Infomediaku.net | How to Become a Freelance Writer [ 12 Easy Guide for You]
There are hundreds of thousands of writing opportunities available out there. A freelance writer certainly wouldn’t miss such an opportunity. Perhaps that is one of the attractions offered to those who want to try a career as a freelance writer.
A freelance writer is someone who works to produce written work, but is not tied to any company or entity, and operates like a small business or independent contractor.
Pursuing a career as a full-time freelance writer can be life support, or you can also do it part-time as additional income. There are also many people who become freelance writers just to channel their writing hobby or want to build a broader portfolio.
12 Ways to Become a Freelance Writer
This article will provide basic knowledge that can serve as a guide for those looking to become involved in freelance writing, whether as a career or a hobby.
1. Be a Good Writer
To become a freelance writer, of course, you need to be able to produce good writing. Many people believe that they have writing skills, but their writing lacks originality, displays poor grammar, and self-discipline suggests otherwise.
Make sure you feel comfortable writing because it’s the medium you will use to express yourself easily and clearly, and you don’t mind doing it almost every day of your life, without pauses.
If you don’t already have a writing qualification, there is nothing wrong with taking a bachelor’s degree in journalism or English, or taking a course so that you can find out what writing requirements require, and the terminology to use.
Even if you already have a degree in a field unrelated to the world of writing, it will be easier for you to earn a writing certificate or find a job as an entry-level copywriter or editor in a field that suits your major.
- Decide which one you prefer, fiction or nonfiction, or maybe both? But remember, nonfiction is easier to sell than fiction. So, take this into account when making your choice. If you are writing for a hobby, there are plenty of opportunities to experiment.
- Decide what your writing goal is. Is it for making a living, earning extra money, or just having fun? The reasons behind your decision to enter freelance writing will influence the approach you take in your freelance writing profession. Please remember that relying on freelance writing as your main income will take a lot of hard work and persistence to “raise” your name in this area. So, be prepared to devote your energy and time to achieve it.
- If you already have qualifications, such as a degree or diploma, don’t forget to use them to support your expertise. Having a qualification is essential in the highly competitive world of freelance writing, let alone many people who want the same thing, while they do not have qualifications that stand out.
2. Practice Your Communication Skills
If you don’t want to be a novelist living alone in poverty, then you have to connect with a lot of people as a freelance writer. You have to be able to market yourself, create something compelling to generate business, and pursue opportunities.
You also need to be able to adapt to the needs and demands of your client or employer, all of which require good negotiation and interaction skills. Luckily, most communication can be done via email, and that means you can rely on your writing skills to connect with clients.
However, you also have to prepare yourself to promote yourself out there, not just sit around waiting for job opportunities to come your way.
- Communicating through writing is important, you must know how to write a cover letter for a script. A cover letter explaining the concept of what you want to write, along with a brief description of your experience and qualifications. This letter sells your idea to an editor, blog owner, or website manager and will become a regular communication tool. The sooner you become comfortable with this communication tool, the better.
3. Turning Creative Activities.
No matter how much you love writing, now and then there will be a writing job that you will not like. In situations like these, you have to learn the art of “just doing it” regardless of how you feel, and how much you want to procrastinate, and the temptation to rush it.
Those who have crept across the world of writing are breaking down the barrier of dislike by treating the job as it is while waiting for more interesting jobs to emerge. Some freelance writer find it helpful to keep writing for themselves on the side. That way, at least there was something they could write down purely for fun.
4. Balance the Enjoyment of Work
Working at home or alone can sometimes be lonely (no matter how much you love writing) and you can feel as if you are working in the void. Part of the workaround is to accept the unusual (and often liberating) nature of being a freelance writer; another part is going out and hanging out with as many people as possible.
Work without location restrictions by buying a notebook or laptop, and portable Wi-Fi access so you can write around other people when you feel lonely.
For example in a cafe, library, park, or anywhere else that makes you feel part of the community again.
You may need to do it regularly, or only occasionally. Find your own rhythm and don’t lock yourself in the house all the time.
5. Adopt Great Self-Discipline
If you plan to pursue a career in freelance writing, then you need to have a sense of responsibility towards your client or employer, and yourself.
- Set up a financial system before you start hiring and become familiar with your invoicing, tax filing, and account reconciliation methods. You can’t be careless when it comes to income!
- Make it good organization: prepare a special room for writing, keep all reference books in one place with easy access, all the writing equipment needed works well, a fairly ergonomic work desk. Writing every day can have a bad impact on your posture if you don’t pay close attention!
- Have a good deadline system. Whether you are using a diary, an online alert system, a wall chart, a whiteboard, or whatever, make sure you have a system that lets you see which jobs are nearing their deadlines and for whom. That way, you can prioritize accordingly and don’t have to finish writing in a hurry.
- Have good and regular communication. It is imperative that you feel comfortable communicating with others to ask for explanations, to assure them of your skills and abilities to meet deadlines and to keep clients and employers up to date on the extent to which your work is progressing and any issues that may arise.
- Don’t take over the job. As part of a good organization, you know the extent of your capacity. Once you find a regular writing rhythm, don’t be lulled by the false confidence that instills the belief that you can handle more work. Remember to maintain a good balance in your daily life.
6. Set Goals and Keep Working
If you plan to write magazine articles, online publications, and newspapers, don’t leave your main job until you have made enough money to support your lifestyle. That means you have to do writing activities in the mornings or evenings or whenever you have free time, for example on weekends.
There’s nothing wrong with practicing exploring your writing aspirations with such an arrangement so that you get a chance to see if you can enjoy writing under pressure and tackling a variety of different topics. In addition, the practice also gives you the opportunity to find out if your writing is good enough.
- Go to a bookstore, go to the references section, and buy a book that can give you directions for easy-to-understand writing.
- There are various exercises you can do to improve your skills as a writer, for example sending letters to local newspaper editors, writing letters for church newsletters, and creating blogs.
7. Participate Actively in the Writing Community
You can find writing groups and freelance writer associations in a variety of countries and there’s nothing wrong with joining them so you can meet other writer, get information and advice, and build on quality as a writer.
Do an internet search for organizations in your area or country. Look for a group that regularly holds meetings, seminars, invites guest speakers and provides advice on all aspects of writing including publishing and marketing it, and has publisher relationships and networking opportunities.
Groups like these can also be a reliable source of job prospects. By being part of this group, you can benefit in terms of contacts and job offers.
- Attend conferences and conventions that focus on freelance writing, writing and writing only. At this event, you can meet publishing professionals and have the opportunity to network with other freelance writer.
- If you happen to live in the United States, you can subscribe to “The Writer,” a publication that provides information and advice on writing cover letters, finding a publisher, and how to run a writing business. These magazines are a great source of reference if you are serious about pursuing a career as a full-time magazine writer.
8. Decide What Kind of Writing You Want to Do
Today there are many options including writing for print media (magazines, trade publications, newsletters, and newspapers) and online writing. It is possible to do both, although you will feel overwhelmed when you try to keep them.
Even within the sphere of online writing, there are many possibilities, including blogging, guest blogging activities (writing a blog not on a personal blog page but on someone else’s blog, public blogs, or blog directories), writing a website with a specific topic (e.g., friendly living environment, pet grooming, collectibles, and so on), writing inexpensive articles for websites (usually varying in quality), and much more.
There are also opportunities to do official writing for the government, but for this type of writing, you will often need qualifications and experience in the policy-making area you are writing about. Contact companies that handle this type of writing and ask them what they need.
- Be aware that many print publications such as newsletters and trade publications are either done by the company itself or delegated to other companies that specialize in writing. In this case, you will have a greater chance of having companies willing to freelance work on a variety of different topics using their contacts. They will take a commission, but you will benefit from their expertise and an established market.
9. Start Looking for Writing Opportunities to Build a Portfolio.
In the early stages, it is important to structure credentials and build a portfolio. The simplest way to get started is probably to write for small free publications and websites.
By writing for smaller publications, you will gain experience, gain recognition, and have many articles published in your name so that they can be shown to clients and employers. You need that portfolio for an established publication to count and hire you. Visit a local library for a list of publishers and ideas for who to contact.
- Submit a poem or story for a children’s magazine.
- If you are a teenager, join the school yearbook committee and submit articles for the school newspaper. Think of this as a good exercise to support a future freelance career.
- If you’re a student, write a strong, well-written essay for coursework that you can publish at a later date. You can also offer your services in writing labs, and write articles for student newspapers, literary magazines, and alumni magazines.
- For adults, start by offering writing to reputable online sites that accept outside articles. Contact website and blog owners you admire and explain that you are building a portfolio and want to write some articles for free in exchange for having your name published. If you are managing a blog or website yourself, this step can help you as you can include it as a backlink with your name.
- Nonprofits can also be good places to look for writing opportunities. Take the time and effort and get your writing published in their newsletters and publications. You can then put it in your portfolio.
- Turn your best articles into PDF documents that can easily be emailed to potential employers or clients.
10. Try to Take the Initiative and Start Job Hunting.
If you feel you are able to write professionally, think about something you would like to write about, then start contacting the relevant parties. Find a publisher that suits your taste, then read their guidelines. Again, it needs to be stressed that sending cover letters and articles unrelated to their publication is just as bad as going to a job interview without researching the company first.
Know your market and target audience. Also, always send cover letters to major publishing houses before submitting a finished article, unless you send it as a speculation article, or you don’t mind wasting valuable time writing an article that will never get published.
- For newspapers: Send the manuscript cover letter to the city/lifestyle/sports editor at the local newspaper and ask if they are interested in publishing an article on the topic. Include the first paragraph of your article and an outline of the other paragraphs. Call them in two weeks if you don’t get a response. You can take another approach by sending them a finished article to consider as speculation. In this case, the editor will read it, but not necessarily publish it.
- Magazines and other major publications: Think about the topics you want to write about, then send cover letters to the editors of the relevant major publishers and ask if they are interested in publishing articles on that topic. Include the first paragraph of your article and an outline of the other paragraphs. Contact them after four to six weeks if you don’t get a response.
- Online publications: Check online job listings for positions of columnist, blog writer, web content creator, and other writing jobs. Use the cover letter approach to email when appropriate, or simply respond directly to job descriptions. To guest blog, explain that you have read and enjoyed the blog in question and write down short, sweet suggestions. Popular blogs are flooded with guest blogging requests so your writing should grab the attention of the blog’s readers. For article sites, if they ask you to apply to become an official writer then go ahead and provide the necessary supporting information and prove your qualifications. For websites that only ask you to join, sign up and join, but don’t rely on these kinds of sites for your main source of income!
11. Write Your Article
If you haven’t submitted a complete article, just an introduction, it means it’s time to start writing once the client or employer confirms they want your writing.
(Congratulations to you!) Write articles in a brilliant and unique way that is your own signature and avoid copying other people’s writing styles. Of course, you have to follow the requirements given by the publication in question, but try to avoid clichés, old sentences, uninteresting essays, and very boring content. You understand that already, right?
Have a thesaurus, dictionary, and grammar books nearby at all times. If you are writing in a language that is not your native language, or in another dialect, have a grammar reference book ready for that language.
12. Look for Freelance Writing Jobs that Provide a Steady Income
Many opportunities exist, both in print and online. The difficulty is competition. So try to keep your writing style sharp and attractive, a detailed contact list, and keep motivation motivated.
Continue to improve your writing skills by reading a lot, attending relevant meetings or seminars, and constantly updating your knowledge in the areas that you are writing about. This step is especially important if you are writing in fields that are changing rapidly, such as technology and fashion.
Update your portfolio every time your article is published.
Learn from the editor’s comments. Fix your grammar mistakes, correct heavy and difficult sentences, and celebrate the fact that someone gave you valuable advice on improving your writing skills.
- Before submitting an article to a major publisher, make sure you read the guidelines they provide. Many good posts are rejected because the author is too lazy to comply with these guidelines.
- Appreciate any advice a professional editor gives. They are the best writing tutors available for any field of fiction or commercial writing, much better than you can in the classroom. They have the skills to recognize good writing and polish it to the best. If they make scathing comments in rejection, take advantage of that suggestion and apply it to your other writing as well. You will be surprised to see improvements in your writing.
- There are plenty of writing opportunities available online, but giving a list of potential websites here doesn’t seem fair to look down on other websites that aren’t on the list. In addition, the accuracy of the information cannot be guaranteed due to the constantly changing nature of online sites. This is the problem online freelance writer face: determining which websites are trustworthy and worth working on and which ones will hurt. A number of well-known article websites have a tendency to change their policies without notice, causing confusion or even ejection from the website. The principle you can apply is to be prepared for changes in the online environment and not to put all your eggs in one basket. That way, if something bad happens to one website, you still have another website to rely on.
If you’re visiting a writing website to see if the place is right for you, here are a few things to consider:
- Does the website have a good reputation? This is important for your own reputation and the survival of the website itself.
- Is the pay fair? Online writing jobs, in general, don’t promise big fortunes, but some pay better than others, and if you can rely on such sites, even better.
- Are payments made on time? It is clear that some clients or employers will do better than others. Over time, you will learn to select those who pay, either out of necessity or out of frustration and anger at those who don’t pay on time or don’t pay at all. Keep an eye on writer’s forums and bulletin boards for information from other writer about those with poor paying reputations and stay away from them.
- Does the website have a quota? A quota means no matter how good your writing is and even if it has been approved, the site may have hit the quota and refuse to publish it. If you don’t like a system like this, then don’t write for a website that implements it.
- Is there good communication from employers or clients? Lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings or bad interactions.
- Do you have to bid to get a job? Some sites ask you to bid. That means you have to understand the bidding system, have enough knowledge to use it comfortably, and be prepared to provide a competitive (or lower) price.
- What language style is used for article writing? If you write in an online environment, you must follow the applicable policies. The choice of diction is usually adjusted to the target audience. Some websites usually have their own environment, depending on the topic and target audience.
- Great success is usually achieved by choosing ideas in the areas you are most familiar with and are good at.
- Prepare a special room at home for writing activities. On tax reporting, you can claim the room as a business expense. Consult your accountant or tax office for more information.
- Keep receipts. Many purchases are likely to reduce taxes. It is better if you save your receipts properly rather than lose their potential value.
- While the income you can make for articles already published on the website is great, do not become complacent and give up trying to be better. Changes are always happening and articles can be removed or updated without notice and suddenly your income is lost or in free fall.
- Keep an honest financial record. Most countries apply income tax.
- Ask for payment in advance or in part. Payment in advance or in part will protect you from working in vain with those with poor payment systems.
- Never relax when working with a website that holds reader input. Negative feedback can make it difficult for you to work on the same platform again.