How To Start a Writing Career in 5 Steps

How To Start a Writing Career in 5 Steps

By at in Freelance writing - 9 Minutes

Back in 2017, I saw a friend talking about freelancing and I was baffled.

Back then, I didn’t know what freelancing was, or how people made money from it.

The concept was totally new to me, and thankfully I’ve learned about it then.

At first, I didn’t know what to do, nor how to start.

I didn’t know what to search, nor what talent I had.

My mind was completely blank, and that’s how it was for about 2 months.

Then I decided to start translating, a month after, I realized translating wasn’t for me and I turned to writing.

Writing just seemed to come naturally to me, and so I started freelance writing.

At first, I was freelance writing part-time, but then, I gradually started writing more and now that I finished studies, I’m finally able to work full-time.

But, I’m going to be completely honest, it wasn’t easy to start freelancing.

It wasn’t easy to land jobs, and get people to hire me at first.

Every time I applied for a job, I’d get asked if I had any experience, and every time the answer was the same. 

I didn’t have a lot of experience back then, I still didn’t have any articles published in my name, and I still wasn’t popular.

So, it was quite hard to start a writing career from scratch. 

But that didn’t stop me and look where I am at now. 

So, you’re probably wondering the same.

You’ve probably wondered how to start a writing career once too many time but still didn’t get the answer.

And I’m here to finally show you how.

How To Start A Writing Career 

Starting a writing career isn’t all sunshine and good vibes.

It can be quite hectic at first as a lot of people would want examples of your writing skills and proof that you’re a good writer.

Some will want to pay you peanuts for long-format articles and for even eBooks, and some will want free article tests.

Some won’t like your work, and some will tell you that you’re better off without writing.

What’s important is that you remind yourself day after day of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

There are going to be a lot of downs, but also a lot of ups that will help you with the pain.

So, now that I’m done speaking like a coach, let’s get to the “how to start a writing career” question.

I’m going to give you access to a number of steps which you’ll have to follow one by one if you want to become a writer.

So, here goes nothing.

Step Number 1:  Specialize Or Generalize

A lot of bloggers wonder if they should specialize or generalize, and honestly, you should ask yourself that question as well.

A general writer is a good way to start before you find out what you like writing about.

It’s also a great way to make income on the short and long term, a lot of writers choose to stay general writers even after long years of experience.

But I personally recommend specializing. 

A lot of people will hire a specialized writer than a general writer any day. 

That’s because specialized writers know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about, unlike general ones who have to do research. 

They also know what tone and what things to say, and that is why specialized writers are paid better than general writers.

Although the opportunities for work are not as many as the one general writers have, you can still make a full income of specialized writing.

How about getting my freebies? 😉

Step Number 2: Build A Portfolio 

A lot of other bloggers will ask you to start applying for jobs but I’m going to say wait.

First, you’ll have to build a portfolio.

A portfolio is the first thing clients are going to ask you about.

You’ll need to have examples of your writings ready by the time the clients ask you or even by the time you apply to your first job. 

To build a portfolio from scratch, it’ll be quite easy. 

Here are all the things you should do: 

  • Create pieces of writing from your own imagination.
  • Rewrite existing articles.
  • Criticize pieces that already exist out there.
  • Enhance pieces that already exist out there.

By doing this, you’ll have a rich portfolio that you can show your fist client.

Having a portfolio, even if is only filled with samples written on “google doc”, will make you seem more professional than those new writers who don’t.

Step Number 3: Research Your Potential Clients’ Needs

This is something I do when I have quite some free time on my hand.

What I do is go to writing forums or subreddits and see what potential clients say.

I take a look at what they’re saying, I analyze their needs, I see their past experiences with freelance writers, and I build a base of information from there.

I try to find out how I can enhance my writing skills based on their experiences and opinions.

I also take a look at what they like to see on cover letters, on resumes, and on portfolios.

I apply all of these tips on the next job application I do, and I usually get amazing results.

Step Number 4: Start Applying For Jobs

If you do all of this, then you’re ready for the next step of how to start a writing career.

And it’s applying for jobs.

If you created a portfolio, learned what potential clients expect from you, and have chosen a niche or two, then you can easily start looking for jobs.

Look for all the job opportunities that exist either on:

  • Freelance writing sites like Contena
  • Freelance platforms like Upwork 
  • Social media 
  • Cold pitching 
  • LinkedIn 

These platforms will help you find a job even as a beginner and will help you build a successful writing career slowly, but steadily.

Step Number 4: Start Building Your Experience

If you start applying for jobs, then you can finally start building your experience.

It’s not going to be easy at first, but it’s going to be worth it.

What helped me improve in writing is mainly my job experiences.

I had clients that have helped me learn new things about new domains including SEO.

I had clients help me enhance my writing skills.

I had clients that have made my work get published, and so on.

So, the best thing that can help you become a professional writer, is to get jobs.

Step Number 5: Learn Cold-Pitching

I know as a writer, you’ll probably want to stay in your comfort zone.

But hear me out, if you don’t try new things including cold-pitching, you won’t be able to improve and get new jobs. 

The jobs that I got and that paid me very well, were jobs I got from cold-pitching.

Cold-pitching is the practice of sending cold emails or cold calls to potential clients and offering them your services.

There doesn’t have to be a job post for you to do it, you just send out your applications and that’s about it.

There is an art in cold-pitching, but I’ll just leave that for another time.

For now, these are all the steps you have to do in order to build a writing career.

All About “How To Start A Writing Career”

Starting a writing career is not easy all the time, and is not all ups.

It can be hectic and tiring, but if you follow all the steps I mentioned, then you’ll surely start a successful one even.

So, make sure to learn, to build, to apply, and to learn again.

It’s an ever ending circle of learning and trying, and that’s what it takes to start a writing career.

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