Freelance writing is not for everyone but it can be an excellent way to build up a portfolio of your work. At the beginning it may feel like you can never get your work published but if you love what you do, you’ll keep going. If one person doesn’t like your work, someone else will. So what do you need to do to start your freelance writing journey? You will ultimately find your own way and your own path on this journey as each writer’s journey is individual. But there are a few things which can help you on your writing journey:
Find Your Own Voice
You often hear that you need to be commercial, topical, marketable. That’s true because you need to fit the requirements of the magazine, newspaper or website you are writing for but you need to be brave enough to be original and write naturally in your own voice too. So how do you go about finding that inner voice?
1. For short stories, absorb the dialogue you hear around you.
2. Think about why does this story or article need to be published? Are you passionate about the subject? Often if you don’t believe what you are writing it shows.
3. Read a lot but don’t copy other writers.
Start A Blog
Starting a blog is an excellent thing to do prior to sending your first freelance article/story off. It helps you to gather what the response to your work is and it can help you gain confidence as a writer. It is also an excellent friend to you when a rejection comes back. If you get a rejection, go back on your blog and write an article for it. It brings your confidence back up and softens the blow of a rejection. It helps me in any case so maybe it will help you too.
It most likely won’t happen straightaway so you need to keep researching outlets for your work. For the most part you should try to fit where you send to around what you know about and are passionate about. It helps you to write a more authentic piece of writing. Freelance writing is probably not for you if you are looking for quick results.
Don’t Be In It For The Money
In the majority of cases you aren’t going to become rich from freelance writing or an overnight success. It’s a slow process where you build up your portfolio and maybe sometime that portfolio might get you a comfortably paying job. Pay your dues through freelance writing and be prepared to work hard. Enjoy the process and don’t always be looking to the big payout in the future. Be warned the majority of freelance writing is unpaid so it’s definitely not a get rich quick scheme. Instead it is a way to get your work out there to people, to gain writing experience. Also check out websites like FutureLearn and Alison for reasonably priced writing and literature-related courses.
Take Pride In Your Work
We’ve all heard the old saying by rather snobbish people to be honest that “Anyone with a blog is a writer nowadays” so reply “Yes darling I am. Any problems with that?” Where you are on the writing ladder is not an indication of your talent. Your work is the indication of your talent so be proud of it. Know that while most freelance writing is unpaid that people won’t just publish anything. Don’t ever let anyone take away your achievements.
Check out magazines and send your ideas to them. I have contributed to Eile Magazine each month for a good while now and I have had a good few stories published in the Reader Fiction section of Woman’s Way, an article published in the Irish Vintage Scene Magazine in which I went and covered an event which was exciting and daunting and a short story published in the Romance Magazine of FictionMagazines.com but there is numerous other genres as well as poetry that you can submit pieces to on FictionMagazines.com. Also check out local journals in your area looking for work. I have been published a few times in the Bray Arts Journal. A quick Google search will bring up numerous opportunities.
No Publication Is Too Big, No Publication Is Too Small
The title to this topic says it all. You shouldn’t be daunted by the names of big publications. If you have a piece you are confident in, send it to them. On the other hand, don’t think your writing is too big for a publication either. Some of the best magazines and websites are run on not a big budget. Have a good attitude: don’t think your writing is too good for anyone and also don’t think a publication is too good for your writing. You are a writer so it’s your job to write for many publications big, small and inbetween.
There’s a difference between cocky and confident. Cocky is thinking you are a better writer than say Oscar Wilde for instance but at the same time don’t be underconfident in your writing ability either. Try to be confident in what you do write and if it’s rejected remain confident in it. Not everyone even gets to the stage where they try. It’s a great start and as a great Irish phrase says, Tus maith leath na Hoibre (A good start is half the work).
So to conclude this piece I wish you all the best in your future writing endeavors and I hope that this article can help you in some way. Getting started in freelance writing can be both terrifying and exciting all in one. But if you love writing it is going to be such a wonderful experience and from one writer to many others I will you all the very best of luck.
(c) Lisa Reynolds