5 Ways to Make a Smooth Transition to Freelance Writing

 

When it comes to making the transition to freelance writing, it can be tempting to just throw caution to the wind and dive headfirst and blindfolded into an unstructured and flexible lifestyle. That’s (more or less) how I did it.

Don’t do it. It’s harder than you think.

Freelancing is competitive and tough to break into, the biggest hurdle being that no one wants to hire you until you’ve proven that you already have experience. but how do you get experience when no one will hire you?

Because I’ve already made the jump, I’ll let you in on some strategies I’ve learned to make the transition easier (i.e. what you should do).

1. Try Out Content Mills

I know, they get bashed a lot by most successful freelancers, and why shouldn’t they? Odds are you won’t get any credit for the work and it will involve a lot of mundane SEO writing.

So why do I recommend it?

Content mills are a source of reliable and consistent work, and they can easily help to supplement your income during dry spells. For beginners who don’t have many clients, this can be a quick way to secure work until the pipeline starts flowing.

One decent content mill you can try is textbroker. With their star-rating for authors you can climb your way up to rates as high as 3-4 cents per word.

2. Don’t Quit Your day Job. Try Part-time Work Instead.

A part-time job can be a great way to secure payment for your monthly expenses, while leaving freelancing as a way to make decent money on the side. this strategy can help to take a bit of the pressure off when first starting out.

Not only can a part-time job help by giving you a bit of extra money in your pocket, but depending on the industry, it can lead to gaining potential clients that can help you transition into a full-time freelancer.

3. You Need to Already Have a Website.

Don’t go making the transition to freelancing unprepared. Setting up an author website is one of the first steps you should take when seriously considering freelance writing. You need to have a web presence, as most clients will ask for a link to your site or portfolio.

Most people have personal blogs written through WordPress, but if you want to attract professional clients, you need to present yourself as a professional. That means owning your own domain and being open to inbound work when it comes up.

4. Upwork

If you haven’t already heard of it, Upwork  is an online platform for freelancers where they can set up their own profile and bid on any job that strikes their fancy. If you’re still working on that website, the profile page in Upwork can serve as a decent stand-in.

There are many great ways to make yourself stand out on Upwork, including pinning previous projects to your profile, taking qualifying tests on a wide variety of subjects, and setting your own rate per hour.

For the just-budding freelancer this is one of the most valuable resources I can recommend, as it was the way I landed my first clients. The pay might not be great at first, but like a snowball, once you get it rolling, it will grow.

5. Local Opportunities

Don’t spend all of your time trolling the internet for jobs. While there can be more opportunities, there’s also significantly more competition.

Try taking the time to get plugged in with local organizations or groups. Volunteering can be a great method to develop connections. At the very least, try hooking up with other writers in your community, and see what methods they have used. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, so keep your eyes and ears open.

 

 

The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing

 

 

Author: Alice LaPlante

 

In an age where we all have immediate access to information, one would think that self-education would be easier now than ever. While there is some truth to this, one downside is that the internet is now full of countless instructive and informative articles with conflicting messages. For striving fiction writers this can lead to questions as to which way is the “right” way.

We’ve heard before that there is no right or wrong way to tell a story. Every writer is a unique and special snowflake, and there is no set formula for writing fiction that will work for everyone.

While this is true, I think that Alice LaPlante’s comprehensive guide is one of the best starting points for any aspiring author looking to push their work to the next level.

The Making of a Story is a rigorous guide through the world of literature. In it, LaPlante clearly outlines and defines the elements of stories (characterization, plot, dialogue, narration, point of view, and the importance of details) and discusses to great lengths how each one fits into both the larger structure of a novel, as well as short stories and creative nonfiction.

At the end of each chapter, LaPlante clips in excerpts of writing from some of the most highly regarded authors in literature as a way to show how they used an element particularly well. These include stories by Ernest Hemingway, Denis Johnson, Tim O’Brian, Joyce Carol Oates, and many others. It wasn’t the first time I had read many of these, as they were commonly seen in the creative writing classes I took in college, but reading them through LaPlante’s lens, a new light was shed on them. I felt like for one of the first times I was beginning to see the strings that held the story in place.

Along with including great examples of both fiction and nonfiction writing, LaPlante goes one step further to include writing exercises to challenge the reader and help hammer in the point of each chapter. The exercises are both refreshing and fun, and (at least for me), help to tap back into the joy of writing.

So if you find yourself wanting to really dig into the meat of what makes a story the way it is, I couldn’t suggest a better book. And if the world is getting you down and you’re thinking maybe you should go get an MFA instead, read this first. It may just teach you everything you’ve been looking for.

It’s Good to Be Back

 

Do I sometimes imagine myself as a vigilante to make sitting and writing in a room more exciting? Maybe. Shut up.

It’s good to be back again.

I apologize for my lack of visibility the past few months. You’ll notice right away that this looks very different from my last site, which was hosted through Bluehost.com.

That’s right, I didn’t include a link there. No, it wasn’t a mistake. Yes, I was displeased with their service and terminated my account.

Basically what happened was that all of my files one day mysteriously vanished (it was my own fault for not backing them up), and I was left with no working domain. Suffice to say I was not pleased about this, and after months of frustrating conversations with their tech support team I had had enough. I deleted my account and started over.

So here I am again, back at the old blogging business. I’m running my site through eHost (See? That’s what you get when your service works. You get a link!) now, and am pleased to report that so far the only problem was that last email everyone got with a broken link (which I only knew about because my sister was kind enough to let me know). It’s still a struggle, but I’ve managed to fix things so far.

That’s all for now, kids. I’ll leave you all with one final thought in case I haven’t beat the horse into a pulp yet.

It’s good to be back.