Judging from the FWJ mailbag, new freelance writers join the ranks every day. Problem is, many are unsure of where to start. Unless you know what type of writing you want to do, you’ll sort of wander around aimlessly looking for your niche. Figure that out first. Do you want to blog? Would you prefer to hit the magazines or newspapers? Are you more interested in copywriting for ad agencies? There’s so much to consider before diving in.
Here are a few posts about different freelance writing opportunities for your consideration.
- 30 Types of Freelance Writing Jobs and How to Get Them
- Blogging for Beginners: Part 1: Choosing Your Niche
- You Know More than You Think You Do: How to Find a Niche
- 12 Things to Do BEFORE Applying to Freelance Writing Jobs
- What’s a Grant Writer and Why Would You Want to Be One?
Here are a few things to think about before deciding what to write:
- Where do you want to see your byline? Are you interested in magazine markets or writing for the web. Both have different styles of writing and different rules for querying editors. In fact, in some cases with the web, you’re not querying at all, but rather, applying. Where do the different types of writing fit in your comfort zone?
- What is your background? While good writing doesn’t necessarily mean one has to have a degree, your background has a lot to do with the type of writing you choose. If you have a degree in journalism or communications, it makes sense to get into journalistic writing. If your background is human resources, you might consider resume writing or writing about careers for magazines and web clients.
- How much do you want to be paid? The amount of money you’re willing to accept as pay will have a major factor in the types of jobs you wish to choose. For example, web content pays less than many magazine markets. However, there are magazine markets and newspapers – and even staff writing opportunities – that pay the same amount of as web writing. So set your base rate and then determine the types of jobs you want to do. Also, set a negotiation cut off. This is the lowest pay you’ll accept after negotiating with a potential client.
- Do you want to work at home or in-house? Freelance writing isn’t necessarily a work from home job. Some jobs require you to be on site every day, while others require you to take meetings. When you’re not writing for the web or certain magazines, your clients may expect to see you on a regular basis.
- How often will you be able to write each day? This is important. If you only have an hour to devote to your writing each day, you’re not going to be able to do a whole lot of heavy research for magazine articles or investigative journalism. The amount of time you can devote to all aspects of your writing makes a very big difference.
The web has opened up so many opportunities for writers, which is terrific. Not knowing what to write or where to begin can be confusing for many new freelancers. Take some time to look around and see what’s out there. Learn about the different avenues, venues, niches and genres. Research the types of pay. Learn about the different requirements for each type of gig. Once you’re armed with this knowledge, you’ll have a better idea of where and how to start.
How did you decide what to write? Are there any questions you’d like to ask about getting started?