Know the major freelance markets and which freelance writing opportunities best support your writing style and freelance writing career goals if you want to become a successful freelancer.
Writing for Newspapers
With Internet access available nearly everywhere, it's easy for writers to forget there's a print market at all. Hundreds of thousands of people buy newspapers every day and with most papers being dailies, the need for content is constant. Who better than you to help provide it?
Many writers get their start writing for local newspapers, covering local stories that help them hone basic writing skills, and teach them how to better organize and structure their articles. If you like the idea of writing on a tight deadline, approach your local paper to see what their needs are.
Volunteer your services if you're a beginner-what you'll learn from the staff writers will make up for the lack of pay. The more published clips you can add to your portfolio, the sooner you'll be able to bill yourself, whether it's for the paper you started with or another publication.
Writing for Magazines
Like newspapers, magazines are another print medium that's often overlooked by beginning freelance writers. But take a look at the magazine stand in any bookstore and you'll find hundreds of publications, ranging from general interest to niche-specific, where you can pitch your writing.
Start by making a list of your own interests and spend an afternoon at the bookstore or library researching relevant publications-in other words, start by writing what you know. Magazine writing will challenge you to draft longer pieces than newspapers, but may also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your personal knowledge and a bit more opinion than straight newspaper reporting.
Writing for magazines encourages you to find and develop your own voice. The more pieces you write, the more in touch with that voice you'll get, helping you distinguish yourself from other writers competing in the same market.
Writing for the Internet isn't without its challenges: you'll need to be able to deliver information in small, easily digest pieces in clear, easy-to-understand language. One click of the mouse and the reader is gone.
However, the Internet is proving to be a vast source of freelance writing opportunities. New sites appear daily and with each site launch comes the need for content. Search your favorite job posting sites for freelancing writing jobs and you're bound to find several that interest you and meet your desired pay rate.
A lot of people think ghostwriting is limited to celebrity biographies where the writer does all the work and the star gets all the credit. In reality, ghostwriting opportunities can involve anything from writing blog posts or newsletters for small businesses that don't have the resources to promote themselves online to penning content-based articles for Web sites designed to increase visitor traffic. You won't get a byline, but you will gain expertise in subject areas you didn't have before that may inspire additional article ideas you can publish under your own name.
Freelance Market Resources
If you're still not sure which market is best for you, visit the Writer's Market online and sign up for a free trial subscription to the site to again access to a wealth of current information about available markets as well as articles about managing the business side of freelance writing.
The modern freelance writer has to be able to write Web content, and that means making sure that your writing for the Web skills are up to par. Luckily, there's an easy way to do this. As a bonus, you can get your name in print, get paid to write and build a following. All you have to do is write reviews.
For many freelance writers, or individuals who want to break into freelance writing, getting started is often the hardest part.
Whether you're looking to supplement your current income or change your career altogether, freelance writing offers a unique opportunity to set your own hours, be your own boss, and make money doing something you love.
If you are a freelancer, it's essential that you are setting writing goals for yourself. Here are three writing goals that will help you find the time you need to get your freelancing career off the ground.