Systematic Writing Will Boost Your Freelance Success! By Roy Stevenson

Systematic Writing Will Boost Your Freelance Success! By Roy Stevenson

Freelance writing is definitely not an occupation that lends itself to a random approach. This absolute applies to magazine writers, copywriters, authors, screenwriters…you name it.

If you could slip into the office of any successful freelance writer or author, and watch them at work, you’ll find they all share certain traits. Writers who make a livable income, and are being published consistently, all have regular writing routines, and they’re organized and efficient. These are “Systematic Writers”.

Despite this stringent requirement for writing success, I know plenty of “Random Writers.” Many Random Writers have writing talent. Some recognize good story ideas to pitch when they see them. A handful of them have even had a few stories published in print, and been paid for them. But, despite this, they’ve all had limited success. A huge part of their potential will never be unlocked, and will remain untapped, if their approach is random.

Why Random Writers Don’t Succeed
Random Writers don’t maximize everything they do. They skimp on the steps that are necessary to boost their chances of getting their stories published. The Random Writer’s approach to travel writing is haphazard. Some lack focus and concentration. Others are too lazy to be thorough. And, many Random Writers simply don’t realize they must be thorough if they are to survive (and thrive) in the freelance writing game.

Through my travel writing mentoring program, and while at travel writer’s conferences, I’ve met many aspiring freelance writers that choose to tackle this challenging field in a random manner. Then, they scratch their heads and wonder why they’ve never managed to be published, or why they’re just meeting with modest success.

Why Systematic Writers Do Succeed
Systematic Writers are at the other end of the freelance writing spectrum. They get more stories published, in more publications, and make more money. Systematic Writers work harder, and maximize everything they do to sell their stories. Systematic Writers display diligence and perseverance, and stay in the game. Ironically, some Systematic Writers may not even have as much talent as some of the random writers, but they inevitably have a far better track record.

The blunt reality of freelance writing is that our writing success is largely determined by adopting systematic work habits. My brutally systematic approach to freelance magazine writing has enabled me to have more than 1,000 articles published in 200+ publications of various stripes—and get paid for them. I have many travel journalist friends that are very talented writers, yet they constantly struggle to sell their stories and bring in a livable income.

Here’s what Systematic Writers do vs. Random Writers:

Systematic Writers . . .
Research their story ideas thoroughly, always looking for an angle, or something new and interesting.

Random Writers . . .
Naively believe that anything they like is a story. They don’t spend time researching their story idea or destination. After all, they liked the place, or the story idea, so an editor should like it too, right?

Systematic Writers . . .
Compile magazine distribution lists that contain every magazine they think would be a suitable target for their queries, and then query them all.

Random Writers . . .
Throw together brief lists of magazines they think their story would be a good fit for. Or, they just pitch one or two magazines they would like to see their stories published in.

Systematic Writers . . .
Spend quality time writing comprehensive query letters.

Random Writers . . .
Throw together a query letter, and skimp on the detail. After all, the story should sell itself, right?

Systematic Writers . . .
Meet the deadlines for their assignments.

Random Writers . . .
Don’t think the editor will mind if they’re a day or two (or a week or two) late with the assignment. Some never submit their completed article!

Systematic Writers . . .
Keep pitching story ideas to editors they have forged a relationship with.

Random Writers . . .
Don’t bother pitching new story ideas to editors. The editors appreciate their genius, and will approach them with assignments.

Systematic Writers . . .
Deliver meticulous copy with close to perfect spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, flow, and voice. Apart from minor edits, the editor can drop this story right into the galley.

Random Writers . . .
Aren’t too concerned about spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax, flow, and voice. After all, it’s the editor’s job to fix that stuff up.

Systematic Writers . . .
Make changes when requested by the editor. And fast!

Random Writers . . .
Put rewrites on the back burner. After all, they have to get their social media posts done first.

As you can see from the above comparison, being a Systematic Writer is as much a state of mind as anything to do with your actual writing. Using a systematic approach to your freelance writing will permeate every action you take, from dreaming up and researching viable story ideas to delivering the written goods by deadline.

And, clearly, a random approach will yield random results.

Have a close look at the comparison above, and assess any of the random tasks you regularly perform. Then, focus on your random tasks, and spend time developing these skills to the max. If you work on improving these under-performing areas, you’ll soon start getting more assignments, and get your work published more. I’m not saying it will be easy. But then…you already know that because you’re a freelance writer!


Travel writer Roy Stevenson has published seven eBooks on selling and marketing your freelance travel articles. Roy produces a free weekly newsletter for aspiring travel writers. It’s considered one of the most informative e-zines in the travel writing business. Subscribe here:





You can read Roy’s bio and see some samples of his work at his writer’s website,





90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.

We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!


Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed

A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!

Chock full of ideas, tips, techniques and inspiration, this down-to-earth book is easy to read, and even easier to apply. Let author Jeff Bollow take you through a process that brings your ideas to the page faster, more powerfully and easier than ever before.

Read more here: