Thinking of a Freelance Writing Career? Some Useful Tips…
I did a survey in May and one of the categories you chose was freelance writing. I’m not going to cover the topic. I just want to throw you a few hints to get you started.
And at the end of the post, I’ve got something to ask you…
Freelance writing is a fantastic business. It’s wonderful to let your creative juices flow. And the best part is, you get paid for doing it.
It’s a joy to live the life of your aspirations. You do what you want, when you want to.
But isn’t there’s another side to this dream job? Well, yes, there is.
The truth is, freelance writing is tough. That is the harsh reality of the situation. You can sit around in your pyjamas (if that’s what you want) writing all day. Only, if you don’t write, you don’t get paid. If you don’t get paid, you can’t pay your bills or put food on the table.
It takes a dedicated, committed, motivated, hard-working person to be a successful freelance writer. You have to push yourself hard. To the limit. Especially at the beginning stages.
You are your own boss, marketing person, bookkeeper, the researcher and the list go on….
Please don’t stop reading yet. This post isn’t intended to frighten you. I’m just being real with you.
The emotional pain that started my writing journey
Before I delve into freelance writing, I‘d like to share my writing story with you. I imagined myself sitting in front of a computer churning out books, like Jaqueline Wilson. But life said otherwise.
Many years ago, my ex hubby had an affair with my best friend’s friend. The shock sent me hiding in my internal shell. I bathed myself in self-pity.
The emotional pain was terrible.
Then something strange happened. Words started dancing round in my head. I suffered a burning itch to write. So, I grabbed a pen and writing pad. Inside five minutes I wrote a poem about the pain I was experiencing. It was like someone had turned on a creative tap inside my head.
That day was the start of my journey with writing poems. I wrote many more over the years.
I just fell in love with the writing. My childhood dream had started and it became a passion. I embarked on a creative writing course with The Writers Bureau to train my skills. But family life stepped in the way. I couldn’t finish the course.
A long time afterwards, after a traumatic separation from my ex hubby, I picked up the pen again. I penned an article about my experiences. It was about men who refuse to come to terms with the end of relationships. Candice magazine published the article ‘When He Won’t Let Go’. It was a wonderful feeling seeing my name in print.
I took another break from writing, until I started this blog.
Next, Bamidele invited me to join the team of Writers in Charge. And in April 2013 I made a bold decision. I quit my teaching job to live my dream life of writing. I now blog for Ivy League Nursery and Arch Street Press.
In addition, I’m a staff writer for The Hairdresser’s Eyes, an online magazine. But it’s not time to relax. Far from it. I’m still looking for more writing gigs.
Plus, I’m writing my memoir to share my story of emotional and physical abuse. I’ve got a couple of fiction novels in the pipeline as well. And I’m going to put all of my poems (I’ve got lots of them) into a book.
Anyway, enough about me for now.
I’ll move on to my freelance writing tips:
- Write something every day. That’s the best way to exercise your creative muscles. The more you write, the better you should get. If you don’t feel confident, start by writing your thoughts in a diary. Or consider starting a personal blog. Those thoughts or ideas can come in handy later for articles or blog posts. Besides, always have a notepad with you. Ideas can come when you least expect them. Make sure to get them. Once they leave your mind, they go away.
- Brush up or develop your writing skills by taking a writing course. There are tons of free courses online. But if you want to take your writing to another level and earn money, it’s worth joining The Freelance Writers Den. It’s open now for registration, but hurry. The Den is run by Carol Tice and Linda Formichelli, two extremely successful freelance writers. It’s jammed with awesome resources to kick-start your writing career. On top of that there’s support, Bootcamp eCourses, moderators, a member’s forum, job board and tons of free advice and other useful stuff.
- Connect with a local writer’s group to meet and network with other writers. It’s a wonderful way to share thoughts and receive feedback about your writing.
- Like any other job, writing requires hard work. You need to be self-disciplined and determined to get things done. If you don’t invest in the time and effort, you won’t see any income. Particularly if you’ve got writing assignments to finish for clients. You have to meet deadlines. Otherwise, you risk not getting paid. Or lose the person or company who hired you to write for them.
- Motivation is the key when you’re under pressure to write, hold down a full-time job or look after young children and have other commitments. It’s easy to feel discouraged sometimes and want to give up. But if your goal is to succeed as a writer, you have to find ways to write. I live with my daughter and 16 month old grandson. So, I write in the evenings (when there’s no distractions) as it’s easier for me to focus. If JK Rowling managed to write her first best seller book, Harry Potter, with a young baby, you can get some writing done if you really want to.
- Be inspired by other people like Helen Keller. She was an extraordinary woman. You can learn a lot from her commitment and effort. Although she was blind, she wrote, and travelled the globe to raise awareness of blindness. Despite her handicap, she carried on writing. She didn’t do it just for herself, but to help others as well.
If writing is your dream, don’t pass up on it. Even if you have to place it on hold for a while, or a few years. Think of this, the graveyards are full of remarkable writers. They died before giving birth to their aspirations. Make the best of the one life you have.
Writing for pleasure or as a hobby is fun. But freelance writing is tough. So, if that’s the career you want, you’ll need to plan, prepare, constantly improve your skills and work hard. It’s a challenging and rewarding career. How hard you work will decide how much you earn.
Over to you… What do you struggle with as a new writer? Do you have a mentor to support you? Please share your thoughts in comments box below.