Career: Freelance Writing Tips And Advice For Beginners

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Black woman at desk with pen and laptop - freelance writing career beginner tips
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The world of freelance writing can be daunting. With the freedom to set your schedule and set your rates comes the uncertainty about what to focus on and what course of action is most likely to result in success. Here are some tips for success in your freelance writing efforts as a beginner.

Start your own blog

Writing like any other muscle becomes stronger with practice. You need your own blog which will function not just as a creative outlet for you but also as a way to help you sharpen your skills and writing style. Writing daily is the surest way to build your skillset. A public blog will also serve as a living portfolio which can help boost your credibility with clients as well as boost your freelance writing career. In order for the blog to be successful, you also need to learn fundamental SEO skills to drive readers and potential clients your way. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will also raise your website’s ranking on search.

Pitch every day and aim for rejection

Whether or not you have ever been published elsewhere, pitch your stories to publications. Find job boards and respond to them. Also, send out some cold or unsolicited pitches. Take advantage of sites where you can just create an account and start publishing your work as well as guest blogging on other sites. Set goals about the number of pitches to send out in a month and stick to it. The best case, to grow your freelance writing career, pitch every day and learn to write proposals.

There will be rejections, many rejections and that is a wonderful thing. To sustain your motivation and drive, aim for rejections. Rejections mean you’re putting yourself out there, making every attempt to grow your freelance writing career.

It also gives you an opportunity to learn how to pitch and there’s the added benefit of potentially getting useful actionable feedback from an editor or two. The feedback may prove useful in helping you grow as a writer.

Pitching daily also means if there are multiple positive responses, then you get to choose jobs or even better yet, have a lot of work in a field that can sometimes run dry. On the off chance that you get a positive response, celebrate it. Celebrate every win, big or small.

Be organized

When you start getting jobs, you will need a way to keep track of all your projects, billing information, client information, pitches sent and content schedule for your blog and sometimes your client’s blog. You will need to develop a writing routine to keep your articles and blog posts organized.

Your organizational and time-management skills will become increasingly important as your freelance writing career grows. Once the money starts coming in you’ll have to keep track of other things including remaining tax compliant, but if you’re just starting out, that’s still a long way out.

Other general advice for growing your freelance writing career

  1. Focus on goals, not failures.
  2. Pitch your own stories and continue to work on your own projects.
  3. Turn in clean, proofread copy.
  4. Take on different types of assignments, but not subject matters you loathe or can’t do.
  5. Always reassess your rates.
  6. Develop a thick skin.
  7. Have your own marketing materials and writing samples ready and learn to market yourself.
  8. Continuously upgrade your portfolio.
  9. Join writing communities, freelance writing can be very lonely and never stop learning.
  10. Write about what you love.

Be brave. You are the only thing you can control. So, start today. Write daily, courageously send out pitches, celebrate the rejections and the wins, cry if you need to, then dust yourself up and try again tomorrow. Keep focusing on your freelance writing and never stop learning.

Check out

Careers: The challenges of online writing

How To Execute The 50/30/20 Rule On An Irregular Income

Finances: Budgeting For Variable Income (Freelancers, The Self Employed, Consultants etc)

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