Freelancing For $$$$

Freelancing tips, and resources for writers...




By Diane Thomas

So you think you want to try your hand at freelance writing but don't know where to start? Let's take a look at the very basics, things you can do right now to get started.

First, let's define "Freelance Writing". Simply stated a freelance writer is an independent contractor. In other words a self-employed home worker, or a business owner. Wait a minute, a business owner? That's exactly right. Writing is a business and you should always keep this in mind, as there are responsibilities to owning a business. But we will save that for later. For now, we just want to find out how to get started.

The first thing you will need to do is acquire (and master) a computer. This is the best investment you can make as a writer (a good printer should also be on your investment list). Already have those? Great, your on your way.

Next, set up your work place. You will need workspace for your computer, space to spread out your notes, books, etc.( a desk or counter), a small file for research notes, articles and other information you may acquire, a place to store your supplies where they are easily accessible, and a place for your reference books. Make sure the area you choose has good lighting and is a place where you can spread out your notes and books and not have them disturbed by others.

Now that your "office" is established, let's move on to essential writing tools: A dictionary and thesaurus are must haves. As time goes on you will want to build your own reference library depending on the type of writing you do. Check out the reference library at eBook Crossroads for some good ideas. You will also need a couple of reams of good-quality writing paper, a box of 9X12 mailing envelopes, a box of #10 mailing envelopes (for your SASEs), and computer discs for storage and mailing.

Your office is all set, now what do you do?

Start writing! But remember, writing involves discipline. You will need to set aside time - and write,write, write. A writers biggest obstacle is finding the time to write. All kinds of distractions and interruptions will come along which means you will have to develop a schedule that works for you and stick to it! Let's face it, freelance writing sounds glamorous, even easy but it is really hard work. It takes time and a lot of effort. Preparing a comfortable and efficient workspace and planning aworkable schedule will really help in the long run.

You can do all of these things in the next day or two to get yourself started on your new adventure. Now we will delve into the future...

After writing and re-writing, and writing and re-writing, comes marketing. The second best investment you can make is to acquire a copy of the "Writer's Market". This publication lists thousands of book and magazine markets and provides addresses of magazines, submission guidelines and contact names. You can purchase the "Writer's Market" at Amazon. Some other sources for freelance opportunities are:
Freelance Marketplace
http://www.journalismjobs.com
http://www.elance.com
http://www.freelancewriting.com

Now for the business end of your new business. There are a couple of items that I am going to mention briefly, but you should really put some quality time into learning about...

The first is record keeping. Oh, ugh! You will need to maintain records of your income and expenses. The tax man cometh! You should set aside a sufficient amount of money from each sale to cover your state and federal taxes or you will get a very big surprise at the end of the year. Remember though,writers have expenses too (that expensive computer for one), so if proper records are kept you will be able to claim the expenses and deductions that your "business" is entitled to. A web site with some good information on taxes and your writing "business" can be found at http://taxes.about.com/od/taxplanning/a/freelance.htm Here's another good article http://www.aboutfreelancewriting.com/articles/business/writereality.htm. Here's another good article "Building a Writer's Business Plan" by Moira Allen can be found at http://www.writingworld.com/rights/plan.shtml.

Another important factor is pricing. Pricing your work to meet your expenses and to be competitive is tricky. A couple of good sources to get a feel for how you should price your work are:
http://www.nwu.org
http://freelancewrite.about.com/od/finances/f/rates.htm
http://writingworld.com/business/fees.html

Other very important items to brush up on: writing a query letter, copyrights, writing a proposal, and understanding contracts and your rights.

We will get more involved in the business details another time, I just wanted to provide an overview of some issues you should be aware of. For now, good luck - and keep writing!

About the Author

Diane Thomas has been successfully helping people write, publish, market and earn their way online for the past 10 years. For more information on freelancing, visit her at eBook Crossroads.com.

You may reprint or distribute this article as long as you leave the content, the links and the resource box intact.


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