Freelance writing as a career
Remember these? They really held you to an office desk. Today freelance writing gives you the power of a career in your suitcase.

Many people love to write, but very few take it farther than the occasional journal entry, personal poetry collection, or a half-finished novel. The lack of dedication usually doesn’t come from a lack of enthusiasm or inspiration for writing, but rather an issue of time and prioritising.

Today Arlene Chandler is guest posting at ZigaZag. Read on and discover her helpful and inspiring tips about how to turn freelance writing into a career.

Freelance Writing as a Career

Having a full time job can be an enormous distraction from pursuing a passion which causes dreams to be put on the backburner. On the bright side of things, technology has helped open up many doors, and 2013 has seen more self-employed individuals than ever before. If you’re an aspiring writer, here are a few ways to do what you do best and get paid for it.

Build Your Portfolio

It’s very important to start getting a portfolio together. Your services and talent will be more accepted, trusted, and acknowledged if you have something to show for it, and there are many ways to help get writing samples built up. Start guest posting on sites that allow for contributors (some even pay), write letters to the editor, or even enter a writing contest; seeing your work and accomplishments are worth much more than hearing you talk about it, and samples add a lot of weight to your credibility.

Ed’s Note

Here’s an example of a tear-sheet page that I link to when pitching for freelance work : Scrapbook of Published Work

Here’s an article about how to get into digital marketing.

Start a Blog

One of the easiest and most common ways to make money off of your writing is to run a personal blog. While it’s difficult to make much up front, it’s a great way to add to your portfolio, and a successful blog can be very lucrative. It’s important to update your blog consistently, use SEO friendly key words, and make sure the content is relevant and well-written. A blog owner that makes it big in a particular niche often gets approached for other job opportunities as well as advertising offers.  There are many sites out there that take you step-by-step in helping you create a worthwhile website, and it can be a great side project while getting something bigger rolling.

Ed’s Note: Blog Conferences are a great way to gain knowledge about blogs and increase your contacts too. And don’t forget sites such as Problogger and Jon Morrow’s Boost Blog Traffic.

Advertise Your Services Online

People need writers for many reasons, and the internet has made it incredibly easy to advertise your services to the world. Sites like Craigslist or offer an opportunity for freelance writers to post their resume and portfolio, and in turn, businesses can post job openings when they’re in need of a writer. It’s a great way to get your services known as well as apply for some positions and make some great connections in your field of interest. Once you land that first gig, it makes it much easier for other opportunities to come through.

Publish an eBook

As with most writing opportunities, this one can be very difficult to make much money off of initially, but it can be done. An eBook can be a great way to gain exposure, and you’re more than likely to make at least something off of it. However, if you market your work efficiently, it can take you much farther, and the more avenues you use to promote your work (social media, Craigslist, your personal blog, etc.), the more likely you are to reach your target audience. Most individuals who have made any substantial profit off of their online publication have stressed that finding a niche is the key to success because then you know where to market to. Promoting your work has to be very direct and intentional in order to be successful, and if you stick to writing about something you know about, your voice gains more authority.

Treat it Like a Job

In order for you to turn your love of writing into a career, you have to treat it like a career. Even if you’re just dipping your feet in the water at first, it’s vital that you make a strong and consistent effort to work on your project. It can be hard when you’re balancing another job as well, but in order to be able to one day live off your writing and pursue it full time, it’s important to take it just as serious as anything else going on in your life. If that means you have to sacrifice a couple hours of sleep or spend your day off working, so be it. It’s always worth it to strive for something better, and the hard work put in is always worth the outcome.

Turning writing from a hobby into a career is never a quick transition, but going for something you truly want in life is always preferable to having a life full of regrets. It takes some determination, resilience, and dedication, but if you’re willing to put yourself out there and push towards a more satisfying life, then you’re already ahead of most of the world.

Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who loves helping others prepare for the unexpected turns life can take. She currently writes about income protection insurance from Suncorp.

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  1. Wonderful starting-off tips here for those who would like to make writing a career. And I think the last paragraph says it all for all of us that are looking towards doing what they really want to do in life – whether it is writing or some other avenue.

  2. Thanks Jill. Yes, i think Arlene gave a really good overview and some good snippets of inspiration too.

  3. Arlene Chandler

    I appreciate the kind words, and it’s always lovely to connect with other people who want to shoot for something that makes them enjoy their life a little more 🙂

  4. I think that’s a great quote to start the day with, Arlene! “Shoot for something today that makes you enjoy your life a little more.”

  5. Talk About Creative

    Great tips ! Blogs are a fantastic way to start out as a writer. It provides exposure, you gain experience and you learn what your audience does and does not like. It does take time, but it is a rewarding career. Engaging people either through your blog or other social media platforms is really important for getting your name, product or service known. I have also found that eBooks are really popular. They are a convenient way to people to read their favourite novel, or just get tips on “How To..” from other business people.

  6. Thanks, and yes blogs are definitely not seen as the poor relation in the writing world any more 🙂

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