Even with countless job postings out there on the Internet, not that many of them read “no experience needed.” Most writing positions will require a related background, and sometimes it can be pretty specific. You can become a freelance writer with no experience in the beginning, but in order to eventually get paid for what you do, you have to start somewhere.
How to Become a Freelance Writer
College Learners posts that one of the best ways to gain writing experience is to create your own website and start up a blog. No experience is needed for this, but you will need to learn the basics. Think about what you like to write about – and what you’re good at writing about – and use this as a guide. You can blog on free, shared platforms like Tumblr and Medium, or buy your name as an URL and start from there.
To buy the URL, you’ll have to see if your name is available. It is not necessary to get it from WordPress or a similar paid domain; you can try inexpensive ones like Bluehost, Wix.com or Squarespace. PCMag posts that all businesses, no matter what their sizes are, need accessible, reliable websites for potential customers to find them on. Today, web hosting is no longer an option – it is a real necessity.
If you don’t have a trusty laptop to use, invest in a new one that is up to date with the current tech plus a good Wi-Fi connection. You’ll also need a comfortable chair, basic office supplies and decent lighting. If you don’t want clients to mail checks or use direct deposit into your checking account, just set up a Paypal account. Many clients have their own billing systems and content management systems, which you will need to learn if you want to work with them.
Gaining Some Writing Experience
The writing samples on your website can include academic essays from high school or college, according to Eleven Writing. Then in your spare time, write up some samples that are in similar formats to the kind of work you hope to get. Want to write product descriptions for a major retail outlet? Research their content, and create similar pieces. Do not copy their style too closely, though – yours needs to stand out and be informative, engaging and exciting for readers.
Or if you want to write for a major news outlet, you can start blogging about local and national news on your new website. Once you have a good number of published blogs, you can apply for work at a local paper. Some will want you to travel to places to do some reporting, which might not be exactly what you’re looking for. At this early stage in the game though, it makes sense to accept any offers unless the requirements are unreasonable.
Use social media and an online email newsletter when possible to increase visits to your blog, as well as engagement with your content. Growing a following online can be an important step in getting noticed by potential clients.
Other Ways to Gain Writing Experience
Volunteering is an excellent way to gain writing experience, and you can begin by offering to write things for your family and friends. Someone might need some articles for their newsletter, or a new GoFundMe page. You can join a local business group and offer to write their marketing materials for free; other options include churches, schools, small businesses and any other organizations that want to promote their services.
Those business groups can be great for networking, and you can also join writer networking groups. If you know any freelance writers, you can also reach out and ask them to mentor you. This can transition into a pipeline of work referrals for you, and who knows? You might be able to pass on opportunities to them, returning the favor someday.