It really is that simple.
Assuming your write pretty well and you’ve got some credits, and you’ve got a professional website, keep looking and applying and sooner or later you’ll land a new gig.
Let’s look at these one at a time.
You write pretty well
You don’t have to be the next Pulitzer Prize Winner to land a freelance writing gig. In fact, it may be better that you don’t write in a literary style, or academic style.
There are far more writing jobs out there that want a simple and direct approach than want a style that sounds stilted or strange to the average ear. It also helps, if you’re aiming for the American or English markets, if you’re a native speaker – although you that isn’t an absolute requirement. You want to be able to write more or less like other people, only a bit better. And most of the folks who visit this website and others aimed at helping freelance writers find writing jobs can write well enough.
If you know your writing needs some polish, get it. Community colleges and online writing courses can help.
You’ve got some writing credits
People who hire writers want to see some evidence that you can get the job done. The best way to demonstrate this is with links to things you’ve written that have been published. I say links, because most publications are also on the web and it’s far easier to link to an article you wrote than it is to copy it. If not, you can simply list the credit and post a copy on your website.
But what if you don’t yet have credits? Simple, post several articles on your website that will serve as samples. If you want to get hired writing about cats, write an article or two about cats. If you want to be hired to write about industrial products, put an article up about an industrial product. You get the idea. You don’t have to make a big deal about the fact that these haven’t been published. Label them ‘samples’ and you’re set.
You need a professional website
Today, more than ever, a writer needs a professional website. It doesn’t have to be big, or expensive. It does need to tell potential clients why they might want to hire you and how to get in touch with you.
It really only needs four pages. You can build it yourself. My suggestion is to host with BlueHost. That will cost you about $4 a month, paid by the year. That includes a domain name, a 1 click install for WordPress and good support available 24/7. Or you can hire me to do it for you for a fairly outrageous fee, but you’ll come away with a site and you’ll know how to manage it.
However you get it done, get it up ASAP. You can always change it later. In fact you will change it later – it’s the nature of websites.
Start… and keep applying
Start with my list and work it every day. You don’t need to spend more than an hour or so at first. After awhile you’ll know which sources you like the best. How you apply is important. Keep it neat, pithy and follow the instructions.
If you look at those lists every work day, applying for the jobs you think you fit, chances are you’ll have an offer in two or three weeks. Keep it up even after you accept a gig, because the jobs you take today will change or disappear over time.
Marketing really is a daily activity. It doesn’t matter if it’s applying for jobs, sending cold email, letters of introduction, etc. etc. etc. It’s got to be done if you’re to have a reasonable stream of income.
What are you secrets for keeping the work flowing? If you’re willing, share in comments.
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Write well and often,