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How to Become a Freelance Writer

June 6, 2011 by typingandsurveys

It is quite possible for a person to start working from home as a freelance writer. It is also possible to run a substantial amount of income doing this kind of work. There are however certain requirements and prerequisites that determine your success in this work. The very first thing is that you must be able to write and deliver the goods in order to do this work on a sustainable basis.

There are several clients who are looking for writers on a freelance basis in various different fields. There is no doubt of freelance writing jobs. Not all of them have to be home based jobs in the sense that freelance writing jobs are also applicable to traditional industries and fields such as newspapers, magazines, films and television writing.

Writing jobs are available to freelancers in several professional and creative fields such as medical, legal, films, advertising, publishing, technical etc. Even freelance writers for these traditional fields can do their writing  as a work-at-home job.

You need to have required skills/credentials to become a home based freelance writer

In order to become a freelance writer and be successful at it you first have to ensure that you have the necessary skills. A writer needs to be good at his vocabulary and grammar. A writer needs to be able to write in a clear manner where he understands the needs of the client and communicate to the target audience successfully. Different kind of freelance writing projects may have a different need of style and communication that needs to be implemented. One of the very important skills for a freelance writer is that he should be able to harness different styles and approaches to suit different assignments. This of course does not apply to a specialized freelance writer who writes about a specific  field. But even a specialized writer needs to get the point across to his t arget audience and do it in a manner so as to keep their attention.

Good writing is essential to the success of any freelance writer. So if you feel that your skills with grammar and vocabulary are lacking then perhaps it is time for you to get back to school or college and to a short-term course in creative writing. These short-term courses will enable you to learn the essentials of writing. This may seem like a rather obvious advice but the fact of the matter is that almost everybody thinks that they can write.

When it comes to picking up simple freelance assignments online almost everybody thinks that they can manage to do the job. But the truth is that like everything else writing is a job that requires skills and knowledge. There are things that you have to know about writing which makes all the difference between a good and bad writing. Writing skills are something that are acquired or learnt. Do not presume that it’s only writing and since you learnt how to read and write in school you can do this job. There is a big difference in knowing how to write and knowing how to write professionally.

Someone who intends to take the writing career seriously can also go in for advanced courses and maybe even consider taking a degree in writing. A freelance writer with a full-fledged degree in writing would be paid more than someone who does not have those same credentials. Just like any other job, freelance writing also demands skills, credentials and qualifications. You can have them all or a combination of them. If you’re not going for long-term course you should at least pick up a few books on writing and grammar basics.

Readiness to network and communicate to get writing work from home

In the beginning of your freelance writing career be ready to communicate and network. Picking up your first few freelance writing assignments will be the most difficult of all. This will be especially true for someone who does not have prior experience or qualification in the field.

There are several websites online that allow freelancers to apply for freelance writing jobs, however a newcomer will quickly realize that there is a large monopoly of freelance writers who have already been working in this field for a very long time and already have a portfolio to boast about.

Then there are full-fledged content developing companies who are bidding on the same freelance projects. In order to succeed in picking up your first few projects when you do not have a profile to start with you will need to be communicative  with the clients. You will need to leverage your options by doing as much networking as possible.  Start will smaller assignments and work your way up if thats what it takes.

Having flexibility and ability to write about different topics

Also, being a freelance writer will means that you will need to work on various different assignments such as writing articles, fiction, e-books and specific material for clients. You will be required to develop material in such a way as to cater to the needs of those clients. Working for corporates and companies will mean that you will have to be comfortable in meeting with administrative heads, company vice presidents and other management personnel.

You should be ready to communicate in person as well as in writing in the beginning of your freelance career. Decide what you are going to charge for your services beforehand. Practice a description of your services and your profile before meeting the client. So when questions arise you do not seem hesitant or undecided about your own abilities as well as the amount of money that you wish to charge. Freelance jobs for newcomers are often open for lot of bargaining in terms of financial remuneration.

If you are not confident about how much you want to charge for a job, the client will either decide that you are unsure of your own writing abilities or they will decide what they want to pay you. Either way, you either end up loosing the assignment all together or getting paid much less than what you wanted.

Understanding how much you can earn from home based writing jobs

The amount of income that you can generate from this work as a freelance writer will depend upon how much time and effort you are willing to devote to your startup efforts, how good you are at writing and how much are you willing to work.

You should also understand that different freelance jobs in different fields  pay differently. A freelance writing job with the media or television company may pay fairly highly as compared to  picking up online writing project for writing product descriptions for a brochure. But then conversely the amount of pressure and work involved in writing for television or media related field will be much more than what would be involved in a smaller freelance assignments that you pick up online.

Maintaining professional but cordial relations with clients

Ii is good to maintain a business relationship with the client so you can continue working for them in the future as well as to grow your reputation to attract other clients. Be in as much communication with them so as to ensure that you are delivering what the client requires from you.

Always remember to get the terms and conditions of the freelance assignment in the form of a written contract which includes all details of the work including  the payment process. Maintain a professional relationship on all fronts with your client. This keeps the working of the relationship smooth and works best for future growth as well.

Publishing your own work

If you are intending to publish a book and want to send it to a publisher then send a query letter that describes your book idea as well as your experience and qualification that back up your venture. If you have not been published previously then you should provide the publisher with that information.

If you have already finished the manuscript then you should inform the publisher that you are ready to send it to him or her as per their convenience. Many authors mail their manuscripts to several established publishers through registered post with the expectation of hearing back from someone who gets around to reading it and approving of it.

If you have previously been published then include that information in your query letter as well as that is apt to  improve your chances of getting published.

Excersizing discipline in your writing schedule

As mentioned before in order to be successful as a freelance writer you need to be organized in your approach. Working from home has many advantages one of the foremost of which are being able to create your own schedule and dictate your own work terms.

The benefits of working from home as a freelance writer include working at a comfortable time and in a comfortable zone. You can decide when you want to work, when you want to cater to other chores and activities and when you want to spend time in conference and communication with your publishers and clients.

However, if you cannot discipline yourself to writing hours and the associated activities you will quickly find your productivity dipping. Writing work is best managed when done on a regular basis with exercised discipline.

Carve out a work routine and stick to it most of the times. You know that you can be flexible when the need arises but catering to a work routine helps you to stay professional. Even getting dressed for work even when working from home, helps segregate the personal time from professional time. Segregate time for personal activities from professional working time as well.

Make a working space for yourself. Create a space where you feel professional. Let this place be the place of work only where you are surrounded with tools of your trade that will enable you to work efficiently such as comfortable ergonomic chair, writing desk, fax, telephone, computer, printer, internet access, books, research material, filing cabinets and what ever else that you may need.

The office space that enables you to work as a freelance writer does not have to be very big. It just has to be a space that helps you focus on your work and can keep you away from distractions, or keep the distractions away from u, as the case may be, so that you can do your writing job with complete concentration.


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