So, you want to be a freelance writer?
Freelance writing provides an opportunity to get paid for writing and generate an unlimited amount of income, with the perks of working from home and a flexible work schedule. However, it requires discipline, business skills and a degree of self-promotion.
Characteristics of a Successful Freelance Writer
There are a number of factors that differentiate superior writers from those that abandon the field after a few attempts. Here are some of the qualities of a skilled freelancer:
Writing Ability. It may seem obvious, but a fledgling freelance writer should possess a basic knowledge of sentence construction, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Before you bill yourself as a writer, spend some time in perfecting your skills. In addition to being able to write well, you should know how to conduct research on any given topic. Fortunately, the Internet is an abundant resource for information on all types of subject matter.
If you feel you need help in cultivating or refining your writing skills, there are many exercises and workshops and online learning courses on the Internet. Your local community college may also offer classes specifically for freelance writers.
Discipline. As a freelance professional, you must be a self-starter on many levels. You must be able to establish your goals and outline how to meet them. Analyze your schedule and determine how much time you can devote to your work each day.
Professionalism. The best freelance writers establish and develop strong relationships with their clients. From your first assignment with a given customer, you need to display a professional demeanor as well as willingness to hone your content until it meets the client’s approval.
If you intend to make money from writing, you must publicize yourself. Write a resume that focuses on your writing activities. Create a portfolio of your writing samples. Start a website or a blog. Print business cards that identify you as a writer. Join online writing communities to make contacts.
With the ever-increasing amount of content on the Internet, there are countless opportunities for competent freelance writers. Your ability to generate income depends upon the quality and quantity of your output. Some freelancers earn more than $100,000 annually, but this is not typical. It takes time to build a business, and most freelance writers earn less than $10,000 in their first year.
The Internet abounds with companies that provide writing assignments or encourage you to submit your own content. Depending upon the payment structure, you will be compensated on a per-article basis, or perhaps on the number of people that read your content.
Contact your local newspaper to investigate freelance writing opportunities. A few well-written contributions may lead to ongoing work or salaried employment. National magazines tend to pay well, but competition is intense. Publications such as Writer’s Market provide a wealth of information on writing opportunities.
But what should you be writing about? And who will pay for you? Good questions. Give these sites a look:
- Writers Weekly
- Strong Whispers
- WOW! Women On Writing
- College Humour
- Scary Mommy
Writing demands the conflicting skills of creativity and self-discipline. It is easy to become frustrated, especially when facing a tight deadline. When this happens, step away from your assignment. Take a walk. Get some exercise. Research your subject on the Internet to learn how other writers have approached it. All of these steps might help you obtain a fresh perspective and deliver a polished product.
Good luck on becoming a successful freelance writer!