An Absolute Beginner's Guide To Finding Paid Freelance Writing Work

Written By: Palak Sharma

If you have taken the first step towards becoming a freelance writer, then at a conscious or a subconscious level, you are ready to be your own boss. However, it is not as it seems to be a freelancer. When you are your own boss, you are responsible for your own marketing, financial health and operational planning. You can’t just hope to be a non-fictional version of Carrie Bradshaw and write your way into Prada-dom. A freelance writer has to meticulously work towards procuring writing gigs that not only pay the bills but also keep the creative juices flowing. While the initial mundane assignments will test your patience, eventually it would become increasingly important for you to focus on quality work and grow as a writer.

Now, a perennially sluggish economy may force you to think that it would be improbable for you to land good freelance writing gigs, but that is most definitely not the case. Economic downturn or not, there is always work for good writers. All you have to do is find the right sources of work. To begin with, you can take the following steps to find new freelance writing gigs.

Create your own freelance writer blog

Setting up your own blog will give you that instant exposure which a budding freelancer can definitely benefit from. A well planned, monetized, pay-per-click and SEO enabled blog can itself start financing your freelancing venture. A writer’s blog can be about writing inspirations, article portfolio and types of freelance services offered by you. This could be your virtual office through which prospective clients can reach you.

Try content mills

Now, a lot of seasoned writers may turn up their noses at the mere mention of content mills, but for a novice, the ease of breaking into this market can be encouraging when confidence levels are still low. Content mills generally pay less and the quality of work is more often than not, unchallenging. But with consistent participation, you can become a preferred writer, can get to write really interesting papers and earn much more than you start with.

Pitch article ideas to magazines and newspapers

Magazines and newspapers are most definitely the highest payers for freelance work, sometimes as much as $2 per word. While it is difficult to get associated with them, once you manage to build that bridge, it can be a very fruitful association. Pitching some article or column ideas to dailies, weeklies or monthlies can be a time consuming process but can get you some much cherished freelance writing gigs.

Write for specialty e-publications

If you are a medical writer, travel writer, finance writer or a technical writer, then sky is the limit for your freelance earnings. All you have to do is find e-publications that cater to your prefereed specialty niche and pitch your ideas to them. It may take you a while to start getting paid well, but eventually per word rate can be as high as $1/word.

Brand yourself effectively

Developing a personal site in sync with your writer blog can enhance the credibility of your personal brand. Once you will start pitching ideas to every possible source, people would want to know you and see your work before setting up a work relationship. A well crafted personal site, showcasing your writing talents can not only impress existing clients but can pique interest of potential clients too.

Explore social media

Facebook, twitter and Linkedin are incredible mediums to promote your work and talents without investing much in marketing. A strategically placed Facebook ad or Linkedin status can drive quality traffic to your personal site and land you a lot of gigs.

Bid for gigs

Freelancing sites like skill pages, freelacecareers, elance, odesk etc. are great platforms to bid for diverse writing gigs and start building your freelance writer portfolio. As they are virtual competitive markets, the pay rates are only slightly better than that of content mills but the potential of becoming a favored writer is there which can improve your earning prospects immensely over time.

Join a writers’ network

You can’t hope to produce quality writing every single time without associating with like minds. Freelance writer clubs, networks and chat rooms are ideal places to build connections and do some unpaid PR. Not only can you develop an information system for yourself, but you can earn some great referrals out of these networks.

Obviously, with time you will get comfortable working for some clients and establish your own sources for generating gratifying writing gigs. But trying your hand at every option will give you incredible exposure and help you develop a versatile writing style more effectively.


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