Writing For A Living

by WorkFromHome on May 9, 2011

When you disclose to someone that your chosen profession is a writer, or better yet, a freelance writer you will receive one of two responses. Either you will be acknowledged with a quaint smile which translates into “Get a real job” or you are met with enthusiasm because others share your passion for the written word. The second response is often followed by a barrage of questions on how to make a living as a freelance writer.

It is the intention of this article to respond to both of these responses, in an effort to explain that not only is freelance writing a real profession, but if approached professionally, can be a very lucrative one as well.

The first thing any aspiring freelance writer should understand that this type of job must be handled as a business. If you find that you can only write from the heart, you may find it difficult to succeed. Please note that the term difficult was used, not impossible. However, if you can use your writing skills to cover a broad range of styles and requirements, you can become very successful in the freelance business.

The Business Side Of Writing

Anyone that wishes to enter the freelance writing arena must have a business mindset. You must be able to work under pressure, meet deadlines and possibly write about subject matters that neither interest you nor are to your liking. You must be able to dedicate time in promoting your skills and acquiring clients. You must dedicate time, have the appropriate word processing equipment and brush up on your grammar.

The next thing that you must understand is the broad range of opportunities that are available. Businesses, land and web based, need content written for brochures, web pages and advertisements. Operation manuals, employee handbooks, and product information pamphlets are all forms of written material. Newsletters, annual reports and even shareholder information packets are just a few more important writing assignments that many businesses need. By grasping the broad range of writing opportunities available, you can not only see the need for freelance writers, but the demand.

While it is very true that you can perform these services working from home, you must treat this position professionally. You must establish a phone number for your business (and not let your children answer it), you must have a working computer, high speed connections for file downloads and possibly a fax machine. When you treat writing as a business, it becomes a serious way to earn a living.

Where To Find Clients

When you are ready to establish a clientele you should create a portfolio of your work to show to potential clients. This should be in white paper and digital form. If you are lucky enough to enter this profession with already published works, make sure these are at the front of your portfolio. If you are not published yet, don’t worry you will be soon.

Start with friends and family and begin to network. Anyone that owns a business or website is a potential client and contact should be made. Create an introduction letter which specifies the types of services you offer. A quality letter will remain in a business file until the service is needed. Introductory letters printed on common copy paper look more like flyers and are often disregarded.

Make contacts on the Internet. There are many freelancing communities that will allow you to bid on available jobs. Some may require samples of your writing when you place the bid, hence the digital files, and others may simply be looking for the lowest bidder. Sign up for these services and keep current with your information. As each of your works are published or purchased your portfolio will grow.

How To Become Published – 3 Easy Steps

Being a published author does not necessarily mean that you have a novel on the best sellers list. It means that your name is attached to a written work of some form. Many people believe that published writers are better writers. This is not necessarily true, but since it is a common belief, you must approach this professionally and become published. This is not hard when you consider the following options.

  1. Submit your work to local newsletters, newspapers and community bulletin boards. Do this without expectation of pay. The minute your article is accepted you have become a published writer. Following this method will help you establish a portfolio quickly.
  2. Submit articles to special interest publications. For example, if you have written a piece on researching your family tree, you are going to submit this article to genealogy publications and websites. However, you would be wasting your time sending it into a vacation magazine. These articles are often paid for by the publication, giving you the additional bonus of generating income.
  3. Enter contests. While most of these contests are directed toward fiction and poetry writing, these contests are a great way to become published and earn some prize money.

Earning A Living

While writing poems and fiction are a hobby for many, they are not a great way to make a living. Entering into this part of the literary profession is very hard. Publishers can be very hard to contact, and many will only on rare occasion accept work from a non-published author. While this is not meant as a discouragement, all writers are unpublished at one point in their lives; it is much harder to break into this part of the writing business.

Non fictional writing is very lucrative. Once you have established a style of writing, or subject matter of preference, you may even be able to increase your income by offering niche work. The trick of the trade is to work hard, and work steady. You must present yourself as reliable and knowledgeable. If you can establish this, work is sure to follow.

As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming a freelance writer. You cannot wake up one morning and decide to become a writer and find your inbox full of requests and your bank account filled with money. You must establish yourself, you must promote yourself and you must continually reinvent yourself to meet the needs of your clients.

So, for those of you who look at freelance writers as people one step above a sea slug, you can see that there is a lot more that goes into this profession than sitting in your underwear in front of a computer all day. For those that desire a career in writing you can see that not only is it possible, but the opportunities are limitless if you take the time to treat it as a profession and not as a hobby.

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