Wondering how to get started freelance writing? Looking for freelance writing jobs for beginners?

Of course you are. First things first: If you love to write and you really want to make a living doing it, the first thing you have to do is believe that you can.

Seriously.

I guarantee there will be voices around you that try and tell you different. I’m not that voice.
I’m the voice that will tell you anything is possible. (Because it is.)
I’m the voice that believes wholeheartedly in going after what you want and not letting go until you have it. (Because you will have it.)

I’m also the voice that’s going to show you how to get started freelance writing. And what’s more, I will continue to encourage you to stay with it. Nothing good ever comes from giving up. It comes from giving it everything you’ve got and having people like me pick you up when you fall.
Or when you want to quit.
Or when you want to stab someone in the eye.

Okay. Ready? Here we go.


{write something}

how to get started freelance writingYou’re shocked, I know. But let me just tell you how many writers tell me they want to make money writing and have nothing in their hands to show me. You should have something written already. It doesn’t have to be published, either. But it should be publishable.

 How do you know if it is? For starters, it should resemble an article from a magazine you read regularly. Don’t submit an article on beauty tips to a business magazine. Sound rediculously obvious?

Ask my editor what kind of submissions he gets from freelancers. Many of them are completely irrelevant and don’t match the actual content of the publication. Those submissions go directly into the circular file.

While online magazines and blogs are all the rage and ripe for the picking, don’t underestimate the power of a hard copy publication. I’ve been writing for a business magazine for almost a decade that still circulates thousands of copies to mailboxes every month. To date, this magazine is the most profitable freelance gig I have.

 

{show it to the editor}

glassesSeek out the editor of the publication you want to contribute to and harass them.

No, I’m kidding.

But do seek them out. About 7 years ago I approached the editor of a woman’s magazine in my region that I really wanted to write for. I noticed the publication lacked an inspirational column. I am a transformational speaker, so inspiration and motivation are my thaaang.

Knowing she would be at a conference I was also attending, I intentionally brought an article with me. During one of the breaks I nervously approached her just as she was stuffing part of a ham sandwich in her mouth. I showed her my sample, told her what I did for a living, and asked her what I needed to do to get her to consider publishing my piece. After she was done chewing, she told me to leave the piece with her and she would be in touch.

She didn’t get in touch.

But GUESS WHAT? I didn’t give up. I called her. Three times, I think. I emailed her a few times in between. And then one day, four months into my stalking her, she took my call. The words that came out of her mouth were music to my ears: “This is fantastic,” she said. “I would love to publish this.”

The moral of my rambling is persistence. Don’t email someone to death. Call them. Talk to them at networking events. Show them your heart. People love people who are real. I continued to write and she continued to publish me for the next four years. In the end, my column became one of the most read and commented on columns in the magazine. 

 

{keep going}

happyThe first time you ever see your words and name in print, you may cry. I did. I’ll never forget it. It was 2 o’clock in the morning when the online version of the magazine went live. I was sitting in my bed staring at the glow of my prose, weeping like a baby. I even woke my husband up to show him. He wasn’t overly excited about that part, but he was happy for me.

Take that published piece and keep going. Find the next magazine. Seek out the next blog. Save printed copies. Screenshot or capture online copies. Before you know it, you’ll have a nice little portfolio.

But you must keep going.

I think too many of us never get started because we think we have to have something already published. That’s not true. In order to get published, you have to be persistent. You have to believe in yourself. And you have to keep going.

The second you decide something is not possible is the same second it isn’t. Write. Share. Stalk. (Nicely.) And keep showing up. You got this.

 

Joleene Moody is a former television reporter and anchor turned freelance writer, blogger, and speaker, based in Central New York.
(No, not New York City. Not even close. 🙂
 )
Learn more at 
www.joleenemoody.com