Planning your freelance writing career is something that every wanna-be freelancer needs to put time and thought into. Becoming a writer won’t just happen. You won’t just be discovered by a literary agent or major publishing house or even a potential client who wants you to write something for him or her.
You need to let your intentions be known. You need to work toward being a freelance writer. Believe me, my career didn’t happen overnight. I worked and worked and honed my craft. I put myself out there, took chances with sending queries, beat down the door — literally — of the editor at the local newspaper and eventually I made it! I have been a full time freelance writer for the past decade. It took planning. I wrote down my “next steps” toward self employment and I worked to make them happen.
I had to be willing to be rejected and in the beginning, I was rejected a lot. Sure, there were times I wanted to give up, but I wanted it too badly. On the wall of my office (photo here) is the very first story I ever had published. I entered a writer’s contest and came in first place. My prize? Publication and a $25 check! It cost me more to frame it than the money I’d won, believe me! But I keep it on my wall as a reminder of how far I have come.
Did you know that when I first wanted to be a writer, I wrote for the confession magazines? It’s true! I had just had knee surgery and a friend brought me some of the confessions (True Romance, True Story, True Confessions) as a joke. As I read them I thought, “I could write these!” I wrote several, sent them in, received contracts in the mail eventually followed by a copy of the mag and a check for each. I continually submitted and published for several years. I even taught others how to write confession stories. It was fun. I have begun writing them again, recently. Fingers crossed that the contracts come in the mail.
Confession writing doesn’t keep my dogs in kibble, though. It is the work I do for clients that keeps everyone fed and happy.
Starting my own business and having to go out and convince business owners to hire me to write their content was nerve-wracking, but I was motivated.
What can you do if you want to become a full time (or even part time) freelance writer? Here are a few tips:
- Write down what your skills and expertise are.
- Look for potential clients who will benefit from the skills and experience you bring to the table.
- Research publications you want to be published in.
- Determine whether you want to write for one, or multiple clients.
- Make certain you have the wherewithal to write for a living every day. Believe me, there are days when I am so tired of words I want to scream, but I made a commitment to my clients that I would write, so write I do. I don’t have the luxury of waiting for the Muse to strike.
- Determine how much money you need in order to be successful — whatever success means to you.
- Find places where you can network, meet people and hopefully find clients.
Even though I don’t write as often for “fun” as I used to, I still need to make time for my own creative endeavors — hence the confession stories and the cozy mystery series I am working on. It is a fine line of “getting my work done or my client work done” and most days, client work wins out.
If you’re looking to travel the freelance writer path you need to determine:
- What are your writing goals?
- Are you looking to write a book? Fiction or non fiction?
- Are you looking to blog for others and earn money that way?
- Are you ready to break out of your comfort zone and write query letters?
- Is this the year that you commit to your own blog and write regularly?
My final tip: Write an editorial calendar, whether you’re writing fiction or non fiction. Why? Well, it keeps you on task and in the case of my confession story writing, I have to make note that they are seeking Christmas stories in May and if that wasn’t on my calendar, Christmas certainly wouldn’t be on my radar when summer has only just begun.
What are your writing goals? What’s stopping you from meeting them?