Getting started is the easy part, it is sticking at it and seeing it through which is hard. Just because you spent a weekend writing articles does not mean you will feel like writing tomorrow, next week or next month. If you are the sort of person that starts jigsaws but never finishes them, then you should seriously reconsider a career in writing. With that said, here are a few tips you can use to start your freelance writing career.
Learn the law or copyright and plagiarism
Do this so that you can protect your own work, and so that you do not accidentally infringe on the work of other people. Outright copying other people’s text is silly anyway, since you will have trouble finding people willing to pay you for it.
Learn how to protect your work
You must learn how to protect your work if you wish to earn a wage from your writing. You need to find a way of ensuring that other people cannot steal your work, and that you are paid if your work is used by others.
Learn how to recognize a scam
A lot of people are going to try to take advantage of you. Many people are aware that they can make you write something and submit it, and then never pay you. You need to read up on the various ways that people are going to steal your work or try to swindle you.
Improve your written grammar and sentence syntax
This will help you to earn a better wage, but will also help you to construct sentences that flow and make perfect sense.
Analyze your text with a cold eye
The pleasure of writing is often something that throws a writer, which leads him/her to see greatness where only mediocrity lies. You need to be cold an analytical about your writing and ask yourself if what you wrote is phrased correctly, if it is relevant and if the reader gains anything from it.
Set up several income streams at once
Do not rely on just one or two clients. You need to set up several so that you can dump a client at will. If you rely on one client then you are at their mercy.
Never spend all your time on one project
Clients will give you lots of work and tell you they will pay you in two weeks or at the end of the month. They will not pay you and you will have spent all your time working for free. You cannot risk putting all of your eggs in one basket.
If they take their time to pay you…dump them
If they are late paying you, or ask you to jump through hoops before paying then you should dump them. It means that they are unreliable (which is very bad) or that they are passing themselves off as writers to other clients and sending them your work (meaning they need to wait to be paid themselves).
The skim read and edit trick
If you find yourself skim reading a section when you proof read your text, then that is a part that you need to change. If you are skim reading a part when you have a vested interest in reading the text, then how do you think another reader is going to react? Sometimes it is hard to recognize when you have fallen into skim reading, so you need to cultivate a more self-aware personality. You may make excuses as to why you were skim reading the piece, such as “Oh I have only just read that bit,” but you cannot allow yourself to make excuses. You must change any bits that you skim read, otherwise your readers will find you text harder to finish.
Learn how to play hardball
People are going to want to pay you a few cookie crumbs for what is hours of your work. You need to set your payment rate by how much time you put into each piece of work, and how much research and work you put into it. If you are offered a low wage then adjust the amount of time you spend on the text you produce.