Freelancing: Where to Start?

Cover of "My So-Called Freelance Life: Ho...

Cover via Amazon

It’s been a couple weeks since I made the decision to try to make living as a writer my new reality. The decision itself was exciting, but now I feel as if I’ve joined a race while I’m still scrambling to find the start line. I’ve been reading. Most notably, My So Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman, and it’s very helpful. But what I really need to know is how to start. Do I just send out query letters to magazines? Should I be using paid sites like Mediabistro, or Freelance Switch? Or would those just be a waste of my money?

I’m working on my novel, but that is obviously not going to be making me any money for some time. In the meantime I would love to write, edit, copy-edit, anything involved with writing in order to pay the bills.

I’m embarrassed to say that I have no idea where to start. But not so embarrassed that I’m unwilling to ask for help. I would love to hear any beginning stories from other freelancers, whether you’ve been doing it a while or are in your freelancing infancy. How did you start? What do you recommend? Thank you in advance for your feedback!

ROW80 Check-in

  • Blog three times a week: I missed one this week, but I’m trying not to kick myself about it. 🙂
  • Read and Comment on 5 other blogs daily: Good.
  • Work on my Novel in Progress 1 hour a day: Done and more! I’m really enjoying the editing process.
  • Finish my MFA apps by their deadlines: Good here! Far ahead of schedule actually.
  • Complete Mass Effect 2 by March 6th: Done and done.
  • Wake up earlier: Still not as early as I’d like, but earlier, yes.
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5 thoughts on “Freelancing: Where to Start?

  1. There are loads of sites and resources you can use to find freelance ads. People request things all the time; articles, blog posts, editing; and most of the time the articles won’t be on subjects that you find terribly exciting. But try to contact as many people as possible for as many commissions as you’re comfortable with, and you’ll build up your contacts. People will see as their go-to for certain things, especially when they need something quick on the fly. Try these sites: Freelancewriting.com and Freelancewritingjobs.com. I’ve had some luck with them. Good luck!! Keep us posted on your progress!

  2. Depending on what you aim to write, it can be tough to hunt down paying publications to pitch to. But the best way to get started is come up with some target mags or websites you’d like to pitch, research the living hell out of them, familiarize yourself with what they run, and then fire off a pitch to the editor. Do that a mazillion times. Keep doing it, even when you want to kick puppies you’re so frustrated. And then do it some more. You WILL eventually make a breakthrough, whether it comes on your first try your 100th.

    The fact you’ve got your own blog up and running is a good starting point to, as it gives you a home base to work from. As you get clips published and establish steady gigs, you can put published clips here to help build your resume.

    It’s a bit pricey, but the annual Writer’s Market book is a great investment as it’s FULL of editorial contacts and tips for pitching a wide range of publications. They don’t have much gaming-related stuff in there, and there area areas where it’s lacking, but it’s really a good place to start. Plus it doubles as a great doorstop or way to stop intruders.

    But anyway, the best way to get started and find that starting line is to draw a line in the sand and just start running right ouf of the gates. Find a target, muster your best idea, tailor your pitch, and fire away! The more you do it, the more you’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t.

    • I worry for the puppies. But thank you so much for your comment and insight. Your blog has definitely been useful to me on more than one occasion, and now I even get a personalized comment! Seriously though, thanks for taking the time. Now excuse me while I get running. 🙂

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