How to Become a Professional Freelance Writer
If you have a knack for writing and are young professional, a recent graduate, or you are considering a career in journalism, you might want to consider a getting started in professional freelance writing. Here are a few things you should know about finding opportunities and developing a portfolio to give you the edge over other young professionals:
- Freelance Websites:
- Print or Online Magazines and Newspapers:
- Be Persistent:
- Broaden Your Skills:
There are several different ways to get started with freelance writing, but many new writers are turning to one of the several freelance sites that allow you to build profiles, maintain portfolios and essentially put you front and center of hundreds of potential clients looking to capitalized on your unique skill.
These sites are inexpensive to join and usually give you the opportunity to write as little or as much as you’d like. Some clients look towards hiring for the long-term so after a time working through these third party sites, you may find yourself receiving a job offer to make you a permanent part-time or full-time employee.
Another popular source for freelance writing work is directly contacting some of your favorite magazines or newspapers to inquire about writing opportunities. To start you may only be given a few assignments and won’t be paid very much, but after a while you may become a featured writer with a regular column.
When pitching to magazine or newspapers it’s important to keep your inquiry short and direct. They receive hundreds of submissions each week and the last thing they want to do is read a long letter about your hopes and dreams. Just state your intention and what you can immediately bring to their organization.
It’s important to remember that you must be persistent. You can cast a wide net and apply to dozens of work opportunities or you can focus on just a handful, but you must always remember that you have to follow-thru and find out whether or not you are being considered.
Don’t be discouraged by the occasional or frequent rejection. It’s rare to immediately find a client who will love your content and want to keep you on for the long term. You’ll have to work hard to earn that right, so don’t let small hurdles bring you down.
Be sure you take the time to improve your existing or develop new sets of writing skills. The more you know about different styles and formatting the more likely you will be in landing more than a handful of clients. If your only talent is technical writing then pick up some skills in conversational-style writing. If you’re really good at writing resumes then you might want to add something along the lines of travel writing. Broaden your skills and more opportunities will come your way.