How Do I Start a Writing Career? Freelance Writing 101
Photo by Alizée Baudez
Originally Posted On: https://www.iwriter.com/blog/how-do-i-start-a-writing-career-freelance-writing-101/
What if you could share your story with the entire world?
As a writer, you can share your voice and speak your truth whenever you want. The hard part, however, is turning it into a career.
So many people ask themselves, “how do I start a writing career?” It sounds like a simple question, but it’s one you could spend your whole life answering.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait that long. That’s because we put together our guide to starting a freelance writing career today!
Do Your Homework
The journey towards a writing career is often a long one. The first step, then, is to do your homework about various aspects of the writing industry.
For instance, there are many different writing gigs out there. Do you want to be a blogger or a content marketer? Or perhaps a social media manager or a white paper author?
Understanding what’s out there can help you find your niche (more on this in a minute). If possible, you should talk to current freelancers (in your network or via social media) and find out how they got their start. If you’re lucky, they may even help you land your first gig.
This first step may not sound very exciting, but the homework you do now can help you define the rest of your career.
Find Your Niche
Every industry and topic that you can think of needs good writers. However, you can’t write about anything and everything. That’s why it’s important to find your writing niche.
If you love movies, music, and gaming, you may want to write in the entertainment sphere. If you know how to make other people money, you may want to write in finance or marketing spheres.
Finding your niche often involves leveraging either your passions or your background. In the case of entertainment writing, you’re turning your passionate hobbies into a writing career. But with finance and marketing, you may be drawing on your educational or employment background.
While finding a niche is very important, don’t be afraid to stretch different muscles from time to time. You may now know how well you can write about certain topics and industries until you try it!
The Right Tools
New writers are sometimes surprised to hear they need good writing tools. While your mind and a keyboard are your primary moneymakers, a variety of apps can make your life much easier.
If you haven’t done so already, you should start writing in a cloud-based platform like Google Docs. It will instantly save your progress as you write and let you access your work from anywhere in the world.
You should also learn how to use tools like the Hemingway App. This website lets you paste your content and get a verdict about your reading level and your use of things like modifiers and passive voice.
Reading level is especially important because many clients won’t want text above a 9th or 10th grade reading level. Using this app can help you achieve the target reading level while mastering the art of online writing (which is very different from academic or fiction writing).
Finally, don’t discount things like a simple notebook that you keep by your bedside. You never know when you’ll wake up with a good idea and need to write it down!
Sometimes, starting a freelance writing career feels like a paradox. Prospective clients want to see what you have written already. But what if you haven’t written for a client yet?
Nothing keeps you from self-publishing your writing to sites such as Medium or to a personal website. You can then use your online writing (paid or otherwise) to create a digital portfolio.
The portfolio is the single best way to show clients what your writing quality and style is like. You can add to your portfolio as your career grows. And you can save prospective clients a lot of time by linking to that portfolio in your resume and job applications.
Now comes the really hard part. It’s time to find some clients! To do this, you must understand the different types of clients out there.
Generally, your best-paying work will come from pitching to different clients. The bigger the client, the bigger the paycheck. But you’ll need to really knock their socks off by making a killer pitch.
You will make less per word by writing for a writing agency. At the same time, such agencies offer a steady flow of work, which is good if you’re worried about where your next check will come from.
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for full-time work as a blogger, content writer, editor, or social media manager. You’ll get full-time pay and benefits, all while seriously beefing up your portfolio. And you can always transition back to freelance life whenever you want.
Keep an eye on different writing boards throughout the week to uncover these opportunities. And before applying, take some time to think about what your desired per-word writing rate will be. You don’t want to scare clients off, but you also don’t want to price yourself into the poorhouse.
Let’s say you have a digital portfolio and a few clients under your belt. How do you transition this experience into a real career? By relentless self-promotion!
Try creating an entire website to go with your digital portfolio. Also, promote yourself across different social media channels. Your ultimate goal is to have clients come to you instead of the other way around.
Consider writing guest posts for bloggers who work in similar industries. This gives you valuable experience and connections while also getting your name out there.
Make no mistake: self-promotion is one of the most important parts of your writing. And marketing yourself is the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career.
How Do I Start A Writing Career? Write Here, Write Now!
Now you have an answer to, “How do I start a writing career?” But what if you could kick off that career today?
We specialize in linking writers and buyers together so that everyone walks away happy. To see what we can do for your writing career, contact us today!