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How can I get started in freelance writing?

I'm a high school senior who is graduating high school who is looking to make money to help pay my college tuition and my only experience is writing essays for class

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Trenia’s Answer

Try looking for small newspapers in your area, and see if they need secretarial help so you can at least have a steady paycheck, then volunteer short stories for entertainment section of paper! Just to get your writing noticed ! That's what I did,I ended up writing Recurring soap opera for the paper.
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Nina’s Answer

Hi there!

The easiest way to get started is to find a topic you're passionate about, and being prepared to write for small amounts of money for a little while. If you like music, submit reviews to local street press in your area. If you're interested in education, try instructional design for an hourly fee. As you get started. the important thing is building up the muscle to write in as many different styles and lengths as possible. Learning to write in the voice of whatever brand, publication, or style you are interested in is really important, too. Another way is to write social media copy for smaller brands. This will teach you economy of words, and how to turn around copy quickly - a great skill for a freelance writer!

Good luck!
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Heather’s Answer

Hey there, congrats on almost graduating high school! Freelance writing can be a great way to earn extra money for college tuition, especially if you enjoy writing essays.

First things first, practice makes perfect. Start by honing your writing skills in different styles, like articles, blog posts, or product reviews. The more versatile you are, the more opportunities you'll have.

Consider what topics you're passionate about or knowledgeable in. Finding your niche will help you stand out in the freelance market. Whether it's technology, fashion, travel, or health, focus on what interests you the most.

Building a portfolio is key, even if you don't have professional experience. Gather your best essays and any other writing samples you have. Starting a blog or contributing to online platforms can also showcase your skills.

Networking is your friend! Reach out to friends, family, teachers, or anyone who might know someone in need of writing services. You never know where your next opportunity might come from.

Explore freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr to find writing gigs. Create a profile highlighting your skills and experience, and start applying for jobs that catch your eye.

Pitching to publications is another avenue to explore. Look for online magazines, blogs, or websites that accept freelance submissions. Craft a compelling pitch tailored to each publication and submit your ideas for articles or guest posts.

Stay organized as you start taking on freelance projects. Keep track of deadlines, client communication, and invoicing to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Keep learning and growing! Take online courses, attend workshops, or join writing groups to continue improving your skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

Starting out in freelance writing might be tough, but with persistence and dedication, you'll get there. Keep writing, keep hustling, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. You've got this!
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Anna’s Answer

Since your experience is primarily in writing essays for school, you’ve already got a solid base in crafting structured content, which is a big plus. The key now is to transition those skills into writing that appeals to various audiences.

Starting out, you might want to explore different types of writing to see what fits you best—like blogging, article writing, or writing social media content. Platforms like Medium or WordPress are great places to start publishing your work. This not only builds your portfolio but also gets you comfortable with writing in a more relaxed, engaging style that’s suited for online audiences. Share your writing with friends and family to start - get feedback from them and keep refining your style/approach!

To really kick off your freelance writing career, you can sign up on freelance job platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. Create a profile that highlights your writing skills and any relevant experience (you might even be able to share your portfolio that I mentioned before). At first, you might need to take on some lower-paying jobs to build up your reputation/experience, especially starting off as a new writer. As you gain more experience and positive reviews, you can start charging more for your writing. Also, don’t shy away from reaching out to local businesses or online publications to see if they need writing help—it’s a great way to get real-world experience and make professional connections.

I am an Instructional Designer which uses writing and scientific design to build training curriculum/materials for learners. This has been a great way to build my writing skills and make a big impact on peoples' lives.

You are on the right path!
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Ruztique’s Answer

Hi there!

Starting with freelance writing can be an amazing side hustle! I'd say start with finding things you enjoy writing about or have an interest in to create a portfolio. Having one is crucial in the industry as employers/contractors want to see your skills. You can even tailor your school essays to add to it as well to highlight your long-form writing skills.

After you create a portfolio I say sign up for sites like UPWORKS to find writing work.

I hope this helps!
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello. Kieran !

There is a lot of opportunity that awaits you as a writer ! What a wonderful venture it would be and since you do not have anything published to submit for freelance writing jobs, this is the best time to begin !

Your first step will be to write on the website Writing - a website where writers gather and write about various things and have them copywritten for the site as well as create collections of your writing (link is below). Next you should familiarize yourself with The Writer (link below) where you can become familiar with the market and discover where you can send your writings.

There are many websites that need content creators and articles written so do a search for them on the internet. Now a big thing you can do is to actually apply for jobs as a writer through Indeed and Linked In. You most likely will need to have a lot of samples of your work, things you have written and getting a position as a writer doesn't happen overnight or when you'd want it. The competitive nature of being a writer should not discourage you, but it will take time to build a repertoire so that you can sell yourself to hiring companies. Register at both Indeed and Linked In and set notifications for jobs connected to writing. Consider both in person and remote work. You may see employment descriptions such as send five examples of your published work along with a resume and cover letter.

You will have to start a writing schedule and set aside some time every day to write. Join a writers group right there in Manhattan. Some of these are The Writers Room at 740 Broadway, Gotham Writers Workshop at 555 8th Avenue, The Writers Rock at 167 West 81st Street, Sackett Street Writer's Workshop in Brooklyn, and New York City Writers Critique Group which is a group on the website Meet Up which meet in person. So, to grow as a writer, you must network and always keep active in learning and make contacts that could possibly help you or offer you projects. When starting out, it may not be so solitary as it could be later on in years once you become established. Look up the groups I've mentioned online and read their websites or drop in for a visit in person.

I hope that this can be useful to you and I wish you all the best !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

WRITING FORUM AND PUBLISHING SITE ~ WHERE THE WRITERS GO www.writing.com
WRITER MAGAZINE ONLINE https://www.writermag.com/
NON FICTION FREELANCE MARKET https://medium.com/illumination/23-paying-writing-markets-earn-hundreds-to-thousands-of-dollars-freelancing-from-this-writing-dfa7c1db9544
TIPS AND TOOLS TO ADVANCE YOUR WRITING CAREER https://fundsforwriters.com/markets/
161 MARKETS TO SUBMIT YOUR WRITING TO https://makealivingwriting.com/earn-money-online-161-markets/
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Patrick’s Answer

Kieran, it's admirable that you, as a high school senior, are aiming to start a freelance writing career. This can not only support you financially but also fuel your love for writing. Here's a clear roadmap to get you started in freelance writing:

* Think about the subjects you like to write about or are knowledgeable in. Your academic essay writing experience is a solid base, but think about exploring areas like creative writing, journalism, content marketing, or technical writing. Your specialty could be anything from tech to travel, health, lifestyle, or even personal finance.

* Even with limited professional experience, you can build a portfolio that displays your writing talent. Use your academic essays as examples, but tweak them to fit different formats like blog posts, articles, or opinion pieces. You can also write for student publications, start your own blog, or create content for websites like Medium to show off your writing skills.

* Use your existing contacts and reach out to potential clients or mentors in the writing field. Connect with local businesses, startups, or online publications that might need freelance writers. Go to writing workshops, seminars, or networking events to broaden your connections and learn from seasoned professionals.

* Check out freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr where you can set up profiles and apply for writing jobs. Even though there's a lot of competition, these platforms offer numerous opportunities across various industries and skill levels. Also, regularly visit job boards like ProBlogger, Freelance Writing Gigs, or MediaBistro for freelance writing jobs.

* Spend time improving your writing skills and staying informed about industry trends. Take online courses, workshops, or read books on writing, grammar, SEO, and copywriting to boost your expertise. Welcome feedback from clients, colleagues, or online communities to polish your craft and adapt to different writing styles and requirements.

* As you start your freelance writing career, always be professional and reliable in your interactions with clients. Always meet deadlines, communicate well, and deliver top-notch work that goes beyond expectations. Building a reputation for reliability and excellence will help establish long-term relationships with clients and lead to more profitable opportunities.

* Lastly, once you start earning from freelance writing, manage your finances wisely. Save some of your earnings for college tuition or other expenses, and think about investing in tools or resources that can help your writing career, like premium editing software or marketing courses.

Kieran, by following these steps and staying dedicated to your goals, you can launch a successful freelance writing career that not only funds your college education but also feeds your love for writing. Remember, consistency, perseverance, and a willingness to learn are crucial for success in the freelance writing industry.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Patrick. Kieran
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Arian’s Answer

¡Hola Kieran!

Para empezar a escribir como autónomo, es fundamental que te enfoques en identificar tus fortalezas y pasiones en el ámbito de la escritura. Reflexiona sobre qué tipo de contenido disfrutas escribir y en qué áreas te sientes más cómodo y seguro. Aprovecha tu experiencia previa escribiendo ensayos para la clase como base para expandir tus habilidades y especializarte en áreas específicas como redacción de artículos, contenido web o creación de contenido para redes sociales.

Además, ser autónomo requiere de una buena planificación y organización. Te recomendaría que crees un portafolio con muestras representativas de tu trabajo para mostrar a posibles clientes. Establece tarifas competitivas que reflejen el valor de tu trabajo y promociónate activamente en plataformas en línea como redes sociales, páginas web de freelancers o blogs especializados en escritura para aumentar tu visibilidad y atraer clientes potenciales.

Mantente siempre actualizado en las tendencias y técnicas de escritura, así como en el mercado laboral de la redacción autónoma. Participa en cursos, talleres o conferencias relacionadas con la escritura para seguir mejorando tus habilidades y ofrecer un servicio de calidad a tus clientes. No tengas miedo de probar cosas nuevas y de buscar oportunidades para crecer y destacarte como escritor independiente.

¡Te deseo mucho éxito en tu camino como escritor autónomo! ¡Estoy segura de que con dedicación, pasión y esfuerzo lograrás alcanzar tus metas y convertirte en un profesional de la escritura independiente! ¡Adelante, Kieran!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your support, Arian Kieran
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Tom’s Answer

This all depends on what kind of writing you want to do. Some sites will want you to gather a writing portfolio, or several samples, to look at so that they can gauge your level of skill. Others might say 'welcome aboard' right away if you pass the tests they give you. It's very easy to tell you to go one way or another, but writing is something you need to figure out on your own when it comes to what works and what doesn't. Pick a subject you like to write about, then another, and a few more so that you have a solid base to work from. Then, apply to as many sites as you can to test the waters.
Personally, I've been a freelancer for the past ten years, and have had plenty of ups and downs. If you don't mind writing essays and term papers for others, there are academic sites that pay fairly well. If you want to write for entertainment, there are A LOT of sites out there to choose from. But I will give you one bit of advice, don't let anyone take advantage of you. It's important to work your way up as a writer and earn your stripes, so to speak. But don't let anyone think they can get your work for pennies when they ask for you to follow the gold standard. There are too many writers out here who think of themselves as 'great' when in truth they're barely capable of writing a high school-level essay without fumbling several times per paragraph.
Writing as a freelancer is great since you're your own boss until you decide to attach yourself to someone's business. But it's also a time to be aware of those who are going to look at you as someone they can mess with because you're not attached. Out of all the pitfalls and triumphs though, being a freelancer is fun since if you're smart and self-disciplined, you can write your own schedule and keep your own hours. Another little bit of advice I'll give you though, request an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and at least 25 to 50% of your fee upfront, as this helps to keep from being scammed by your clients. Apart from that, I'll leave you with the same advice I give many people:\

Just write.
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James Constantine’s Answer

Dear Kieran,

Here's a guide to kickstart your journey into freelance writing:

1. Discover your specialty: Given your background in essay writing, academic or educational writing could be a suitable starting point. Alternatively, consider exploring other areas such as creative writing, copywriting, technical writing, or journalism, depending on your talents and inclinations.

2. Construct a portfolio: Develop a collection of your work to demonstrate your writing prowess. You can include class essays or craft new pieces specifically for your portfolio. Ensure each piece is meticulously proofread and edited to guarantee top-notch quality.

3. Establish an online presence: Create a website or utilize platforms like LinkedIn or Upwork to display your portfolio and freelance writing services. Incorporate details about your experience, education, and any pertinent certifications or accolades.

4. Promote yourself and network: Engage with writers, editors, and industry professionals on social media and professional networking sites. Attend local writing workshops or conferences to meet potential clients and acquire new skills. Leverage email marketing and social media to advertise your services.

5. Determine rates and formalize contracts: Investigate standard rates for freelance writing in your chosen niche and based on your experience. Be transparent about your rates and formulate contracts with clients that specify the work scope, deadlines, payment terms, and other crucial details.

6. Consistently produce excellent work: Adhere to deadlines, maintain clear communication with clients, and deliver flawless work to build a stellar reputation as a dependable freelance writer. Continually enhance your skills through reading, practice, and learning from client and peer feedback.

7. Follow up on payments: Ensure you receive payments on time by promptly following up on late or missing payments. Set clear payment terms in your contracts to avoid any potential disputes.

References:

- Freelance Writing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
- How to Start Freelance Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Become a Freelance Writer: 14 Steps

May God bless you on your journey!
JC.
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Gina’s Answer

Getting started in freelance writing can be a great way to earn money and gain valuable experience. Here are some steps to help you begin your freelance writing journey:

1. Identify your niche: Determine the type of writing you enjoy and excel at. This could be anything from blog posts, articles, copywriting, social media content, or academic writing. Focusing on a specific niche can help you target clients and develop your expertise.

2. Build a portfolio: Start by creating a portfolio of your writing samples. Since you mentioned writing essays for class, include some of your best essays that showcase your writing skills. If you don't have many samples, consider writing articles or blog posts on topics that interest you and publish them on platforms like Medium or your own blog.

3. Set up a professional online presence: Create a professional website or online portfolio to showcase your writing samples, services, and contact information. This will make it easier for potential clients to find and evaluate your work.

4. Network and market yourself: Reach out to your network, including friends, family, teachers, and classmates, and let them know about your freelance writing services. Utilize social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to connect with potential clients and share your writing expertise.

5. Join freelance platforms: Sign up for freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr. These platforms connect freelancers with clients seeking writing services. Create a compelling profile, highlight your skills and experience, and start bidding on relevant writing projects.

6. Pitch to publications: Research online publications, magazines, or websites that accept freelance submissions. Craft personalized pitches and submit your writing ideas or completed articles for consideration. This can help you gain exposure and build your writing portfolio.

7. Develop your skills: Continuously work on improving your writing skills by reading books, taking online courses, or attending writing workshops. This will help you refine your craft and stay competitive in the freelance writing market.

8. Be professional and reliable: Deliver high-quality work on time and communicate professionally with clients. Building a reputation for reliability and professionalism is crucial for long-term success in freelance writing.

9. Set fair rates: Research industry standards and set fair rates for your writing services. Starting out, you may need to charge lower rates to build your portfolio and gain experience. As you gain more clients and expertise, you can gradually increase your rates.

Remember, freelance writing requires persistence, patience, and continuous learning. Be prepared for rejections and setbacks, but don't give up. With dedication and a strong work ethic, you can build a successful freelance writing career.
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Temitayo’s Answer

Getting started in freelance writing requires a combination of skills development, networking, and proactive marketing. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you begin your freelance writing journey:

Identify Your Niche: Determine what topics or industries you're passionate about or have expertise in. Choosing a niche can help you target specific clients and set yourself apart from other freelance writers.
Build a Portfolio: Start by creating writing samples that showcase your skills and expertise in your chosen niche. If you don't have any published work, consider writing articles or blog posts on platforms like Medium or creating a personal blog to showcase your writing.
Set Up a Professional Online Presence: Create a professional website or online portfolio where potential clients can learn more about you and your writing services. Include samples of your work, information about your expertise, and contact details.
Network: Reach out to potential clients and other freelancers in your niche through social media, online forums, and networking events. Building relationships with other professionals in your industry can lead to referrals and collaboration opportunities.
Pitch Your Services: Start pitching your writing services to potential clients, publications, and content agencies. Craft personalized pitches that demonstrate your understanding of their needs and how you can help solve their problems through your writing.
Utilize Freelance Platforms: Sign up for freelance platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr to find writing gigs and connect with clients. Be strategic in choosing projects that align with your skills and interests.
Set Your Rates: Determine your pricing structure based on factors such as your level of experience, the complexity of the project, and industry standards. Be confident in communicating your value to clients.
Deliver Quality Work: Once you land writing gigs, focus on delivering high-quality work that meets or exceeds your clients' expectations. Be responsive to feedback and open to revisions to ensure client satisfaction.
Market Yourself Continuously: Keep marketing yourself and your services to attract new clients and opportunities. Consistently update your portfolio, engage with your audience on social media, and seek out new avenues for showcasing your writing.
Hone Your Skills: Continuously work on improving your writing skills by reading widely, taking writing courses or workshops, and seeking feedback from peers and clients. The more you practice and refine your craft, the better equipped you'll be to succeed as a freelance writer.
Remember that building a successful freelance writing career takes time and persistence. Stay proactive, be open to learning and feedback, and don't be afraid to take on new challenges and opportunities along the way.
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Jack’s Answer

Hi, Kieran! Such a great question, and an increasingly relevant question as more and more businesses and publications are looking to produce more written content with fewer resources than they'd like. It means a lot more opportunities for writers like you and me. Here are a few tips I'd suggest:
1. Find a niche--the more of an expert (or even just an enthusiast) on a particular topic or subject, you can target the types of outlets that would realistic for you to pitch. So if you like astronomy...find a list of outlets that typically publish astronomy-related content. Same with cooking or sports (esp a specific sport) or gaming. The more you can establish yourself as an authority on a particular subject, the easier it will be to find opportunities writing about that subject.
2. Don't worry about money--When you first start out, you're looking to get a portfolio of your work. So I'd encourage you to take assignments based on what you want to write about, regardless of what it pays -- even if it pays nothing more than getting your name on a piece of content. Start doing this while you're still in college and/or while you're working another job. It's best to start freelancing before you rely on it for legitimate income.
3. Always be pitching--look around online and see what sorts of outlets or businesses are looking for content and start pitching. Find a contact and reach out with an idea. be as thorough as you can in explaining what you want to write about, the questions you want to answer, what the readers can get out of it, etc. You can go further and when you identify places you'd like to write for, find out who would be reading pitches (you can usually find the email or social information for an editor on the website) and reach out directly with a fully thought-out pitch.
4. Don't get discouraged -- you're going to get a lot of rejections. And probably even more silence -- many folks you email may not even reply to your pitch. But we all go through that. It's part of the gig. Keep going. Even pitch the same person more than once on different ideas. Eventually, if you pique their interest, they'll reply!

Hope one or two of these helps you out on your journey. Good luck!
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