10 Steps To Becoming A Freelance Writer

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Freelance writing sounds too good to be true. You work from home, choose your assignments and aren’t tied down to any publication or genre. In many cases, you even establish your own salary. After interviewing professional freelance writers and publications that hire them, CM concluded that freelance writing can provide a sustainable income and give you the flexible lifestyle you desire. Here are 10 ways you can begin to establish yourself as a freelance writer:  
 
1.) Sharpen your sword (aka, the pen)
 
This might seem obvious, but becoming a good writer is the first step to establishing yourself. As a college student, your job is to convince future employers that you can compete with professional writers. If you have minimal writing experience, you might try to take an elective class that will sharpen your skills.
 
“The first thing we look for is obviously talent,” said Collegehumor.com Editor-In-Chief Streeter Seidell.
 
2.) Get some self discipline
 
The freedom that comes with freelance writing means you have to be extremely self motivated. Sleeping all day and missing deadlines will send you straight home to live with mom and dad.   
 
“The best writers we have now were once college students who skipped parties to write articles, and emailed us constantly asking for more work to do,” said Seidell.
 
3.) Make a resume for the world to see
 
Your resume is like your virtual handshake, your first impression to future employers. It should be online for future employers to see so that it’s easily accessible to anyone and everyone who might want to hire you. A simple blog site like WordPress will do the trick.
 
4.) Gain experience
 
Along with your resume, you should have clips of your work. If you have been published professionally, that should be included in your online portfolio. If not, you can post something you have written for school. Remember, this is how employers are going to see what you’ve got, so make sure you proofread it.
 
The first thing you need to do is a website,” said Regional Director and Freelance Committee Chair for the Society of Professional Journalists Dana Neuts. “You’ve got to have a place for people to go see your work.”
 
5.) Dream big, start small
If you don’t have any clips, don’t go and call The New York Times and expect to get published. First, try your school paper or local community newspaper or magazine.  When you get out into the real world it’s nearly impossible to land a job with no experience.
 
6.) Thought about it? Blog about it!
 
Blogging is a free and easy way for you to get published and generate clips. “Blogs offer a less edited, more immediate look at a writer's style and personality,” said Seidell. “When we're looking at potential hires, we go to blogs first to get a taste of how they write when nobody is looking over their shoulder.”
 
7.) Become social media savvy
 
Not only should you have a blog, but get every other social media outlet possible as well. While as a college student you lack experience, you can make up for that by being fluent in Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ect. This is something your seasoned competition may be lacking.
 
8.) Connections
 
It’s all about who you know. Neuts said offering to buy an experience writer or editor coffee in exchange for some helpful tips can help you get in the door. “A lot of people are willing to share their experiences and tell you how to get in,” she said.
 
9.) Be determined
 
Don’t be discouraged by being turned down, and don’t be afraid to pitch ideas. Being seen as too ambitious is never a bad thing. “You’re really only limited by how persistent you are,” Neuts said.
 
10.) Know Where to Look
 
Ready to start writing? There are tons of opportunities just waiting to be seized. Collegehumor.com, USA Today College, and College Magazine are great places to start.
 
Photo: at http://freelancercare.com/freelance-writing-opportunities/

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