Three weeks ago we stumbled upon a house that just went on the market. It was completely remodeled and priced so low that we simply had to snatch it up before someone else made an offer. We weren't planning on buying a house this year, but you never know what blessing will be thrown your way.
The same holds true for freelance writing. You never know when a new prospect will be thrown your way, but you must be prepared and willing to jump in before you lose it.
How do you stay prepared?
Keep a list of article ideas on topics that you frequently write about so that you can whip up an article idea list for a client at a moment's notice. Have a list of experts that you can contact for quickie interviews and quotes. Keep an "emergency" work hour open for new clients. You can make this hour separate from your regular working hours and only use it when you are in dire need. It can be the hour before your family wakes up or the hour after everyone else goes to bed, for example.