They can be someone temporary and can build you up.

My first client on Upwork didn’t pay me very well, but it was an easy job and gave me the confidence to find another client I’m still working with now. The client I have right now is paying me significantly better and the work is more tolerable.

On top of that, it’s given me the skills I need as a writer. My first client taught me the value of research and extracting information. And it’s still a technique that I use today. Some of my recent successful articles came from an innate curiosity and desire to do research.

Here are some examples:

Without those skills, and without Upwork, I would’ve earned slightly more money than I did in 2017. Furthermore, my skills would be virtually the same. And while I’ve said Upwork is a temporary fix — and I still stand behind that — it’s clearly something I need right now.

Through some poor jobs, I’ve learned some invaluable skills that can be leveraged for years.

It Made Me More Curious

How will I fare if I challenge myself to drop 20 pounds in 6 weeks?

Is this article I’m reading something that I can use in another article of mine?

Does this article inspire me to write about something related to this?

What ideas can I come up with with the knowledge that I have right now?

I’ve begun asking myself more questions and while some of them I haven’t googled yet, I have written down a good list of titles for various articles. Articles that I’ll be working on publishing on this platform some day.

This curiosity is key to thriving as a writer. And now that I’m making a little more money, I can relieve some of the pressure and anxiety I have about desperately needing money. I can begin to focus on how I can improve myself so I never have to worry about a lack of money.

This allows curiosity to grow and that can improve our work significantly.

After all, how do you think I found what type of articles I should be writing about and how to write them on here?

There is truly lessons everywhere. It’s a matter of looking for them and figuring out what they mean.

Eric S Burdon

Written by

Entrepreneur, positive-minded. I used to say a lot, now I do a lot. Documenting my growth. Support me on Patreon: http://bit.ly/2pIEPFR

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