Getting Started on Freelance Writing: 5 Things to Consider

Freelance writing is getting popular everyday! I can attest to that by the number of people turning to it on a full time basis, including me of course! The options available are vast, exciting, interesting and potentially very profitable. Thanks to the world getting smaller electronically and more technologically advanced, writers are sniffing out new opportunities for business.

Writing as a career is not a bread-and-butter issue, though. It requires a certain level of commitment, passion, discipline and diligence. You’ve got to work out a plan that clearly outlines what you will be doing, how, when and where. The plan should also include an estimate of your anticipated income and how you expect to earn it. Does that seem like a mountain? I hope not, but here are five primary things to consider first before launching into writing as a career:

1. Do you really want to write?

First of all, you need to be sure that you really want to write. Writing is work so you must be ready to carry the load every day or week depending on how often you need to write. Ask yourself questions like, how much passion do I have for writing? Is it just a past-time (hobby) or is there a cause for which I must write? It will be hard to make a career out of writing if your interest is half-hearted or limited. Although you will not become a guru overnight, you need to have a strong inner conviction that this is your line because that is what will keep you going during the hard times.

2. What kind of writing are you interested in?

There are various types of writing that you can engage in and the choice is yours. It all depends on individual skill, experience and interest. You need to define clearly what kind of writing you will engage in because opportunities are vast out there. Besides, some appear very lucrative at face value but can turn out to be a great challenge to implement.

Write a list of possibilities including the pros and cons of each. To help you do this better, do an online research on all the options available, e.g. copywriting, blogging, content writing, transcription services, writing for magazines, ghost writing, etc. Out of that list, pick two as a starting point. These should be the ones that are easy for you, especially the ones you have already started doing. For instance, you may already have a blog running or you have been writing short stories since high school days. This means you may have developed some level of skill in that area, which makes it easier for you to launch into it as a career.

3. Do you have what it takes?

A writing career is very demanding of personal time and effort. Most people don’t realize how long it takes to become an exceptional writer or one who is sought after by publishers. When you look at published authors during book signing events, for example, it seems as though they got their book out very easy but that is not so. They probably took a few years to write and then suffered a few rejections from editors and publishers first.

To make a career out of writing requires a lot of determination, self-belief and an ability to market your work. You must be able to build a brand and make it stand out so that clients choose your service over others. You will also need a high level of excellence that will make your clients keep coming back.

4. Does it make economic sense to you?

Never begin a new project without first counting the cost and evaluating what benefit it will bring. This applies to your writing career. It will effectively be a business for you so you need to sit down and work out the mathematics of it. How much will you be able to earn in, say, one month? Will that amount cover all your expenses? What about things like medical insurance? Will you be able to put something aside towards savings? This is just to ensure that you are being practical about things. Remember also that people will be asking you why you have chosen to be a writer (out of all the other possible careers in this world) and you will need to have a sound answer.

5. Basis of operation

Lastly, albeit very important point, determine your mode of operation. Will you rent an office somewhere or will you be working from the house? Of course, the latter would be a better option for someone who is just starting out because then you have fewer expenses to worry about. Consider also whether you will need to purchase a laptop or work from a cyber café, or borrow somebody’s machine to start with before you get your own.

A good plan for your freelance writing career is worth all the trouble. You will avoid many pitfalls that are common for newcomers in the field.

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