So I’ve been doing stuff. What kind of stuff? The kind of stuff that pays the bills. I’ve had to crunch my time extra hard these days so I could have money to thoroughly take advantage of the after Christmas sales. Although I plan on hitting a few stores, most likely I’ll be blowing all of that cash at Target.
I have had a little bit of free time, though. I’ve played on Twitter a little bit, started reading my novel, worked on a few short stories, and watched some porn.
That’s right. I watch porn.
There are many ways you can charge for your time and skills. It all depends on what works best for you and your client. The most common way to charge is either by the word or by the project. However, you can also charge by the page or by the hour. Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
For instance, charging by the word may seem like the best option until you run into the problem that many writers have of publishers only paying for each published word. So that 1000 word article you slaved over for days gets edited to 750 words and at $0.10 per word that’s a $25 difference. Enough for a week’s worth of lattes. Shameful!
Finding a writing job is only half of the equation. Just like in the corporate world, you have to put forth an effort to secure the job as well. While there are many great opportunities available both online and offline, only those that are the most prepared will get the job.
To get the job
1. Research the publication
This is perhaps the most important step in the process, however, you would be surprised (or maybe not depending on your experience) at how many new writers fail to do this.
Researching the publication provides you with several important pieces of information that will help you nab that freelance job successfully. First, it will provide you with the contact information for the publication. This will allow you to personalize your query as well as make sure it gets to the right person.
Secondly, getting to know the publication will help you market to them better by understanding their reader demographics. A writing style that works for thirty-something business professionals will not transfer well to the teen market.
Since you can’t have a career in freelance writing without actually doing some work, this article will talk about the multitude of rocks you can turn over to find writing assignments.
You must first decide if you want to be a niche or a general topic writer. A niche writer specializes in a specific topic or category of writing. For example, if you have experience in the medical industry, you could specialize in writing on medical topics which would open doors in the lucrative pharmaceutical industry. Or if you have a way with convincing people to buy stuff they don’t need, you could be a copywriter.
The benefit of specializing is that you only have to be an expert in one topic plus you are able to command higher rates because of your knowledge. On the other hand, you are more likely to run into a work shortage when times are lean.
A general topic writer is just as it sounds; a writer who writes about a little bit of everything. The great thing about this is that you are able to build knowledge across many different areas which make finding work a little bit easier. The major drawback to this is the consumption of time learning all of the different disciplines and the possibility of being passed over for an assignment for you lack of expert knowledge in a particular field.
Now that you’ve decided that you have what it takes to be a freelance writer, it is time to get the ball rolling. Like an artist needs their brushes and paints in which to create great artwork, a writer has tools they need in which to help them be successful in their careers. Below is a list of ten tools that will help get you started in the business of writing for money.
1. A business plan
A business plan provides a road map for your writing career. The biggest benefit is that it makes you think about where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Sure you can go forth without one but just like taking a cross country trip without a map, you may get lost and it may take longer to reach your destination than if you new the exact route you needed to go.
Your business plan does not need to be anything fancy. Even just writing down your goals and planning on how you are going to achieve them is better than nothing at all. The Small Business Administration offers a great resource to help you with writing your business plan.