Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Get Started as a Freelance Writer—Part One

Many writers I met with at the Blue Ridge conference expressed an interest in getting started as freelance writers. With the economy as it is, lots are feeling the need for additional or even primary income. With some hard work and diligence, freelance writing could be the answer you’re looking for.

Freelance writing isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It takes hard work—and a certain amount of a daredevil attitude. BUT, if you do the work and put in the hours you WILL see success.

The Basics
There are a couple of things you MUST do to succeed in this industry.
  • Send out the queries...daily.
  • Stay on top of the marketing...daily.

The Specifics
Queries—let’s face it, it's hard to get an assignment if you don’t apply for it. Landing freelance writing jobs is often a numbers game. For every 10 jobs you inquire about, you’ll land one to two. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing how to make those odds better.

The critical thing to remember is if you’re sending out ONE query a week, you’ll probably land ONE job in the next 10 weeks. If you’re serious about earning an income you need to send out 10 queries a day.

Marketing—a simple explanation of marketing is job searching. I check the job boards every single workday. Even when I have regular work, I still spend about 40% of my time marketing. Otherwise, the work will dry up and I’ll have times with no income coming in.

Here's a list of my favorite job boards:

You’ve decided to make the jump from writing as a hobby to writing for profit, so now what? Here's your first step for your journey to freelance writer.

Step One—Start Thinking Like a Writer
Now it’s time to start thinking like a professional. By that I mean, everywhere you look and every experience you have has the potential to become an article.

Ideas for articles are everywhere. Are you at the grocery store? Look at the free magazines and publications offered near the entrance and exit – they have content – they need writers! Check the community bulletin board. There may be a story you can sell to your local newspaper. Did you have a flat tire last week? There are tons of safety magazines that would welcome your story with a slant.

Next Tuesday I’ll continue this series with specifics on getting started. In the meantime leave a comment or ask a question. This will help me make sure this series covers everything you need to get started.

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. Thanks for posting this, Edie. I am in the middle of this right now. I am experiencing the 10 to 1 query ratio and wondered if that was normal. Thanks for the info!

  2. Wow Allison - you're on the ball! I just posted this. I'm glad the info is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions you want answered!

  3. Thanks, Edie. I've been looking through freelance info for a while. I appreciate you putting it in one place.
    I need more info on the query letter; how to format, what to say, how to approach it, etc., and I'm sure you'll cover that as you go through the steps. But my biggest problem right now (if I can explain it) is getting into the process. I've visited some of those job sites you've mentioned, but I can't seem to see the opportunities. I'm sure they're there; I just need to learn to see them. Any advice on leaning to see what's in front of your face? :-)

  4. This is great Edie! I am looking forward to continuing to learn what you have to share.

  5. Kenneth, I will definitely be covering query letters in depth - I will dedicate an entire post to it. And I appreciate your question about job boards - I'll cover that as well.
    Laura, I'm so glad we connected at Blue Ridge and I'm glad this series is helping.
    Blessings All - E

  6. Great post, as always! I'm FBing this!

  7. This is great, Edie. I'm taking that list to look at, too! Thanks so much!

  8. Great stuff - you are so good at helping us out! My summer will be spent pouring over this and APPLYING it!
    thank you,

  9. Edie,
    You are just a wealth of practical information!!

  10. Very helpful information, Edie. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Really helpful info. I've experienced the 10:1 ratio although I've never before seen it in print. Glad to know it's about statistics and not that I should find another profession. : ) I was glad to read places to job search, as well. I've used a site that's not on your list and it's ended up a dry well for months but I kept on since I wasn't sure where else to go. I'm switching as of this week to yours. Thanks for the great reminder to keep marketing even when business is good - it's so easy not to. Thanks, Edie.

  12. Hello Edie, I am a new reader of your blog. I really like the information and tips you share. Blessings!

  13. Thanks for posting this, Edie. I look forward to reading anything and everything about writing and I am planning on attending the BRMWC this spring. I will be using your job sites and anything else I find on your blog that will help me as a beginning writer. EB

  14. Very interesting post. Thank you