Making money at home by writing may sound appealing, but not everyone is suited for it. The following are some skills and personality traits that writers need. Do you have what it takes to write for pay?
First of all, you need to enjoy writing. If English was your least favorite subject in school, or the thought of writing an essay sends shivers up your spine, you should consider other ways to make money from home. On the other hand, if you do enjoy writing and have a good set of basic
grammar skills, writing from home could be a profitable venture for you. Simply enjoying the writing process may not be enough, though. Writers spend a lot of time at home working alone. Do you find it easy to work by yourself or do you prefer to work with a group of people? Are you able to stay focused, and meet deadlines? These are some other elements to consider if you are interested in writing for pay.
Writers need to be able to meet deadlines and they need to work well under pressure. You may get an assignment for a 500 word article that must be completed the same day. Writers should also be excellent researchers. You may get an assignment to write an article on a topic for which you have little or no knowledge, a place you have never visited, or a hobby you have never tried. Do you know how to find quality information about a subject, and do you know how to take what you have read and articulate it in your own voice?
Many professions require a “thick skin,” and writing is no exception. How well do you handle criticism and rejection? As a writer for hire, you are being paid to write something for someone else. You may think you’ve created a Shakespearean masterpiece; but sadly, your opinion doesn’t count. The customer is always right and if your customer doesn’t like what you have written, you will need to start over or take the article in a new direction. Is that something you can accept?
If you are going to be working as a copywriter or ghostwriter, you may not receive credit for your work. While it is becoming more common in the “book world” to give credit to a ghostwriter, the general notion is that the ghostwriter goes unknown. The owner of a website may ask you to write
several articles or blog entries, without giving you credit for the material. Would it bother you to see them take credit for your words?
Three Ways to Break Into Freelance Writing
Freelance writing is known for being a tough industry to break into. However, with some hard work and determination, you can find success in this field.
The online market is booming for freelancers. Website owners need content. They know that the more fresh, quality content they have, the more visitors they will receive. Online markets will not pay as well or carry the same clout as a glossy, full-color magazine, but they are a great way to
get your feet wet. Plus, given the fact that the cyber world moves a lot faster than the traditional printing world, your articles will be published sooner. As you know, the more pieces you have published, the easier it will be to land bigger jobs in the future.
Don’t forget to target your local newspaper when looking for freelance writing jobs. Newspapers have strict deadlines, and can certainly use freelancers (often called ‘stringer reporters’). Writing for a newspaper can be hectic; as mentioned before, they do have strict deadlines, and you
may get an assignment on a moment’s notice. However, if you do a good job and complete your work on time, the editor at your local paper could open the doors to bigger newspapers and magazines.
While you may only be able to name a few magazines, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of small, regional, and trade magazines being published today. A great tool for writers is www.writersmarket.com. It is a database full of information on markets that buy freelance work
(“market” is a general term for a magazine or newspaper). The editors at smaller magazines are oftentimes more open to working with people that have little experience.
Contacting a market and offering to write for them is often called a “query.” Each market will have different guidelines they use to accept queries; for instance, some may accept queries via email whereas some will want them by snail mail. Always use the proper name of the person you are
sending the query to. You can find this information on the company’s website or through www.writersmarket.com. It is also important to know the market you want to write for. For example, if you want to write an article containing tips for traveling with pets for XYZ Magazine, make sure that
magazine hasn’t published a similar article in the last year.
Once you have written several pieces for smaller markets, you can take the leap into writing for larger, more well-known magazines and newspapers. However, you might find you enjoy and prefer working with smaller markets.
Regardless of which niche you elect to pursue, a lucrative career could await you as a writer.