3 Steps to Launch a Freelance Writing Career in 2016
I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but even amongst the hustle of the holiday season, many of us are already looking towards the New Year and new beginnings.
Over a cup of coffee in the silence of the morning, we’ve already begun to think about our 2016 Goals. Or maybe it’s as we toss and turn ourselves to sleep at night, dreading another day is the same old rigmarole of a suffocating desk job.
From the many murmurs I hear from The Wandering Gourmand community via email and comments, that new beginning is a step into the exhilarating world of freelance writing.
It’s easier to begin a career as a freelancer now than it ever has ever been before. With newspapers and magazines cutting writing jobs in favor of freelance writers and the plethora of online outlets that are starving for content, opportunity is abundant.
Make 2016 your year to seize that opportunity!
The most difficult stumbling block many of us have is knowing how to get started, especially if you don’t have an educational or professional background in journalism or writing. I know. I was there.
The good news is that beginning your career as a freelance writer is not as daunting as it sounds. In fact, you can get started with three steps on how to launch a freelance writing career:
Step One – Develop a writing portfolio
But I thought you said I didn’t need a background in writing?
You don’t. However, editors and blog owners will want to see something you have written beyond a photo copy of a page from your journal. They want to see something that was made public.
Notice that I didn’t say published. There’s a huge difference there.
Becoming a professional writer is risky. You’re putting your words and thoughts out there for the world to read. Editors will want to see that you have already taken that risk. That you do indeed want to be a writer.
This is where blogs come into play. For most beginners (myself included), their blog is their portfolio. It shows editors that you are in fact serious about launching a writing career.
Launching a blog to develop your portfolio is your first step to getting started as a freelance writer. My page on How to Start Blog will teach you how.
Once you have a few posts up, then start reaching out to other blogs you admire and ask if they accept guest posts. Many do.
You have now developed a portfolio, my friend. Soon, you’ll be adding published pieces to it.
Step Two – Find a niche
What’s you bailiwick? You have to one. Being a talented writer is not enough. You have to show that you’ve mastered a subject matter or two.
Your blog will do that!!!
What do you want to write about? Travel, food, politics, parenting issues, hunting, fitness, environmental issues? The list is endless.
Pick a topic or two or three that you want to write about and begin blogging. Please limit yourself to no more than three topics though or else you’ll dilute your message. If you write about everything, then you are essentially writing about nothing. You are not setting yourself apart.
For example, I freelance about food, travel, and craft beer. My blog and my portfolio (which now contains published work) only includes pieces in those three topics.
Step Three – Start sending out proposals
Once you have enough written material on your blog or as guest posts on other blogs in your area of expertise, start to pitch story ideas to web sites or magazines you enjoy reading, or begin looking for writing opportunities on the web (Google freelance writing jobs in INSERT TOPIC for source leads).
Be specific in your proposals on what you want to write about and why you are qualified to write about that topic. Sell yourself to the editor!!!
For more tips and strategies on how to craft a proper pitch and launch a freelance career, I highly recommend Gina Horkey’s online course 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success. I am a former student of the course and credit 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success to my initial success as a freelance writer.
P.S. Maybe you don’t have a desire to become a freelance writer but know someone who does. Give the gift of freelance writing and buy them 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success!
What are your goals in 2016?
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