How to become a freelance writer: 10 essential steps for starters
So you are passionate about writing and think that you can carve out a career in writing? Freelance writing may be the obvious choice for the level of freedom it affords you and the scope of work it provides. Here is what you need to do to become a freelance writer.
See if you can write:
This may seem a no-brainer, but many people believe that they can write but are unable to do it due to a lack of skills, good grammar, vocabulary or the temperament necessary to sit down with a pen and paper (or keyboard). Check your skills. See if you can clearly express yourself in words. Check your grammar and vocabulary. Test your persistence by writing an article or a story.
Once you have ascertained that you CAN actually write, you will need to think and decide a few things:
- Do you want to do this fulltime and earn your living through it or would you prefer writing part-time to supplement an existing income? Alternatively, is writing going to be a hobby?
- What kind of writing you are interested in? Fiction or non-fiction writing pays more, and there are more jobs available in this area, so you have to keep this in mind if you are aiming to earn through writing.
- Do you have a niche or are you going to write whatever is asked of you? A niche is great as you are writing about something you really know and may be an expert of. Besides, in the day and age of Internet there are too many people writing and jobs are easier to get if you have credentials in a specific field.
Once you have made your decision, the next step is to brush up your skills with a workshop or two. Better still; get a degree in Journalism or English. This will make you a more qualified candidate for jobs. If this is too ambitious or you cannot do it for some other reason, such as time or financial constraints, you might want to explore diplomas and online courses. This step is important, yet there are many who have made it out there without the degree.
Showcase Your Work:
If you have never published your work, this will be a good time to send an article to the local newspapers. Alternatively, you can also submit it online. Guest blogging and writing on websites that allow self-publishing is a great way to display your writing skills.
You may be a recluse but freelance writing requires an employer. You need someone to hire you to write. This entails joining forums, talking to people, following leads, and marketing yourself and your writing. Actually, be grateful for this, as most of your work is quite lonely.
Send query Letters:
You will need to send out letters to potential clients. Be upfront, state your credentials and purpose make a proposal, and use your writing skills to persuade them that you writing will add value to their work.
There are certain things you will have to prepare yourself for, like, having to write something you have no interest in. In addition, you will have to fight yourself and plough through it. However, more than that is prepared to learn that a passion loses some of its spark, as it becomes a job. This is a something all creative types have to face at some point.
Writing is solitary work, but as much as you enjoy your solitude, you do not want to feel lonely. Go out there every chance you get. Be around others. It will improve your work too.
Handle disappointments gracefully:
The world being what it is today; there will be disappointments and betrayals along the way. Try treating those as learning experiences.