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How To Get Your Freelance Writing Career Started

Is this the year you’re going to get started on your freelance writing career? Good for you!

Start By Writing

The first step is to write.

I know that seems an oversimplification, or too obvious, but believe me, not everyone who says they want to be a writer ever spends any serious time actually putting works on paper or screen.  You’ve simply got to write regularly and often if a freelance writing career is what you want.

Market

Once you’re writing regularly, it’s time to start marketing that writing.  You’ll never make any money writing if you don’t get the word out somehow.

One of the best ways to get started is to combine regular article writing and submitting those articles to magazines. Yes, I’d suggest you start out aiming at least some of your work at print magazines. A copy of Writer’s Market not only tells you what magazines want what, but is a wonderful idea sparker as well.

Sure you can write for content mills and have your work show up on the web, but it’s hard for a new writer to know how well they are writing unless they’ve got some feedback system. Rejection slips aren’t pleasant, but they are part of the freelance writing game.

Your Website

Once you’ve got a few credits, keep writing and marketing and get your website built. Every day that goes by without a website of your own is potential lost revenue. Get one up. Use a template. I can guarantee that no matter how you do it, in a year or so you’ll want to change it. That’s true even if you pay thousands, so don’t pay that much. Do it yourself so you’ll have a feel for how a site works. Read You’re a Writer – You Need a Website or Better Yet, Your Own Blog to help you get started.

Develop A Niche or Two

Or better, let your niches and genres develop. They will. If you keep writing and submitting and writing and submitting you’ll discover you like certain kinds and areas of writing more than others. You’ll probably also discover that those areas are the ones you sell in most often.

Keep Learning

There’s a category here called Getting Started & Getting It Done. You’ll find, among lots of others, these five:

These are a good way to start, but there’s always more to learn. This site and others, plus talking with other freelance writers will help speed you on your way.

What are your first steps to getting started in your freelance writing career?

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Photo by David Ritter and found at http://www.sxc.hu

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Linda

    Hello Anne,

    This is my first time reading your articles about freelance writing. You are experienced I see and I will continue to read your advice about how I can get started in this freelance world. I have not done anything yet but for years have said I want to do that and I am tired of talking about it and I have the desire to write magazine articles and I need a mentor and you may be the one . I see it says you coach writers and at what cost may I ask?

    Sincerely, Linda

  • Anne,

    Thank you so much for all the content on this site. It is so helpful as a beginner in the field. I’ve been blogging for about a year now and it has been one of my most valuable assets as a freelancer.
    Erin recently posted..Marrow bones- bone marrow on toast- bone brothMy Profile

    • Thanks! – your recipe site looks yummie too.

  • Nice tips. I am learning to write quality article, not for freelancing actually, for my own blog. But, I do freelancing in other category(web development). May be after learning well, I may also start jobs on writing article besides writing on my own blog 🙂

    Regards
    .-= ranacseruet´s last blog ..Using eval() Method with PHP/JavaScript =-.

  • You are an inspiration to me and I want you to know that out of all the people I follow, you are the one I can understand best and the one that motivates me.
    I’m developing a blog for my new freelance writing venture. Your tips have been like my daily cup of joe. Now I have a question. How do I make sure that I have a name for the blog that will ‘work’? I have two ideas, but am unsure of either.
    I want to write about words. They are my passion. I found that in my private blog I was often commenting on words and phrases. The aspect of how the choice of words affect all relationships was the underlying theme of 20 years of self-employment int the area of training so I’m confident that I won’t tire of that topic. Again, thank you for being there. Keep inspiring!

    • Anne

      Heidi, thanks so much. I’m glad I make sense to you.

      Re the name of a blog… you can’t be sure it will work, not without spending a ton on market research, and even then it might blow up. So pick the one that makes your heart sing, then write and promote well and it will work… it takes lots of posts and lots of marketing to get a blog to become a place people return to again and again.

      Another approach is to define your ideal reader and name based on that. Remember too you’ve got both the title and a subtitle… so if you’re down to two, maybe you can use both.

      Let us know what you decide and give us a link when you can!

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