Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Breaking into Freelance Writing

By Trish Anderson

To break into freelance anything and make some money you will need three things;

1. Planning

2. Persistence

3. Commitment

In the world of freelance article writing, you will also need a strong desire to write. In fact, the stronger the better because with that comes everything else and, eventually, some money to make it all worth while.

For the freelance new kid, invest in some writing courses or workshops either online or with your local writing centre. Purchase a few books on writing articles and how to market them. Your country's version of Writer's Market is a handy resource. Read it with pen, paper and sticky notes beside you so that you can mark your targets.

Develop a list of article ideas. Write down every topic that you have a working interest or some knowledge in. Start with five ideas, produce a list of sub-headings, fill in some information [500 - 800 words], polish it all up and there you have your first bunch of articles.

Always check your work over for basic errors as well as the usual style and content readability. If you're not sure about your work, join an online critiquing group for some productive feedback. Remember to always give feedback in return as "payment" for the members' time and effort.

Start submitting your articles to any of the web-content sites. You won't get paid, but choose your site carefully and you will be marketing yourself. Articles from these sites go to other sites, usually with your bio/resource box attached. Once you have a collection of published articles that you're happy with, you can start using them as "clips" for submitting to paying markets. Clips are your C.V. and you will need them as you move into the wider world of freelance writing.

If you have a particular area of interest or expertise then make sure you produce plenty of related articles. This not only proves an ongoing ability to write in this field, but also helps to promote you as an "expert" in the area.

Talk yourself and your writing up at every opportunity. When meeting people be sure to introduce yourself as a writer. This usually is enough to gain the other person's attention and provide you the opportunity to talk about your work further. Introduce yourself in writing groups and provide your "business card" at the end of your e-mails. Wherever and whenever you can, tell people that you are a freelance writer.

Open your eyes to all possibilities. Freelance writing offers a broad spectrum of specialisations and services. Don't be afraid to explore new aspects of your career. For instance, most freelancers will tell you they not only write articles, but also e-books, fiction, non-fiction, ghostwrite, media releases, produce newsletters, tutor…

Breaking into freelancing requires grit, determination and a whole lot of planning! But with the necessary amounts of persistence and commitment, you can do it. Start small, develop your plan of attack and get writing!

Trish is a freelance writer with desktop publishing, promotional material, content sourcing, location and information research, fiction critique and web group management skills tucked firmly into her workbelt. To find out about rates and other services, or to read more of her articles, visit Trish at or send an email to

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