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Launching a Freelance Writing Career: Advice and Tips

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I’ve always loved writing, but never really considered it as a viable career until I started writing academically at Warwick and for The Boar. Seeing my work in print and getting positive feedback gave me confidence in my ability and since getting inspiration and courage from lecturers, guest speakers and peers on my course, I’ve started making a dedicated effort towards building a portfolio and exploring careers in freelance writing.

My first step was to understand the types of writing careers available and to look at job advertisements. This gave me an understanding of what employers or clients are looking for and highlighted gaps in my skills and experience that I need to work on. I have also tailored my CV and LinkedIn profile to really highlight the relevant skills and experience that I already have.

I’ve always loved writing, but never really considered it as a viable career until I started writing academically at Warwick and for The Boar.

On the advice of a number of freelance writers and bloggers, and the very helpful Student Careers & Skills service, I also started researching publications in the areas that I have expertise in, with the intention of speculatively sending them examples of my work.

Before I could send my work out though, I needed an accessible portfolio. I selected articles that I have written for The Boar and examples of my writing from my jobs and volunteer work and created a wordpress site to display them. I try to add one article per week to my portfolio, be it a response to a prompt from The Boar or a blog post musing about something I’m interested in.

I try to add one article per week to my portfolio, be it a response to a prompt from The Boar or a blog post musing about something I’m interested in.

Over the summer I also enrolled on an online course, ‘An Introduction to Journalism’, offered by Strathclyde University. Whilst it’s not a recognised journalistic qualification, I’ve learned a lot of terminology and theory which has enabled me to use the right language on my CV and in pitches to potential clients and will stand me in good stead for interviews.

Now I’ve got my online profile and portfolio set up, I’m ready to start promoting myself to magazines, newspapers and business clients, offering freelance feature writing, theatre and literature reviews, marketing and promotional materials, and business content writing. I plan to attend events, armed with business cards linking to my wordpress site to continue building my network and portfolio.

I plan to attend events, armed with business cards linking to my work

I’m also planning to offer to blog for the theatre school I work with on a volunteer basis, to generate regular, publicly-available material. And of course, I will continue to be involved with The Boar, both writing and gaining some experience of the publishing and editing processes.

I read the advice “do one thing every day to progress your writing career” on a blog recently, and I try to adhere to this. Every day I do something. It may be big, like applying for a writing contract or sending my portfolio to a publication or it might be something tiny, like adding a new link to my blog or sharing a link to my portfolio on a new social platform.

I am not naïve and realise that it might take a while to start getting paid writing work and certainly before it can be a financially viable career

I am not naïve and realise that it might take a while to start getting paid freelance writing work and certainly before it can be a financially viable career, but I’m optimistic that by continuing to work towards it, one day, I will be a writer.

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Comments (3)

  • Great article! It gives inspiration for writers and bloggers who want to give up in the middle !

    “do one thing every day to progress your writing career” very nice line.well said!

  • Hate to be critical but merely updating a blog and writing for a student paper isn’t going to be enough to sustain a freelancing career upon graduating, you need to be writing for other people and professional sources as often as you can. I’m not sure this writer is truly prepared for the intense competition of freelancing if this is the ‘advice’ she has given and the experience had so far – put yourself out there as much as possible would and should be a number one tip.

  • Great article! We at http://www.writology.com provide a platform that allows freelancers to meet new clients. So if you love writing or want to hire a freelancer yourself , give us a visit.

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