Freelance writers aren't on staff at a publication -- they sell manuscripts
and articles to a variety of editors on speculation or assignment. They may
write articles for magazines, newspapers, newsletters, journals, online publications
or technical journals. Or they may write television or movie scripts or books.
"As a freelancer, my work is multifaceted. Although my first love is writing
articles and fiction, I've expanded my services to manuscript editing, marketing,
writing promotional copy, ghost writing, and designing professional resumes,"
says Oklahoma freelance writer Bev Walton-Porter.
Writers must be able to express ideas clearly and logically. Being creative,
curious, knowledgeable, motivated and able to persevere is valuable. The ability
to concentrate and produce under pressure is essential. In this computer age,
familiarity with electronic publishing and computers is important as well.
For a writer to be taken seriously, they must produce a portfolio of published
work. The best way to build a portfolio is by taking non-paying writing assignments
for a while. Hit hometown newspapers, churches or company newsletters.
Be willing to start out small and work your way up. Writing assignments
have a tendency to snowball if you keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
The more you write, the more confidence you'll have and the better you'll
be. And it will show in your work.
Many freelancers write part time while holding down other full-time jobs.
Freelancers must learn to accept rejection and not take it personally.
"A bad day freelancing is always better than a good day in an office cubicle,"
says freelancer Scott Ruddick.
Being a freelancer requires an enormous amount of self-discipline. Successful
writers develop effective work habits -- many work out of their homes, which
can save money in child care or even work clothing.
Freelancers often work hard and long hours -- seven days a week. However,
they have the freedom to make their own work schedule to suit their lifestyle.