Become an Online Freelance Writer - My article on wikiHow
Coming across wikiHow was a very lucky coincidence. It is an amazing site with amazing "How to" articles. I'm sharing with you the results of my struggle to establish myself as an online freelance writer. I sincerely hope that this article helps people and makes their struggle a little more easy. So here goes...
# Rediscover your passion for writing
A profession like online writing is definitely for someone who has had a flair for writing. Maybe a small poem for the school magazine , a short essay for the college daily- the love for penning down thoughts in a manner that appeals to others...is the only criteria required. There will come a point in life, when every other thing around you becomes mundane enough or you want that extra little income. Freelance writing is just the option for you!
# Experiment with your friends & family:
The good Lord created friends & family to help you, be at your side when you need them most. This is the time. Make them go through, in some degree of detail, the very first thoughts that springs from your mind onto paper (or a word doc). More importantly so, if you are writing after long years of inaction. And yes, listen to every feedback they give you. They are your first readers, after all.
# Don't get too carried away with their comments:
Most family members will tell you is that your article is good. But make sure, they do not score a 10/10 for an article written badly. Ask them to give you a frank opinion or an objective view, no matter how bad that might sound to you. This will ensure that the world outside doesn't come back to you with harsher comments or you are able to take the discouragement that might be associated with your first (few)publications.
# Write more than 5 articles in the beginning:
A good writer is most essentially a prolific one. The easiest way to give a good launch to your freelance writing career is to write a lot. Review the book that you read lately or a movie you liked. You can write about job hassles, misadventures with your boss or colleagues, a relaxed evening spent with your sweetheart or a good date that you had lately. If you have kids, I'm sure you will never run out of topics to write about!
# Articles should represent your point of view and not you
Writing an article about yourself (or others) should not sound like a private opinion. Remember, there is a difference between writing your personal diary and writing an article about yourself. Be personal but draw a line, where it is required. Similarly, if you are writing about a particular topic or a social issue, make sure there are some facts in there (Google/Wikipedia provide you with loads of them) and not just your associated thoughts.
# Start a Blog:
Blogs are in! They are free (literally) for you to play around, go wild with your thoughts and post whatever you like. But again be careful that whatever you are posting will be read by editors with whom you may apply a future freelance job. So act accordingly. Project that part of you that can make your career as a successful freelance writer. This blog should be your forte, your strength, the expression of your freedom.
# Practice sitting for hours with your laptop
if you are a home maker, finish the laundry, the dishes, the cooking, get plenty of cushions and go! This is definitely going to take time and needs peace & quiet! When a train of thoughts start flowing, it is wise to convert them to words immediately lest they be forgotten within the next few minutes. A beautiful word, a funny line, a thought-provoking quote... generally don't come back to you by the time you grab that cookie from kitchen or have a quick chat with your next door neighbor.
# Speed up office assignments
Office goers who are planning to freelance have a tough job to do as well. Balancing work, home and writing is definitely a challenge. Its still easy if you work in shifts, but a regular 9 to 6 job requires either late nights or early morning sacrifices to be made. Plus it also depends on whether you are a morning person or a nocturnal one! This job requires hours and you should do whatever possible to give it a good, smart start.
# Don't get discouraged by online scams
I'm sure you will read about scores of scams, negative feedback, bad experiences etc. that people share, regarding their experience as online/print freelance writers. If you are starting your career as one, you also shall have your own share of sour sagas to narrate after some time. But don't let that clips the wings of your newly happening writing career. Always remember that tenacity and perseverance pay (literally!)
# Research. Research. Research
Yes, you just have to do plenty of it. Research on the web for all the agencies that give offer paid freelancing jobs. Make sure these sites are legitimate. Online user reviews will also give you a lot of information. Google, Bing or any other popular search engines might give you plenty of attractive Ads but it is upto you to choose whether the agencies are authentic enough. preferably, go for those people who offer an income (there are others to whom you have to pay for getting offers/jobs). In the end, bookmark the important sites and check if others have bookmarked them too.
# Spend at least half a day per selected agency
Once you have shortlisted the agencies for whom your are going to contribute articles, research some more on them. Read reviews, published articles, testimonials, photographs of any meetings or camps they had in the past. The form you fill to subscribe to this agency should have proper online security checks. Don't to give your email Id out randomly (the barge of spam will be too much to handle ;plus there are added online security risks). Tread carefully and start by choosing just one, highly reliable web agency.
# Write a pleasant article
Your first article should impress. The editors of the online agency will have tons of articles to skim through. Make their job easy & the freelancing job is yours! Your article should be precise, light (flowery or eloquent speeches are most unwelcome), slightly humorous and attention grabbing. Check out for spell, formatting & grammatical errors. The editors should be able to picture the reader enjoying this article & giving them a thumbsup.
# Don't demand or expect an astronomical pay
There will some agencies that will ask you your expectations. Don't stretch out to your limits & name an amount that will repel them not to look at your profile again. be moderate. Prices differ across agencies, jobs, countries and experience of writers. As you are a new, chances are that you are not quite known in the industry and will be paid accordingly. Most importantly, don't fall for websites that offer you that six-figure pay. The generally end up duping you royally.
# Submit the article but don't give up
After submitting the article, keep your expectations low.If you are in luck and the agency selection is good, you have a fair chance of getting the amount that has been promised to you. But in case you don't get a dime, don't be disheartened. There are plenty of other opportunities. Try sending the articles to other online agencies or publications and keep the persistence up. If your work is good, you will surely be noticed & get the kind of work you want.
So good luck to all those who are starting out on this brilliant career path. Always remember, "Only the brave can follow their heart..."
* The only matra for success as an online writer...
* Be persistent
* Be persistent
* Be persistent
* Be persistent
Establishing yourself takes loads & loads of time. So prepare to say goodbye to all those weekend parties, movies, dates, holidays or trips to the local joint. Sad but true!