How to Become a Freelance Writer

Freelance writing is a career path that is ideal for those who wish to potentially earn a good income and those who truly consider writing their passion. It is perfectly suited for someone who may not have a college degree but finds pleasure in writing about diverse topics. There is an abundance of online and print outlets that freelance writers can pursue writing for and although some outlets can be selective in their choice of writers, you should never give up on trying to break into the media outlets that you desire to write for. Moira Allen wrote about writing for publication in her book, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, when she said:
“Writing for publication is one of the most rewarding careers I can think of. It offers the opportunity for independence, creativity, and the occasional moment of fame. It allows you to speak to others—to entertain, to educate, to inspire, to motivate. It gives you a chance to earn an income by doing something you love. It may even give you a chance to change the world, or at least to improve one small corner of it, by giving your readers the tools they need to make their lives better. And there’s nothing like the thrill of seeing your name in print—not just the first time but every time!”
How would you define freelance writing though? It can be defined as a type of writing where the writer is self-employed and works independently writing what you choose to and then offering your work to markets that will publish your work. There are a variety of ways you can freelance including:
• Writing for magazines
• Writing for online periodicals such as webzines, e-mail newsletters, and websites affiliated with offline entities such as stores, catalogs, and media outlets
• Writing for newspapers
• Writing nonfiction books
• Writing and editing for businesses
• Editing and copy-editing
• Speechwriting
• Teaching
• Public speaking
• Writing educational and curricular materials
• Humor writing
• Writing essays
• Writing poetry
Freelance writing can really be adapted to your interests and passions so that you can write on whatever topic seems best suited for you. For example, as someone with disabilities, I have written pieces about disabilities for online media outlets and for a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals with a specific disability. There is a market out there for any type of writer and doing some online research or consulting the Writer’s Market published annually by Writer’s Digest will help you find the right market for you to enter.
In addition to writing for specific markets, you may also consider registering for one of the many websites available to find freelance work like Upwork.com, freelancewritinggigs.com, or freelancewriting.com. Upwork allows you to place bids for posted projects and if your bid and proposal is accepted you will be hired for the job you applied for. It is very similar to another website, Elance.com that will be shuttered by next year. You may not always be paid the highest rates but Upwork allows you to build a portfolio of work that can demonstrate your writing ability.
One thing to remember is that you will not necessarily earn a good living as a freelance writer in the beginning of your career. It takes time to build a reputation for the work that you have produced. If you’re a very talented writer you may be able to strike gold and earn high rates writing for major media outlets.
It is important to note that writing is something you must spend time on and practice regularly. I recommend that you take some online or in-person writing classes. Writing classes can be offered for a fee online, for free, or through your local college or community college. These classes can enable you to perfect your writing and work through any issues you may have encountered in the writing process. I have taken a few writing classes and I can’t say enough about what it has done for me as a writer.
Freelance writing is truly a fascinating career to pursue and one of the best perks of it is that you are able to work wherever you are most comfortable. There is no work dress code and you can even work in your pajamas! I have found that the opportunities I have found in my search for freelance jobs have enabled me to meet some interesting people and write things that I would have never considered writing about before.

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