So you want to be a freelance writer? Great. However, do you have the skills and commitment required? Consider the following and decide if this is the path for you:
You may have some great ideas and a passion to write about a specific subject matter. Many other people do too. It is your writing that will make you stand out. It is important to have good grammar, correct spelling and the ability to write with clarity for the reader to understand what you are trying to say. For some people, writing is a natural gift. Others may need to work at it a little more. If writing is not something that comes naturally to you or you need some help enhancing your writing skills then consider taking a college degree or a creative writing or journalistic workshop. Not only will you be able to work on your writing but also employment doors may be opened to you if you have relevant courses on your c.v.
Why do you want to write?
Are you interested in writing fiction, non fiction or both? Are you writing for a living or is it something you do as a hobby with little interest in financial gain? Consider your motivation in why you want to write. If you intend for it to be a career then you must work at your writing skills. You will also need patience as you may not make a lot of money straight away. Seek out websites, newspapers and magazines who may benefit from your writing and be persistent. If your work is rejected then work on it if the publisher requires changes. You will need a hard skin to shield yourself from setbacks but perseverance can often lead to rewards. Decide if you are willing to be committed to pursuing freelance writing, whatever the cost to your feelings and pocket. You may need to write about subjects that you are not passionate about but treat them as if you were.
If you want to make yourself heard in this competitive market you will need to promote yourself. Creating a website or a blog can be a good way of having an online portfolio. Approach potential employers with links to your writing or website and give them an example of what you could offer them. You will need to seek out these contacts as it is unlikely they will come to you until you have made a name for yourself. Sell yourself to editors and website operators. Perhaps send them an article that you think they may accept. Don’t expect payment for it as it may not be accepted but at least you are letting them know you exist.
Freelance writing is not a job with a regular income. You may need to remain on employment benefits or work part time to ensure that you have some money coming in whilst you pursue this career. It may be a long time before you make some real money. Once money does start coming in you will need to be familiar with managing your accounts, taxes, and invoicing. You may need to seek some advice with an accountant or money management firm if you are not comfortable with being self employed.
The Writing Community
Consider joining a writing group that meets locally to you, or even an online community. This way you will meet others who share the same writing interest as you and they may be able to offer advice. Attend seminars, conferences and readings by other writers and network with others at these meetings. Be a face in the writing community. Be seen and make yourself known to others. You may make some valuable contacts who will assist you on your writing journey.
So are you cut out to be a writer? I hope so. Seeing your work published can be very rewarding. It is very important though that you commit yourself to the craft of writing. Being able to write is a must, as is having the ability to sell yourself to others. You have to be prepared to suffer possible financial hardship and rejection but with perseverance and hard work on your part you may be able to break through into success. Good luck.