When you embark on a career as a professional freelance writer, the first thing you must do is make the distinction between creative writing and professional writing. While every writer has a secret dream of creating the “Greatest American Novel,” most creative writing is not published for pay.
Do not let this be discouraging. There are many avenues and outlets for your personal creative writing, and yes, you will accomplish your dream of writing a novel. However, you must be able to pay the bills right now, and to do so you must gear your creativity toward your professional writing.
What Is Professional Writing?
Professional writing is writing that takes place as part of a business transaction. A client contracts a writer to develop a piece of written information that suits what they need accomplished. The subject matter, writing style and length of the article will depend on what the client wants, and the information contained within the piece will fill the clients objectives.
Freelance writers offer these services because they have the creative ability to provide clients with these services. It takes talent and knowledge, along with creativity, to accomplish this type of writing.
Professional writing can be contracted for a specific purpose, such as creating an employee handbook, to an ongoing writing assignment, such as a creating a monthly newsletter for an organization. Each writing assignment is unique, and will take skill to complete.
What About Your Creative Side?
You should never give up on your creative writing. There are several different ways to sell your personal creative writing. You can freelance for magazines and e-zines, you can write short stories for competition. You can work on your novel and self-publish if you desire. All you need to know is that creative writing is the hardest method of earning a living in the freelance industry. If you desire a steady income until your novel makes the best-seller list, use your skills for contract writing jobs.
Where Do You Find Professional Freelance Jobs?
When you are looking for work in the freelance writing industry you will need to:
- Join several freelance community job boards
- Create a personal website
- Promote your services in your community.
There are several freelance job boards that will allow you to become a member and bid on available jobs. Most of these sites do charge a membership fee, but the fee is very nominal. Some sites will allow you to bid on jobs for free and take a percentage of the value of the job when it is completed. This is a brokering fee and very acceptable in the industry. Always include these little expenses in the overall cost of your job proposal. These sites also have communities within them where you can interact with other people that are in the freelance industry. Since these job boards are dedicated to freelance work, not just freelance writing, you will be able to learn from people of all professions. It is very important to interact within these communities so that you can learn about the industry.
You should become a member of more than one site so that you can have a large variety of jobs to bid on. However, you must stay active on these sites, following up on job proposals and leads. Failing to interact with the clients will harm your income.
You will need to establish a personal business website. On this site you can promote your services, post samples of your writing and provide contact information to the clients. Businesses which search for a freelancer outside of the freelance job boards need to be able to find you.
Having a personal website will also allow you to become an authority at your profession. Potential clients are bound to do an Internet search on you prior to using your services. Having a professional site will allow them to see that your bid is a valid bid, and that you are not a “fly-by-night” operation.
Promoting your site offline is also crucial to finding freelance writing jobs. Attend local B2B meetings and networking events. Distribute brochures at fairs and functions. Treat everyone you meet as a potential customer.
Creativity Does Matter In The End
While many writers believe that business writing is not what they imagined a writing career to be, it is in fact a wonderful way to make a living. You have the ability to be creative within guidelines when you write for another person, and for many the creative expression is what matters most.