I won’t be the first to admit that it’s not easy making a living off of freelance writing. You’ll lose the security you had with a regular job including benefits like a steady paycheck and regular hours. To take the plunge and embrace your passion for writing as a career takes courage and a fair amount of preparation. You’ll find dozens of blogs helping you to with self-publishing and how to find assignments, how to write a pitch and ways to write efficiently. There are a couple of key rules to mention, but my biggest advice is to harness the power of saying yes.
The reason you might be embarking on this journey is to make a living out of writing. Of course, your labor should be compensated, and it’s up to you to decide what kind of compensation is fair.
Freelancing takes a certain degree of tenacity because when you’re starting out, it’s likely that you’ll need time to build up a resume of work and a network of contacts. Having pre-existing connections from a full-time job is certainly helpful, and I highly recommend doing this if you get the chance. Of course, some of us, like Jeff Somers, fall into freelancing under less favorable circumstances, and this is where saying yes truly comes in hand. Somers needed to make a living from writing as soon as he could and decided in his first year that he would take every freelance writing assignment that would pay him. As he puts it, “Without any experience or contacts, you can start writing for money today, if you’re willing to start in the trenches.”
At this stage, things will seldom be glamorous. Although it is true that there are great assignments, you’re more than likely to find some truly awful writing work, whether for low pay, boring subject matter, or restrictive and frustrating rules (or, as Somers found, a combination of all three).
To help you in your journey, try the following three things when you start:
- Set up a website as your professional face on the internet
- Reach out to past employers and other connections to let them know you’re looking for writing work
- Answer ads on internet job sites
Be prudent in your approach; Somers wisely advises, “Saying Yes doesn’t mean you chuck your common sense out the window.” Scams and unethical job opportunities exist, but that doesn’t mean you should be blindsided by them.
The key takeaway here is that inexperience can be paralyzing and that the best way to overcome that is to simply start. Your jobs will lead to something beyond money, be it a networking opportunity or experience (though, ideally, it comes with financial compensation, too).
What are you waiting for? Get out there and say Yes.