Good days are here if writing is your first love. If penning down articles in the various magazines, newspapers and journals is your hobby from so long, then now is the time to make it your profession. There are thousands of opportunities out there available for the writers then you can imagine. These opportunities have opened the doors to take the freelance content writing as an earning for living. But if you are not so confident in the beginning, you can do it as a part-time, while continuing with your regular job, and once you are convinced that your bills can easily be paid with the money you are earning through freelancing, and then you can go for it as a full-time. One question will be running in your mind that how to become a freelance writer? What are the qualifications that a freelance writer must possess? What education is required to go for a freelance writer? All the answers on how to become a successful freelance writer are given here. Just read on and take your passion of writing to the next level and show your writing skills to the world.
What is Freelance Writing?
A freelance content writer is one who is self-employed and in most of the cases not attached to any particular employer for longer terms. As a freelance writer, you may write for a single company, without joining it, or even for an entity. However, you will always act as a small business of yours or an independent contractor. There may be times when a freelance worker can represent a temporary agency that resells freelancers to the clients.
Being a freelance writer, you have total freedom. You can start writing on the topics that you love, or you can try writing on the topics from a vast range. If in the beginning you want to focus on your particular industry, then there are numerous magazines or journals out there that are devoted to the specialties, more than you can imagine. You can also start your freelance writing career by working for corporate publications that aim directly customers or employees. Another option you can go for is to write for the bounty of e-zines (Electronic Magazines) that are trending on the internet.
But again, if you are a beginner and just starting your career as a freelance writer, then the most terrific way to start is to write on the subjects or topics in which you really are an expert. Doing so will help you in various ways, like you will be able to exercise your talents that will enhance your creativity on the continuous basis. You can also dive into the subjects that interest you most; you can give hours to this job according to your convenience. Moreover, this will add a certain amount of glamor, especially if you will be working on the material that is investigative. If you write on the topics, you are expert in, then there are fair chances that one of your articles may get picked up by any syndicated services. These syndicated services will also pay you for every newspaper in which your article will be published.
Becoming a freelance writer is not everybody’s cup of tea. You must possess a few skills that will help you while you walk on the path of becoming a successful freelance writer. The first skill that you must own is some creativity so that when you pen down your ideas, they are filled with some interesting facts. Secondly, you must know some technical skills so that you can put your information and ideas into a proper format, and that information and ideas must have top-notch punctuation, grammar, and spelling talents. Apart from this, you will also have to create content so that your target readers and editors will be interested in. Another important factor is the marketing of your content. It is highly important that the presentation and marketing of your content is done professionally so that it can sparkle and make itself standout among the competition, and also from the one which editors receive on a regular basis. Besides owning the above skills, you will also require some hardware that will allow you to grow your social network. You will require a laser printer, a computer, a fax machine, and the Microsoft Office software. Moreover, you must also own some reference books that include encyclopedia, a dictionary, style guides, and a thesaurus.
How To Be A Freelance Writer?
Now look at the things that you are going to need while you will be working real hard to fulfill your dream to become a freelance writer.
1. Be A Splendid Writer
It is already known to you that to be a freelance writer this skill is the primary one, but still there are times when people feel that they can write, but when the time comes to pen down the ideas, there is a lack of originality, self-discipline, and good grammar. Therefore, assure yourself that you do write well because it is the only medium through which you are going to prove yourself. You should be comfortable doing writing for almost every single day of your life, and there should be clarity and ease in the expression of your ideas. If you feel that you are not qualified enough, you can go for a journalism or English college degree, or consider taking a workshop which will give you at least some major ideas that are required in writing and also the terminologies used. Also before starting as a freelance writer do focus on the following points:
- If you already have some degree or diploma, do make use of it to support the expertise, because it will give you some extra edge in today’s competitive world. These will help you a lot because thousands of people out there are looking for the same opportunity but are not qualified enough to stand out in the crowd.
- Is your area of interest non-fiction or fiction or both? The reason for asking this question is that non-fiction is comparatively easier when it comes to selling your work. Therefore, do keep this in mind while you start your career as a freelance writer. But if you are writing for fun, you can go for any option wherever you feel comfortable.
- Also decide only at the beginning that you want to do freelance writing for making a living or just for fun, as it will affect your approach that you are going to take in the long run of your freelance career. Do not forget that taking freelance writing as your full-time career will require a lot of time to establish yourself and also extreme hard work.
You will have to put in hours and write something great if you want to get success, therefore, be ready to give all of your effort and time.
2. Get Comfortable In Communicating
This is second THE most important thing if you want to pursue your career as a successful freelance writer. You will have to reach out to other people, you will have to be more social and grow your network. You will have to be ready to market yourself if you want to pump up your business and to be the number one. Moreover, you will have to be fast and flexible in your work, and work according to the need and demand of your client, as these can change anytime. All of these things require superb interaction and negotiation skills. Most of the times the communication between you and the client will take place through the e-mails and hence you will have to initiate the conversations most of the times.
As part of this process, you will have to learn about the way to write a query letter. The reason is that a query letter gives the abstract introduction about you, your experience and qualifications and also what you propose to write. This letter is going to give a basic idea to the blow owner, editor or a website operator about you and will become a regular part of your communication process.
3. Turning Passion Into A Job May Be Hard
It is easy to write occasionally, but turning your passion of writing to a full-time job may be one thing you might sometimes hate doing, no matter how much you love writing. During these situations, you will have to learn a very important skill of “no matter what, you have to do it”, regardless of your desires to procrastinate, feelings and the temptations to rush through it. You can master this skill by pushing away the barrier of disliking it and taking it as a work so that more interesting and creative writing may come up. The majority of the freelance writer follow this strategy to maintain the quality of their work and also to enjoy their write ups.
4. Prepare Yourself For Good Money Management & Self Discipline
If you have decided that you want to pursue the freelance writing as your career, you must have to be highly responsible for your employers or clients and even for yourself. Follow these points to achieve this:
- Have a dedicated space for writing, keep everything organized like your reference books so that they are in your grabbing limits, all the equipment which you can use while writing, and also a decent ergonomic work station set-up.
- Prepare your financial systems before initiating your work and maintain it regularly while filing your taxes, reconciling your accounts and also during the invoicing. You cannot afford any problem when it comes to your income.
- Always work under deadlines, as working under them will develop a sense of urgency in you which is going to be very helpful in your long path of career. No matter whether you use an online reminder, a diary, a whiteboard, or a wall chart, always be sure to keep some deadline system near you so that you can have a glance on what writing work is left and what is the deadline to finish it. In this way, you can prioritize your work and also can save yourself from last minute rushes.
- Do not forget to communicate regularly to your employer or the clients, because it is very important that your clients feel comfortable talking to you and can continue doing business with you in the longer run. Always keep clients updated about your progress and instantly inform them if you face any issue.
5. Do Not Leave Your Day Job Instantly
If you are planning to write online, newspaper articles or a magazine, do not quit the day job until you start making enough money from the freelance writing, so that you can pay your bills with it. Therefore, you will have to complete your writing in the extra time you get, for example in the morning or the evening or even in the weekends. This is also the recommended way of starting as a freelance writer, because it gives you the chance to test yourself, whether you love working like this or not, also for the diverse range of topics and that also under pressure.
6. Join A Writers Community
There are numerous freelance writer associations and writing groups that are available throughout the internet. It is a good idea to join some of them so that you can meet other writers, get advice and information and also establish the credentials. You can even find the jobs related to writing, therefore being a part of these groups and association may give you a pay back in the longer terms.
Apart from joining the groups and associations, you must also consider going for some conventions and conferences whose sole focus is on freelance writing, authors and sometimes on general writing. By attending these associations, you can get a chance to meet various renowned publishing professionals or even with other freelance writers.
7. Build Your Portfolio
If you are in the early stage of your freelance writer career, it is important for you to build your portfolio. You can begin by working for non-paying, small publications and websites. In this way, you will gain experience, build rapport with the clients and also some of your articles will be published with your name on them. All these things you can show to other clients and employers. A portfolio can be a big help for established publications in considering you seriously as their employee. These are some essential points that you must consider when kick starting your career as a freelance writer. Now look at some of the essential qualities that every freelance writer must possess.
Qualities Of A Good Freelance Writer
Some of the qualities that are important for every freelance writer include the following:
Do keep in mind that building a blog and working as a freelance writer both require a thrust. So, if you already have a secured job and want to pass your spare time by doing freelance writing, then this is not the place for you. Therefore, if freelance writing is the only way to earn living for you, then you can become a successful blogger or a freelance writer, because at that time you do not have any other option and hence, will want it badly. Also, you will die for the recognition and need the money that you can get from writing. So, hunger is one important quality you must have if you want to achieve success as a freelance writer.
Always remember, you cannot be a writer unless you do not have the courage to face the rejection. There may be times when you have put into hours and have created a superb content for the client, and he may reject it. In this case do not quit, but push yourself with confidence and be brave because you have something unique that you can offer to the world. You may be a brilliant writer, but if you do not possess the courage to publish it, then forget building a career in freelance writing.
If you really want to be a successful freelance writer, then you cannot afford missing the above points, because as it is said- ‘Success comes to those who dare and act’, so push yourself, follow your passion of writing and show it to the world.