Some people are meant to be writers, and some aren’t. Chances are you think you are, and you’re considering whether freelance writing is a good way to get started. The hard part is that most of us won’t really know if we’re cut out to be a freelance writer until we try. But if you’re not sure, is it a wise move to quit your job (if you have one) and bet the farm on a new career? Probably not.
The good news is that part-time freelance writing really is a viable option. The range of opportunities for freelance jobs is vast, from short product descriptions to full-length feature articles and even books, and they include practically every topic and format you can imagine. The only firm requirement is that you must be a good writer. From that foundation, you can choose jobs that match your particular skills or knowledge and, most importantly, that fit into your schedule.
Let’s be clear up-front: freelance writing is not a way to get rich quickly. Building a revenue stream is about momentum: as you write, you gain expertise, you improve your skills, and you build knowledge and content that you can re-purpose. As a part-time writer, this progress will be slower, but it still occurs. So in the beginning, don’t worry about money. Focus instead on your passion–for your subject, for your audience, or just for the writing itself.
A web-based sourcing service like WriterAccess is an excellent way to launch your foray into part-time writing. Practically all of the difficult work of finding a client, pitching an idea, and getting the assignment is done for you. You focus your limited time on the actual writing, and get the satisfaction of completing your first freelance job. As you build your confidence, you can branch out: Writer’s Digest, for example, includes a directory of publications that accept freelance submissions or pitches, and there are countless other resources, both online and offline.
The real key to growing your freelance career is persistence. You have to seek out writing orders, pitch ideas, build a portfolio. If you’re writing part-time, this process will be gradual, but it still can happen. Make a commitment to do something every day, even if it isn’t actually writing. And really, don’t quit your day job…yet.
Ben V is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.