Turn Your Writing Hobby into a Side Business by Linnea Gradin
Let’s welcome back Linnea Gradin as she shares with us “Turn Your Writing Hobby into a Side Business.” Enjoy!
As an aspiring novelist, it sometimes seems impossible to find time to write, let alone make a living on it.
But if you’re serious about turning your love and talent for stringing words together into more than just a hobby, freelance writing can be a way to practice your craft and keep the lights on while you polish your own manuscripts.
Whether you’re looking for some extra pocket money to finance your publishing dreams or to develop a career in freelance writing, I’ve outlined some crucial steps below to get you started.
Know your options
Freelance writing is everywhere; even industries that you wouldn’t immediately think of rely on capable creatives who can draft compelling marketing texts, website copy, or polished reports.
Here are some common freelance writing jobs:
- Technical writers turn complex procedures and descriptions into simple text that anyone can follow– from how to assemble flat-pack furniture to how to boil lentils.
- Business writers play a central role in the internal and external communication of companies– putting together reports, press releases, speeches, proposals and sometimes even marketing materials.
- Content writers help businesses build their online presence through blog articles and other, creative and/or informative web content, based on SEO marketing practices.
- Blog/social media writing includes writing engaging blog posts, captions, tweets, and using appropriate hashtags to drum up engagement and create a strong following.
- Journalism is increasingly done on a freelance basis. This entails submitting articles, investigative pieces, op-eds, etc., to relevant outlets.
- Ghostwriting involves writing in someone else’s name. Ghostwriting jobs can include virtually any type of written content, even full-length memoirs and novels.
In addition to these, there are many other creative writing jobs that freelance writers can take up, including submitting shorter pieces or anthologies to boutique publications or online magazines. You can also submit your pieces to writing contests for a chance to win grand prizes. But first, you need a portfolio.
Prepare your portfolio
Show-don’t-tell is a golden rule that should apply to your career too!
A well-curated portfolio not only showcases your writing chops, but also displays your style and gives insight on what you will deliver to potential clients.
Few employers are willing to pay for a pig in a poke.
If you don’t have any freelance writing experience, write up a few sample pieces.
You may not be getting paid— yet, but it’ll go a long way to provide evidence of your skills.
As your career progresses, you should keep updating your portfolio to represent your strongest and most current work. With more projects under your belt, you can narrow your portfolio down to a certain niche, as clients tend to prefer experts over generalists.
Freelance writing offers a lot of freedom and flexibility but it also means that you’re responsible for all administration. In order to avoid unpleasant back-taxes or getting hoodwinked by dishonest clients, it might be useful to brush up on some basics — copyright, how to do taxes, contracts, invoices, etc.
Put yourself out there
With everything else set up, all that’s left to do is to get word out about your writing skills.
You can do this by applying for jobs through job boards or cold emailing tailor-made proposals to companies you’re interested in working with.
While you may get some rejections, don’t let that discourage you; next time you submit a piece they might just give you a shot!
Networking can also go a long way for freelance writers, so make sure to join different forums and writing groups to connect with peers. Not only will this give you an inside scoop on upcoming job opportunities, but your new network might also keep you in mind and recommend you for future gigs.
You should also network with people outside the freelance writing community as you never know who your next client will be. Keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground, and you’ll soon notice that there are (paid) writing opportunities almost everywhere.
Freelance writing is a great way for writers to make some extra money or even build a career on their wordsmithing. Whether it’s creative blog pieces or polished business reports, any opportunity to work with the written word is a chance to sharpen your quill. And who knows, your newfound, detailed knowledge of how to assemble flat-pack furniture may just come in handy for your next novel!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linnea Gradin writes about writing and publishing over at Reedsy — a website that connects authors with publishing professionals and gives tips on topics such as how to self publish a book or how to translate a book.