Breaking in to the Freelance Writing Market
You have dreamed of the freedom of being a freelance writer for some time. Being
able to set your own schedule, choose your own jobs and write the material that
you want to write - yes, it certainly has its perks. I love being a freelancer
writer, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Well, I would change
some things, but, I digress.
my first tip: To get a start, write for anyone
As I search the freelance writing job boards for someone to help me pick up some
extra writing assignments, I notice that there are a lot of novice freelance
writers trying to break into the market. I was there once, and I didn't like it much.
I started doing this back when the whole search engine article craze and the
e-books weren't around - to be a freelance writer you had to do it the old
fashioned way - query. This wasn't so bad, and I learned a tremendous amount
along the way. And still, if you want to freelance write for most major (and
minor) publications, they still require a query letter. But, we aren't going to
get into that yet.
One of the biggest roadblocks facing a freelance writer who is trying to break
into the market are credits - or as many in the business would call them -
bylines. Many of you out there just wanted to be a freelance writer but you have
never been published anywhere except your community newsletter. Well, funny as
it sounds, that's not a bad place to start. And that is where I come to my first
tip: To get a start, write for anyone. Of course, exercise good judgement in
deciding what you write, but if you are serious about being a freelance writer,
then it almost doesn't really matter.
You can write for your church newsletter, the high school paper, even a well
written letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a good clip to keep.
When clips are hard to come by as a novice freelance writer, then each one of
these counts. Not only that, but each time you write, you learn and you get
better at your craft.
As an example, I have been writing since I was 16-years-old. I have written
short stories, plays, essays, and even couple of notebooks full of poetry. I
never really tried to submit any of it anywhere - always the fear of rejection
to stop me (every freelance writer has to deal with it, so get used to it early).
But, I learned how to write, and I kept on writing more.
When I got my first job as a reporter for a local newspaper, I did it using my
short stories and a couple of editorial pieces as my portfolio, along with one
magazine credit. I had no degree and I had no post-secondary education whatsoever
to fall back on. I was as green as they get. But, I got the job. I had clips
that proved to publisher and editor that I could produce quality writing.
I eventually made it to editor of that paper, and penned over 1,000 articles in
two years. Now I have all of the clips that I want. Not only that, but it was
the springboard for me to make the successful jump into freelance writing. As
far as freelance writing goes, I would have to say that I took the long way.
But, I wouldn't change anything.