What To Do When Work Is Scarce?

Every once in a while, there comes a time in a freelancer’s life when work is elusive and assignments taper down to a trickle. You suddenly find yourself battling the usual freelancing-associated insecurities and just can’t figure out what to do with all the free time. Well, for one, don’t waste it on Facebook or on checking your inbox every few seconds hoping for a lead to pop up. Instead, take it as a blessing and do everything you have been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to doing it. If I were you, I would take all the measures that I possibly can to grow my freelancing business.

Write for practice and fun – Have a story in your head that you never had the time or motivation to pen down? Now is the time to get down to it. Go ahead, write that novel, short story or poem and submit it to a literary journal or competition. Update your blog, guest-post on other blogs or just write a few pieces for the heck of it.

List out ideas – Now that you have the time, look around you – there are ideas everywhere. Make a list of article ideas that inspire you and pitch them to magazines and online publications. While you are at it, explore new writing markets, read back issues of new magazines and get in touch with the editors. Research takes up a lot more time than actually writing a piece.

Network, network, network – If your current clients aren’t able to provide you with enough work, go scouting for new ones. Apply to freelance writing jobs, get in touch with prospective clients and ask them if they’d like to hire you for any freelancing assignments. I sometimes shoot a mail to my older clients asking if they have something I could help them with, and that has worked out pretty well for me. There are some definite advantages in reviving old client relationships – you are already in-sync with each other’s style of working, payments are never a problem and you know what they expect out of you.

Market your services – Although this is something you should be doing all through, slow periods give you all time to craft an effective marketing strategy. If you haven’t already, consider building a professional website, and update your profile on LinkedIn. Don’t shy away from cold-calling or mailing your contacts with a list of services that you can offer.

Upgrade your skills – Take the time to read through prominent writing blogs and catch up on the latest trends. Learn the basics of SEO or figure out how to design and setup a simple wordpress site/ blog. If you happen to have any writing workshops or conferences in your neighborhood  sign up for them. In fact, several workshops and writing courses are now conducted online, and present a great platform for you to connect with other writers and learn from them.


  1. Superb article. Some things I know and I do while most of the others I was hesitant to. But I think I will pull socks up and go about what needs to be done.

    Thanks for the article.

  2. This article is a must read for every freelance writer. Superb work


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