By Erica Lynn:
In July of 2014 I decided it was now or never.
It wasn’t the right time to start a freelance writing career, but sometimes the hardest part is just starting. For years I had worked a full-time job with dreams of following my writing passion as a freelancer, but I would always put it off claiming it just wasn’t the right time.
But everything changed when I decided to start a freelance writing career during evenings and weekends. Since then, I have earned consistent clients, built my portfolio, and placed my writing earnings into savings.
By the way, I decided to start this endeavor while I was right in the midst of planning my wedding! Perhaps you’re in the process of house hunting, raising a family, or working toward a degree. Here are some tips to help you start a freelance writing career even if it doesn’t feel like the right time to do so.
1. Find your inspiration
After a long day at the office it’s not always easy to get home and open my laptop to work on an article or blog post. However, the feeling of accomplishment and pride that comes with completing a piece is reward in itself, and it’s a whole lot easier to be motivated when you’re inspired about what you’re writing.
I find that writing about home design trends and decor is a topic that inspires me. You may be inspired by writing about health and fitness or parenting. Find what motivates you and focus on seeking out opportunities to write on that topic.
2. Enlist a support team
I am thankful for the many people in my life who inquire about my current assignments and congratulate me when I begin working with a new client. The support they provide gives me the confidence to continue writing and reaffirms that my decision to begin freelancing was the right one for me.
Don’t be shy to share your new freelance writing endeavor with your spouse, children, relatives, and friends. They will encourage you to start – and continue – writing, and can help more than you might think when you may become discouraged further down the line.
3. Schedule time to write
Time. It is a precious commodity and one that many of us feel we don’t have enough of. As you start your freelance writing career, it is important to both write when the inspiration hits you and schedule planned writing time.
I have found that scheduling a couple hours of writing time during the weekend allows me to focus and write without feeling rushed by a deadline or exhausted after a full day at the office. Make writing a priority and carve out time to write that best fits in with your lifestyle.
4. Take on new challenges
It can be both exciting and scary to take on new writing challenges. I always feel a mix of happiness and fear when receiving a new assignment or taking on a new client. The fear usually quickly subsides however, as I enthusiastically jump into research and scheduling interviews.
New challenges provide me with an opportunity to stretch my writing comfort zones and test my time management abilities, ultimately making me a stronger freelance writer. Take on writing challenges that align with the goals you have for your freelance writing career and its progression.
5. Work with encouraging editors
I owe so much to the wonderful editors I work with. That moment when I hit send to submit a finished piece is always slightly nerve racking for me. The feedback and encouragement I receive from the editors I work with is nothing but a positive experience though. I take every word of advice seriously and use their expertise to improve my writing skills.
Strive to work with editors you admire and build solid relationships with those you enjoy working with. This will keep both your morale and the momentum of your freelance writing career going if and when things get tough.
If you are a writer waiting for the right time to start freelancing, take my recommendation and just begin. Sure, there will be moments you feel time-crunched, but if you don’t start your freelance writing career now, you probably never will.
What do you think? Are you on the verge of starting a freelance writing career? What’s stopping you? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Erica Lynn is a freelance writer focused on telling stories that inform, inspire and engage readers. Follow her on Twitter @elmtreewriting.
Image courtesy of vk-red via Flickr.