Freelance writing is a relatively easy profession to begin. It has very low overhead and you don’t need much to get started. However, there are a few primary tools a freelance writer needs before he before starting.
- A computer – Needless to say, but I will still say it, you need a computer. Long gone are the days of manual typewriter. Most of the time, you will not need a hard copy of the document anyway so saving in on a computer is a much better option. The computer that you use needs to be one with adequate memory because you will likely need to store a lot of documents. Of course it also needs a good word processing program installed, such as Microsoft Word, to make sure your documents look professional.
- Internet Connection – In addition to the computer, you definitely need an internet connection. A high speed internet connection is preferable although, you could probably still use an old dial up modem and be fine, depending on what you are writing. If you are writing about something that you have been doing for a long time, you may only need the internet to send e-mails. However, if you are writing articles or things that require a lot of research, you will definitely need a high speed connection. And let’s not forget the most important reason to have an internet connection…TO GET WORK! The vast majority of freelance writing jobs are advertised on the internet through freelance writing sites. If you don’t have an internet connection, you may have a very difficult time finding freelance work. Also, anyone who may hire you will want to correspond through e-mails and receive your work in a timely fashion. The internet makes all of this possible.
- Writing Ability – This one seems like a no-brainer but it really is important. Freelance writing is not something you can do if you have no writing experience. Most people think that writing is easy…you just put some words down on some paper, right? WRONG! Writing although it may appear easy, involves a series of complicated grammar and spelling rules. Writing also entails the ability to phrase ideas correctly, convey a certain tone and maintain document structure. Doesn’t sound so easy now huh? However, since most of us confuse what we want to do with what we actually can do, it is best to get some outside input as to your writing ability. Friends and family are a good place to start but they may not be so helpful. If you are bad, they will tell you you’re good anyway. You need the brutal honesty of strangers to really evaluate your work.
- Self Discipline – To be a freelance writer, you absolutely must have self discipline. It is what keeps you in front of your computer writing instead of kicking a hacky sack. The most attractive aspect of freelancing is that you control your own time. This can be either a blessing or a curse. Since you are in charge of your own time, you must be able to spend that time doing something productive. It is very easy for less disciplined individuals to be distracted by the television or friends and family or anything else. Freelancing is not free. If you are not getting your work done you are not only losing money for yourself but for the one who hired you. Lacking discipline is one way to quickly kill your new career.
- Realistic Goals – I hate to be the one to tell you this but, most freelance writers don’t make six figures. Shocking, I know…According to all the gurus online trying to sell you writing courses, all freelance writers do is sit on the beach sipping Mai Tais writing documents with their computers that sell for $20,000 each. While this may be true for some, it probably won’t be for you. At least not in the beginning. As a freelance writer, you set your own price and to get your foot in the door, you will probably have to start cheap.
However, do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Some unscrupulous businesses out there will hire you to write and not pay you a fair wage. Don’t sell yourself short because while you are working on a very low paying job, a job with higher pay is passing you by.
Now that you have everything you need to be a freelance writer, get out there and start writing. The world looks forward to reading your work.
Also Read: How to Jumpstart Your Freelancing Career in Writing (Freelance Writing 101)
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