How to Become a Freelance Writer

So, when did you decide to become a freelance writer? (the emphasis being on writer)

The answer should be “I didn’t”.  Why?  Because you either are one or you aren’t.  I realise that it makes my impression of the writing community somewhat clique but, that’s not my intention.  My point is that, writing is a need not just a want which means that to stay motivated enough to keep writing  – even about things that you aren’t particularly interested in – you need to need, to write.

Making money from writing can be tough.  There are a lot of opportunities out there – thousands in fact but, there always seems to be more writers.  And, with so many writers being willing to do it for free or a ridiculously low amount of money, to actually make enough money to live just through freelance writing can feel very unstable.

Notice that I have used words like ‘tough’ and ‘unstable’?  Notice that I didn’t say impossible?

What sort of writer are you?  In-line with any sensible marketing strategy, you need to be focused so that you can create confidence in your services for your target market.  If you prefer or are better at writing in an instructional style then perhaps you should promote your technical authoring services.  Although you do not have to choose one specialism, it is a good idea to broadly focus on one area at a time when promoting yourself.  For instance, if you like creative writing but also know that you can keep the money flowing through writing say, reviews, you should separate the two ‘brands’.

Start writing and keep writing.  Would you buy a car without even seeing a picture of it first? I didn’t think so.  It is therefore completely reasonable for potential clients to want to see your work before they recruit you.  This makes it a worthy investment of your time and efforts to start and maintain a portfolio of writing and with so many free to use facilities available, WordPress being just one of them, there is no excuse not to have a content rich portfolio.  This also serves a double purpose; many clients ask for a sample article of their choice to be written.  Why should you write for free?  Instead you can point them in the direction of your portfolio where they can see variety of samples.

The keep writing part in my opinion, is a very important step towards becoming a freelance writer.  This is because, if you find a job you want to bid for and in response start writing and publishing lots of suitable articles, given that everything is date stamped when publish digitally, you would not look like the experienced writer that you are.  So, start writing and keep writing regardless of whether you have a job in mind or not.

“Writing is like prostitution.  First you do it for love…and then for money” (Moliere)

I didn’t even like that quote when I first stumbled upon it and now I have used it in two of my blog posts.

If you are trying to become a freelance writer you need to know that this quote will come true – no matter how much you tell yourself that you will only write about things you are genuinely interested in.  Truth is, as much as that ideal doesn’t seem like a hard feat, if you are a freelance writer who seriously wants to make some money from writing instead of some loose change, you cannot close so many doors.  It means that you will look at how much your client’s budget is before you think too in-depth about the job itself.   However, this will always make the writer in you feel unfulfilled after all, isn’t the dream to see your name in the place of J.K. Rowling on bookshelves everywhere?  This doesn’t mean a complete loss as since you are now in-the-know, you can think of ways to ensure that your creative side is well-balanced with your business side.  And hey, the prospect of the business side coinciding with the creative side may not be frequent but, it can happen.

Despite the many obstacles or uphill climbs that a freelance writer faces, one should not lose hope – keep trying to write your way out of a 9 to 5 and eventually, you will.


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