If you’re a writer, chances are you will encounter freelance gigs in your career.
This is especially true if you’re writing while you’re in school or if you’re a recent graduate. In the beginning, navigating the world of freelance can be tricky. Fortunately, we’ve put together some tips from successful freelancers who are in the field and can help you get your name out there!
Keep Reading and Writing Everyday
The truth is, not all writers spend enough time practicing their craft. If you want to make your living by writing, you need to make time to ‘sharpen your tools.’ Keep yourself motivated by subscribing to publications that you want to write for. Read them in the morning with your coffee, or crack open a journal or newspaper on your morning commute. During this time, you might come across a passage that you think should be written differently. As an exercise, do just that! It’s great practice and can help get your creative juices flowing.
Alternately, try writing your own blog. Not only will you have the freedom to write about the topics that interest you, but this is an awesome way for you to build your portfolio and keep a writing schedule.
Start an Online Portfolio
When you’re applying to freelance jobs, many publications will expect you to provide them with writing samples. Usually you’ll have the option of selecting pieces to send to them, but sometimes it’s in your best interest to send your complete online portfolio. A well-crafted website that shows who you are and what you’re capable of can be extremely valuable when looking for freelance work or a job.
Be sure to showcase a range of only your best work and don’t be afraid to make changes to your portfolio as time goes on. There are plenty of websites that allow you to build an online portfolio for free. If you’re unsure which ones to use, check out Coroflot.com or Behance.net.
Find Mentors and Build a Network
In any career, it’s helpful to have a mentor you can go to when you need help or advice. In freelance writing, a mentor is especially beneficial because they can offer guidance, provide feedback on ideas, and refer you to other professionals in the industry. Once you’ve landed your first writing gig, it’s important to keep in contact with your editor and build a professional relationship with them.
They can also act as a mentor and introduce you to people in the industry. which can be extremely valuable as you begin building your own network. It’s also important to remember that you can find contacts almost anywhere and it never hurts to ask your friends, professors, or colleagues who they might know.
Keep a Notebook With You
Inspiration comes from anywhere and sometimes the best ideas can strike at the weirdest times. Haven’t you ever had a great idea when you were in line at the grocery store, or in a changeroom at the gym? Of course you have, and there’s nothing worse than realizing you can’t remember it later.
That’s why it’s so important to keep some sort notebook on you, so you can write your ideas down when they strike you. If you can’t wrap your head around carrying an actual notebook with you, use the notepad app on your smartphone. That way, you can regularly source ideas for your next pitch.
Find a Niche and Establish Expertise
One of the best ways to give yourself an advantage in the freelance world is to find a niche. If you can become an expert in a certain field, you can then target pitches to specific publications. Or you can pitch stories on that topic to publications who aren’t currently covering that area but should be.
If you’re on the path to becoming a writer, chances are you will encounter the world of freelancing at some point during your career. Becoming a successful freelancer can be challenging but it’s entirely possible. If you’re just starting out, follow these simple tips – they will help you thrive and make your mark in the industry.