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How Do I Get A Good Freelance Writing Job?

By Edited Sep 15, 2016 0 0

As one who teaches freelance writers how to find work, this question is the one I hear the most. The first thing I have to tell you is that it's the wrong question, for several reasons. If you want a writing job, you're looking for a position as an employee and that's probably a 9-5 position. In contrast, a freelance writer is someone who works on contract and for a variety of clients. It's not a job. You're responsible for all of your expenses.

If you want security, finding a job is one way to accomplish that, but bear in mind that you're going to be in competition with many other people, all vying for the same position and if you're starting from scratch, you're in for a difficult time, because there will be many writers out there who will have better qualifications than you.

And this is why I tell writers that if you want to break into this business, the best way to do so is by working as a freelancer.

How to Get Started, Quickly

Write for a few magazines for free. This is a great way of getting started and is a method I’ve used many times in the past. It might even lead to a job with that publication. And when you do this, I recommend that you write for a mainstream magazine or newspaper. This is a great way to get article samples (clips), which you can use to get better writing assignments.

Once you get a feeling for writing, and more importantly, working within the style guides of different magazines, you can move on from there.

When I began writing, I had many options. My decision was to specialize and to stick with photography and computer graphics software. Both of these can be highly technical and if you write for magazines that use this technology, you’ll be expected to do in-depth research. In this field, I started with reviews (which can be really time-consuming). Later, I progressed to "how-to" articles, which were much easier (and enjoyable) to

When I began writing I needed expensive software that I couldn't afford. Much to my surprise, I was given NFR (Not For Resale) software for my reviews and tutorials. This software allowed me to write many articles over the years.

Initially, I used MS Word but I've switched to TextPad, mostly because MS Word has a tendency to insert undesirable characters into the text. for screen shots, I use SnagIt, from Techsmith, that allows you to create custom screen shots and will even allow you to capture long web pages, which can be really useful, especially if you want to show an entire process without having to break the image into sections.

Other Fast Start Methods

Write book reviews. This is an easy way of getting your writing career going. The one down-side of this market is that it doesn’t pay very well.

Write Profiles

This is one of my favorite forms of writing. You get to interview a person and tell their story. It’s also an easy way of writing, if you do it correctly. I had one writing gig (Streaming Media World) and the vast majority of my work was interviewing people.

Over time, I became quite good at it and could create articles quickly. Most of the time I recorded telephone interviews, which I’d transcribe and edit later. If I had enough lead time, I’d do an email interview, which made life easier.

And another, really cool side effect of conducting reviews is that if you do enough of them in one niche and they get published, you'll start to be recognized as an expert in that niche.

These techniques are a good way to get started in freelance writing. In time and with some practice, you'll find your niche.




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