Getting Started as a Freelance Writer

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The term “freelance writer” can encompass many things. It can include blog writing, writing business ads, articles, reports, and even creative writing. It all depends on your specific skills and experience. If you are a good writer, and you enjoy it, freelancing might be a good opportunity for you to earn money doing what you love. First things first, you have to know where to start.

Create Your Writing Resume

This is just like a regular resume except you are showcasing your skills as a writer. Start out with a basic list of any and all professional writing experience you have along with your specific skills. List writing strengths you honed in college, your creative writing experience, whatever you have that qualifies you for the job. Employers are going to view your resume before they make it to your portfolio.

Build a Portfolio

This is where you are going to store examples of your work. The more variety you have in your portfolio the better. These are the sample pieces that you will selectively send along with your resume and cover letter whenever you are applying for a freelance job. Anything that shows of your skills as a writer can be included in the portfolio. Short essays from college, samples of business writing you’ve polished, and anything else that is clean, and represents your talent as a writer.

Don’t have any experience or polished pieces? It’s not that difficult to get some.

-Start a blog and write on a variety of topics, whatever strikes you.
-Pick a topic that interests you and write a short report on it.
-Try your hand at a short story.
-Volunteer with a non-profit organization to write some material for them.
-Create your own website with lots and lots of content.
-Join an online writing community for feedback.

Check Out the Scene

Now that you’ve got your resume and portfolio together, check out blogs, web-zines, article databases, and varying websites. You will want to get a feel for what’s out there, formatting, and language that is commonly used in different written pieces. Write for practice on subjects that interest you.

Check out some of the larger freelancing websites out there. These are websites where writers can apply to job listings by category or genre. You don’t necessarily have to jump right in, but you can certainly browse around and get a feel for how things work. Odesk.Com and Elance.Com are two of the big players in this arena.

More Tips

Try to write at least a thousand words everyday whether it’s for profit or pleasure. Keep a journal and jot down your ideas for future articles or blogs. Also remember that the best writers are readers. Read everything you can get your hands on and pay close attention to the structure, language and flow of different types of writing. Dig out some of your old essays from college and go over them to check your progress as a writer. Re-writing some of those essays could be fantastic practice before you start applying for freelance jobs.

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