Over time, people ask in a variety of ways, ‘what’s the first thing I should do to start freelance writing?’
Last year I wrote How To Start Freelance Writing In 10 Steps. There the first step is to decide what kind of writing you want to do.
While there’s nothing wrong with starting by choosing the kind of writing you want to focus on, particularly in the context of a list, I’m not sure it’s the real first thing or step to freelance writing as a career.
Many ways to start freelancing
Of course, the problem with freelance writing that makes money is that there are as many ways to get it done as there are writers who make a profit.
Some write fiction, others write non-fiction, still others write poetry. Some studied creative writing and got at least a bachelors degree, others didn’t graduate or even go to college. Some are still in high school. Some write books, some blog, some write for clients, some write articles for magazines, some write for newspapers. At every job they’ve ever had they ended up doing a whole bunch of writing – no matter what the job. Often, over a writer’s lifetime, they will have done several of these – writing just seems to happen.
Writing is the key
When, however, I look at my own story and the stories of successful writers I know and read about, they do have one thing in common. They write.
Sounds over simplistic perhaps, and maybe even obvious.
Over and over again, however, I get questions that indicate to me many would-be writers are waiting for something magical, or some sign, or something to signal they should become freelance writers.
Compare this with the folks who started writing something as soon as they’d mastered the alphabet. They journal, they volunteer their writing, they have notebooks full of writing that go back ages. Somewhere, somehow they developed the desire, even the need to string words together for others.
I think it’s rare for someone who doesn’t sort of compulsively write to be a truly successful freelance writer.
First step to freelance writing
So today my advice about the first step to becoming a freelance writer is to write. (And yes, my advice may well change next week.) Write about yourself, write about your friends and family and environment. Write stories, write poems.
As you continue to write, look for markets for your writing. Check out magazines or blogs or jobs or… you get the idea.
When you find a market that seems to fit, submit something to them. Write and submit, write and submit. Over and over again.
Build a website and spell out there the kind of writing you do. When someone asks you to write, and someone always will, ask them what they pay – eventually, if not a whole lot sooner, you’ll start getting paid as a writer, can be the start of a career.
What was your first step in freelance writing? What do you expect it to be?
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