The other day I was roaming around the internet (goofing off when I should have been writing) and I saw a post from a newbie writer on how to begin a freelance writing career.
I remember many moons ago when I first decided I wanted to become a freelance writer. Basically I dragged my feet until money accidentally started coming in. If I were asked the question how should I start to become a freelance writer, here are a few tips I would give:
- Don’t quit your day job. Nothing is more frustrating than constantly checking numbers, looking at rejections and feeling the writing pressure when you first start out. Do yourself a favor and remove the financial stress and strain from freelance writing by maintaining your current means of earning money.
- Take advantage of the internet. A long time ago, I would probably have suggested that you begin by reading magazines, newspapers, periodicals and sending query letters. I would have told you to get the latest version of the Writers Market and start doing research on the markets you would like to write for and begin sending effective query letters.That advice has changed. Use the internet to find writing gigs. Sites like FreelanceWriting.com, Craigslist and a host of other sites list writing jobs for freelance writers. I got my first paying gig through the Freelance Writing Job database. As a newbie I would stay away from bidding sites until you get a better feel for what you truly want to do and the type of writing you feel most comfortable with.
- Join residually paying sites. No longer do you have to worry about building up a portfolio or resume of writing assignments. All you have to do is write quality content for sites like Suite 101, Associated Content, Today.com or your own blog to evidence your writing abilities. Back when I started, I created my own website and placed a few articles with my own byline. It worked to get me several writing gigs.
- Hone your craft and learn to take constructive criticism. It’s not a personal affront, but any type of artist has to learn to accept criticism if they want to get paid for their craft. If you don’t want to get paid, then criticism is a whole different ball of wax.
- Follow and learn from successful freelance writers. Read around. There are plenty of blogs on the internet and websites that offer information and tricks on how to earn money. Most of the information is free.
- Do it afraid. If you are a brand new freelance writer, you’re going to be afraid. So you’ll just have to write afraid until you are no longer afraid. There are occasions where I write afraid, but I still write. It’s something like drawing. Before I had kids I used to have time for a hobby and I used to draw. Every time I faced the blank paper, I would get afraid until I picked up the pencil and started to sketch. The more I sketched, the more the fear would dissipate until finally passion replaced the fear. It’s the same thing with writing. Write afraid until your passion replaces your fear. If the passion never replaces the fear, its time for you to consider whether or not getting paid to write is for you.
Success comes when your passion and your desire to achieve your goal is larger than your excuses.