Let's be honest here - full-time freelance writing as a career path can be a lot of hard work.
But is it worth the hassle, time and effort you put in?? Absolutely. I wouldn't dream of doing anything else.
I'm not talking about churning out a couple of articles in my spare time for a few extra bucks. I mean the full-time daily grind of writing something EVERY day, writing enough to cover all the bills, keeping up with client demands and deadlines, invoicing, converting currencies at opportune moments, and all the other associated bits that go along with being a full time freelance writer.
And yet I'm contacted by writers on a fairly constant basis wanting tips for how they can break in and really 'make a go of this writing thing'.
The answer is absurdly simple and it's available in some very easy-to-follow steps. Are you ready for them?
Step One: Apply your butt to your chair.
Step Two: Open a Word document, or other word processing file
Step Three: WRITE SOMETHING, stupid.
Yeah, it sounds cynical, I know, but there you have it - the basis of becoming a real, paid, full-time freelance writer. It never fails to surprise me how many people forget all about steps two and three in this industry.
So what do you do with those things you write once they're written? Why, you make the best possible use out of them, of course.
Upload them to Constant Content and see who buys them. Apply to a few content mills around the place and see if you can find clients who will pay you to move through steps one through three on a consistent basis. Advertise your services available on forums where people who need writers hang out. Use the pieces you write as samples to entice new clients. Create a blog and tell people you write stuff and you expect to be paid for it.
Be a little different and submit your articles to various article directories. Remember to include a link that points to your blog or website, which contains some form of monetization to help you recoup some costs for writing those articles (and maybe even churn a healthy profit if you're any good at it).
How to Know When You're Doing it All Wrong
If you've been following steps one, two and three on a consistent basis without being distracted by Facebook or Spider Solitaire and you're still not making any money, there's a really good chance you're doing it wrong.
Here are some tips to let you know when you haven't gotten those steps right:
1. You're given a paying job, with a real deadline and you forget to apply steps two and three.
2. You're offered steady, regular work by a client and you don't even bother to begin at step one.
3. You create a blog or website that advertises your writing services and it's full of mis-spelled words and horrendous grammatical errors.
4. You think you don't need to learn any more about freelance writing once you've figured out how to earn $3 for a 500 word article.
Once again, this might sound a little bit cynical, but you would be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by the amount of times I see people making these same four mistakes over and over again and they're confused why they can't make money in this freelancing thing.
The real secret to making a really respectable income as a freelance writer is simple. It's not even a secret.
Just sit down and write.
Stop complaining, stop whining. Get off Facebook and close MSN messenger for a while. Write something. Anything. Write articles. Write fiction stories. If you really want to be a writer so bad, you'll write.
If you don't enjoy writing enough to do it every day, go and submit your application to McDonalds. I hear they're hiring burger flippers at the moment ...