Steps to a Becoming a Successful Freelance Writer
Pamela S. Thibodeaux
So, you want to be a freelance writer? You think it’s all ease and glamour to sit at home and write for a living. Ha! I feel sorry for you. Writing is work, Honey, and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Now that we’ve dispelled the myth that freelance writing is easy and glamorous, let’s look at some ways to work your way into this career. But, before we go further, let’s define Freelance Writer.
What is a Freelance Writer?
Freelance writers are people who are not employed by any certain publication, but write for several, usually from home, and they are needed in virtually every profession. They create Ad Copy, Newsletters and Brochures. They work for magazines and newspapers and are even responsible for Business Letters, Resumes and Resume Cover Letters. Freelance writers submit to publications such as Chicken Soup, True Magazines, Woman’s World and other popular publications. Freelance writers write non-fiction, creative non-fiction and even fiction. They come in all shapes and sizes, work from a home computer or laptop and enjoy the freedom of working in a assortment of fields on a variety of subjects.
We’ve identified what determines a freelance writer, now lets look at some steps to becoming one.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
Books like The Writers Market Guide, Making a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments, Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer, The Well-Fed Writer, How to Become a Full-Time Freelance Writer and more give you tips and advice as well as market listings to jump start your career.
Check out Amazon.com, your local bookstore and or library and read, read, read your way into writing for a living.
If you wish to enhance or further your education, there are educational programs like those offered by the American Writers and Artist Institute and Long Ridge Writers Institute.
Taught by some of the nation’s top Copy Writers, AWAI teaches you how to become just as successful. They offer courses on Copywriting, Travel writing, Resume writing and Graphic design. They have workshops and ‘boot camps’ for networking purposes as well as Student and Job services where they help their students find work. AWAI also has a $10K Challenge for their students. In this contest, you write Copy for AWAI and if yours is the best you not only win $10,000.00, they use your copy for recruiting purposes! For more info on AWAI, visit their website: http://www.awaionline.com
Where AWAI teaches you the profession of Copy Writing, Long Ridge Writers Group teaches courses on how to break into print writing Short Stories, Full Stories, Personal Essays, Children’s Literature, etc. LRWG also offers help in getting your work published. For more info on LRWG, visit their website: http://www.longridgewritersgroup.com
Although I haven't taken it, I've heard a LOT of good about this course also check out this blog.
Step 2: Research the Industry.
Okay, now that you’ve educated yourself on what a freelance writer is and how to become one, where do you find jobs?
Research, research, research.
In a web search for “freelance writing” I discovered over 1000,000 links from low/no cost to websites and publications where you pay for leads!
Here are a few Links to get you started:
Funds for Writers http://www.fundsforwriters.com
Writing for Dollars http://www.writingfordollars.com
Freelance Writing http://www.freelancewriting.com
Freedom With Writing https://www.freedomwithwriting.com/
Absolute Markets http://www.absolutewrite.com
These are just a FEW! Of the NUMEROUS publications to help you find freelance writing jobs but there are over a million others out there.
Once you’ve educated yourself and researched the industry, there are two keys to becoming a successful freelance writer:
1). Write, write, write.
2). Submit, submit, submit.
It’s kind of like looking for a job. To get one, you must send out those resumes. The same goes for getting freelance writing assignments. In order to do so, you should submit work daily to as many places as you can find.
Though freelance writing is a serious business, publications look for originality and creativity as well as specific and useful information for their readers. So be creative and have fun when writing and submitting your work!
One more tip: Writing is a business and most of your expenses and courses are Tax Deductible and many courses can also be counted as College credits.
*Original © 2005 – earlier versions of this article may have appeared online or in print
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She has over twenty years experience in bookkeeping, insurance and tax preparation. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”
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