Elna Cain, a successful freelance writer and mother of twins, also manages to have time…
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Wondering how to become a freelance writer? That is a really good question. Here’s where you’ll find the answer.
Lots people earn a full-time income by freelance writing. Lots more earn some money writing as a side gig. You don’t need a degree and you don’t need writing experience in order to be a freelance writer!
Whether you’re interested in becoming a full-time freelance writer or you just want to do a little writing to add to your income streams, keep reading and you’ll find out how to become a freelance writer.
How to Become a Freelance Writer Full Time or Part Time
Develop good writing skills
You don’t need a degree or previous writing experience to earn money as a freelance writer. You do need to have good writing skills, though. Some people are just innately good writers. But most people aren’t.
Even people who have good writing skills often take writing courses to improve those skills. When you have no writing experience, it’s definitely a good idea to take a writing course or two, especially if you’re not confident about your skill level.
Universities and community colleges have writing courses. You’ll find a lot of writing courses online too, like on SkillShare. You can sign up for SkillShare and get two free weeks of writing courses here.
Before you take a writing course, while you’re taking the course and after you’re finished with the course, start writing and keep writing. The more you write, the better you will write.
Decide on your writing niche or niches
When you’re starting out as a freelance writer, you’ll need to choose a niche or two to specialize in. There are dozens of different writing niches, such as:
And lots more.
Different writing niches require different knowledge and even different styles of writing. Choose a writing niche you’re interested in and, ideally, one you know something about. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be an expert in a niche in order to start writing about it! The more you write, the more you’ll learn.
Understand how much freelance writers earn
The income you can earn as a freelance writer varies quite a bit. Some writers make just a couple of cents for every word they write. Some earn six figures a year. What you’ll earn as a writer depends on:
- your writing skill
- your writing niche
- the publication for which you’re writing
- how much you charge
- your writing experience
Get people interested in your writing
Freelance writing is an awesome job. So lots of people are doing it. You need to stand out from the crowd. You need to show potential clients what a good writer you are.
The best way you can show people your writing talent is by creating a portfolio of your writing. How can you have a writing portfolio, though, if you haven’t been published yet? You can start a freelance writing blog.
Start a Freelance Writing Blog
A freelance writing blog is an excellent way to showcase your writing. It’s probably the best way, actually. Starting a blog is not difficult. You can learn how to start a freelance writing blog on WordPress here.
Every writing blog needs to be hosted with a really good website hosting company. SiteGround Web Hosting is the best hosting company I’ve ever used. I highly recommend them for you. You can read my honest review of SiteGround here.
Blog writing is usually more casual than professional writing. However, in order to create a good portfolio of your writing work before you get published, put the same time and effort into your blog posts that you would as if you were writing for pay. Potential clients will then be able to see how well you can write.
Be sure to proofread all of your writing on your writing blog. Grammarly’s writing assistant can greatly help you with this.
After you begin getting paid writing gigs, you can then create a separate portfolio page on your blog where you can link to your published work.
Guest Post on Other People’s Blogs
Another way to show people your writing talent is to guest post on other people’s blogs. Guest posting is a really effective way to show people what you can do, build a writing portfolio and get your name out there.
Do a search for blogs in your niche that accept guest posts and ask them if they’ll accept one of your posts. After they publish your writing, you can share the link with potential clients. You can also post the link on the portfolio page of your own writing blog.
Find freelance writing jobs
The internet is full of writing opportunities. Many publications pay freelance writers. Many more don’t pay.
You definitely always want to get paid for your writing. Like anything, though, getting started can be the hard part. It can be challenging to find well-paying writing gigs when you don’t have any writing experience.
As a beginning freelance writer, you’ll find that a lot of publications don’t pay writers anything. You should avoid these. You’ll probably also come across sites which offer to pay rates like $10 or $20 for a lengthy article. This amounts to usually about a couple of cents a word. These sites are called content mills. You should avoid these too.
Search freelance job sites
While there are many sites that won’t pay for your writing, there are also many that will. There are lots of freelancing platforms where beginning writers can look for good paid writing work.
As a beginner writer, you can look for writing gigs on sites like Upwork and Fiverr. There are lots of writing jobs on those platforms, but the pay isn’t as much as you can find elsewhere.
There are several other job sites which tend to have higher-paying work for writers. Some of them are general job sites like GlassDoor and Indeed. Others are job sites specifically for freelance writers. These writing job sites in particular are really good places to look for work as a beginning freelance writer.
In addition to looking on freelance writing sites for writing jobs, you can also pitch editors of the publications you’re interested in. Pitching is very important. You need to pitch well in order to be one of the writers who gets the writing gigs. Professional freelance writing guru Elna Cain has lots of advice on how to successfully pitch editors as a beginner.
Get paid for your writing
Once you’ve succeeded in getting published in a paying publication, you need to get paid.
Some places are really good about paying freelance writers. Others are not so good. A good contract can ensure that you get paid and get paid on time. You can read about what a good writing contract contains here.
Creating an effective invoice is also important for getting paid. You can read how freelance writers can create a good invoice here.
Now you know how to become a freelance writer. To recap, it’s very important to:
- take a writing course or two if you don’t know how to write
- choose the best writing niche for you
- start a writing blog to showcase your work
- look in the right places to find paid writing work
But the most important thing you need to do in order to become a freelance writer? Start writing.
Do you have any questions about freelance writing? Let me know in the comments below!