While it’s true that finding work as a freelancer is partly a numbers game, it doesn’t mean that you should apply for every opportunity that you come across. Just like in the brick-and-mortar world, you have a better chance of being hired by a client if you can show that you are a good fit for the gig.
You only have a certain amount of time to either respond to ads or pitch potential clients, so you want to make the most of it. If you were billing a client for that time, you would make sure that you used it effectively, because it’s valuable. Why don’t you treat the time you spend building your business in the same way?
Take some time to consider your background, skills and abilities first. What kind of writing do you have experience with? What topics do you feel comfortable writing about? When you are looking at ads, respond to the ones that make you say to yourself, “I can do that” when you read them as opposed to, “It’s a job; I think I’ll apply anyway.”
There is room on your list to include new opportunities, too. If you stick to the same kind of work all the time, you don’t have the opportunity to grow as a writer. I’m all for applying for things that may be a bit of a stretch, but I would suggest that you take extra care with your application materials to show the client that your previous experience has prepared you for this new challenge.
Until a job ad reads, “I need a writer. Anyone with a pulse welcome,” you are going to need to sell yourself to the potential client as a quality candidate for the job. Figuring out what kind of opportunities you are best suited for and going after them means that you have a better chance of being hired.