“How can I become a freelance writer?”
A surprising number of people ask me how they can build a freelance writing career for themselves. Here are a few of the questions I get and the resources I suggest. (Some links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission from sales.)
“What’s it like to work as a freelance writer?”
Each freelancer’s career is unique, which is great unless you’re trying to figure out whether freelancing is a good choice for you. Then it can be daunting to know what to plan for, how to organize your time, and what kinds of writing the clients in your specialty areas need. Freelancers Union founder Sara Horowitz has written the definitive guide for planning, starting, and running a freelance business: The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams―On Your Terms. If you read one book on freelancing, read this one—and take notes.
“How can I make time to build my business?”
Building a freelance career requires time to network, market, pitch, research, write, revise, and market some more. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam’s nuts-and-bolts guide to time management, is helpful for figuring out how to run your own business without running yourself into the ground.
“I loved English class, so I’ll be a natural at freelancing, right?”
Maybe. I loved English class, too, but I learned pretty early in my career that writing an essay for a grade and writing deliverables for clients are very different things. Great writing skills matter. The ability to tailor your writing to fit your clients’ needs matters just as much. Josh Bernoff gets right to the point about effective communication in Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean.
“What freelancing blogs should I follow?”
There are lots of useful freelance writing blogs to explore. Here are a few I like.
- The Freelancers Union blog helps you keep up with the changing business landscape and learn about Freelancers Union resources for US writers.
- Copyblogger is the authoritative blog on content marketing.
- Make a Living Writing by Carol Tice gives new and established freelancers practical advice and motivation.
- Ed Gandia’s B2B Launcher is full of guidance on establishing yourself in the challenging business-to-business (B2B) writing market.
The most important action I recommend to new and aspiring freelance writers
Freelance writer Carol Tice built a successful freelance writing career and then built the Freelance Writers Den, a hub for professional freelance writers at all levels to connect, learn, and build their careers. My time in the Den has been an investment in career development that’s paid off in terms of knowledge and earning power. Join the Freelance Writers Den to connect with other freelancers and learn from leaders in a variety of freelance writing specialties.