Want to go from a hobby writer to a paid freelancer? It’s not as hard as it may seem. There are tried and true steps to take. Here are four things you can do today to work toward your dream of being paid to write words.
Think About Your Niche/s/
Once you begin looking into becoming a freelance writer, you’ll notice there are many subjects to write about. Not only that, but there are several of “types” of writing. From blog posts to e-books to white papers and conversational tone to technical writing there is a lot to choose from. The good news is there is room for those who work hard, the bad news is, you have to start narrowing your focus a bit.
There are many schools of thought about choosing a niche as a writer. Some feel it’s necessary to choose a niche (a topic and/or way of writing) while others will tell you not to, especially as a newbie.
Here’s my take. I think you’ll kinda fall into your niche eventually simply based on what you like, what you know about and what type of writing you’re comfortable with or what you discover you like to do.
Write Down Your Thoughts, Ideas, and Dreams
Go somewhere quiet (yes, the bathroom counts). Sit down with your paper and pen, laptop or whatever; you just need your thoughts and ideas written down.
For the next 5 minutes, write down every thought that comes to mind. Good, bad, about your kids, your spouse or partner, what’s for dinner tonight, who needs new clothes, when the last time was you got a haircut, did you feed Fido… whatever, just write it down.
Once you’re done, look at your list. Your list probably includes subjects you know about, which are good topics to write about.
Now, for the next 5 minutes, make another list, including your dreams, items you’d love to purchase, activities you’d love to do, places to go, etc.
This list will also contain subjects to write about. These topics may require more research, but, because you’re interested, you’d probably enjoy writing about them.
Finally, re read both lists. See any themes? If so, you may be looking at your future writing niche/s/.
If not, you have ideas to write about to see what works for you.
Brainstorm 10 – 15 Working Titles
Now take that random list of thoughts and brainstorm possible article titles for these subjects.
Ideally, you want to come up with 10 – 15 titles. If you’re having a hard time, check out HubSpot’s Blog Idea Generator for help. I’ll be honest; I’m not great at titles, so I use this tool often!
This is a great exercise for a couple reasons. First, it gets the creative juices flowing. Thinking about titles, at least for me, helps me start to see the entire article and what I could potentially write about and what angle I could take.
Second, once you begin pitching as a freelance Writer, you’ll find that you have to come up with titles for cold pitches and clients who want ideas pitched. Getting used to this step is helpful especially if you’ve never done it before.
Search for Your Writing Tribe
After completing these steps, you should have an idea of what niche you’d like to write in.
Now, it’s time to start looking for a “tribe.” Working from home is great, but gets lonely. You can find your tribe anywhere. There are many local writing groups and lots of great groups on social media.
As a healthcare content writer, I adore the Healthcare Marketing Network. They are a group of freelance writers who come together to educate, inspire and teach.
As a blogger with chronic illness, I found the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, another group who have tons of knowledge to offer.
Also, there are many Facebook groups for writers. I’ll make a list of my favorites in another post, but for now, start looking for your tribe.
It’s important to have a good support system as you launch yourself into the freelance world! Now that you’ve done these things, I hope you’re fired up to take the next step, getting samples ready.
If you found this helpful, please share with friends who may be thinking of freelance writing!