How to Get Started as a Freelance Writer

Getting Started

It is likely that you will have to start small. You may be able to get some paid jobs but they will be for very little pay, more than likely.  However, the resume addition as well as something to put in your portfolio is well worth the cheap pay.

Also, keep in mind that you are making connections, proving yourself and becoming more comfortable with each new job that you acquire.

Tips For Success

Be persistent

No one starts out writing and then becomes an award winning author within days, or even weeks.  If you are insanely lucky, you may be well-known within a few years.  But, that may not be the case either. You need to be in it for the long haul.

Writing takes a great deal of practice and the more you work at it, the better that you will get.  Look at every assignment as a paid education and try to get better each time.

Take the work seriously

Sometimes, people get into freelancing thinking that it will be easy money that they can make from home.  But, that is not the case.  Sure, if you are a good writer, you can certainly make a living as a writer.  But, if you never dive in to your career with true enthusiasm, you aren’t likely to meet your goals.

Set a schedule

If you are doing it part-time, then you need to set aside time outside of work hours for writing.  If you are working full time, then just write. Write as much as possible. Write for the entire workday of 8 hours. Don’t write for a half hour, get writer’s block and give up.  Push through those blocks. That is what all great writers have to do.

Have a social media and online presence

Like it or not, marketing yourself is a big part of being a freelance writer, until you have multiple active clients you will need to actively seek out your next job. Having a personal website where you can display examples of your best work is a great idea.

Having several active social media channels is also a great way to pull in new clients. I would recommend creating a LinkedIn profile if you don’t already have one. I don’t like using my personal Facebook account for work so I created a Business Page where I post updates on what I have been working on.

Learn to take rejection

You will probably hear the word “NO” quite often. It happens and you will survive. It happens a lot and if you don’t develop a thick skin you will be constantly feeling like crap.

So, instead of focusing on rejections, celebrate every single job that you get.  Motivate yourself by reminding yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day… your writing career won’t be either. Only the most persistent writers will succeed and, repeat after me, you can’t please everyone. 

How to Pitch an Article

Keep it short and sweet

Unless they request a full length transcript of the article (some do), the website isn’t looking for the entire story. They want a brief synopsis that sounds interesting and appropriate for their readers.  Keep it to a paragraph.

State your thesis or theme clearly

Be sure that the editors understand exactly what it is that you are proposing to write about. Are you going to write about baking? What kind of baking?  Why? Why should we care about baking?  What will the reader know or think when they are done reading?

Have clarity on what the site or publisher is looking for

The website, magazine, publisher or editor has very clear standards and guidelines for their site’s content. What do their readers want?  Does your article supply that to your audience?

keyboard on table with some article ideas

Write about things that interest you, if you can.

Do you have a child with autism or learning disorder?  Is your love of quilting second to none?  Whatever it is that makes you tick, that is what you are an expert about.  Your expertise will translate into great articles that you can get paid for.

Ultimately, you will need to choose whether you will be concentrating on a single subject or if you will start writing whatever you want and see where it takes you.  In addition, you will have to follow the guidelines of certain publications or clients.  So, sometimes it may not always be possible to write about everything that fascinates you.

That, however, is a learning process all in itself.  You should take those opportunities to become educated on new subjects and to test your writing abilities with challenging or boring topics.

Here are some of the things in your life that you can start considering when trying to decide what to write about:

1. Hobbies

Outdoor activities, hiking, camping, cooking, travel, swimming, food, cars, antiques, church, clubs, couponing, quilting, sewing, writing, painting, sculpting, crafts, scrapbooking, sketching, movies, entertainment, music, singing, instruments, and on and on the list goes.

2. Your relationships

Friendship, parenting, social relations, workplace problems or issues, human resources, hiring, management and leadership, etc.

3. Kids

Activities for kids, food for kids, parenting, educational games, toy reviews, kids’ clothes, parenting hacks, infant care, social skills, preschool emotional issues.

4. Sports

Pro sports, amateur sports, your sports hobbies, sports memorabilia, extreme sports, sports statistics, sports news, sports management, sports medicine, coaching, physical therapy, and more.

5. Finance and business

Saving money, investments, couponing, buying a new home, selling a home, starting your own business, social media marketing, college funds, getting out of debt, responsible credit, bankruptcy, rags to riches stories, multi-level-marketing, or working from home.

6. Romance and dating

Men and women’s differences, dating advice, sex tips, ideas for great romantic outings, spirituality the heart, marriage, making marriage work, marriage counseling.

7. Make-up and hair

Make-up tutorials, hair tutorials, celebrity hair, celebrity make-up, every day looks, simple hair, special event hair, make up reviews, hair product reviews, beauty hacks.

8. Fashion

Runway fashion, high end couture, casual and comfortable clothes, vintage clothing, dressing on a budget, celebrity fashion, everyday fashion, supermodels.

9. Social issues

Social injustice, human rights, politics, civics, local government, federal government, political watchdog pieces, op-ed pieces, sociology, anthropology, religion, humanities.

10. Science

STEM, girls in science, astrophysics, critical thinking, chemistry, science for kids, simple science tutorials or explanations.

11. How-to

Get the best deals, find the best hairstylist, cook an amazing meatball, meet the man of your dreams…. And the list keeps going.

You will need to take this seriously and work hard but it is certainly possible to make a good living working as a freelancer writer. You need to be networking, because it benefits everyone.  You simply can’t go wrong knowing more writers.  You also cannot get too much practice. Take whatever jobs that you can get, enjoy your work and keep at it. Good things are sure to happen!

Freelance Writing Sites to Check Out