The Credentials You Need to be a Freelance Writer

Unqualified to qualifiedIf I’ve learned one thing mentoring freelance writers, it’s this: Writers are hung up on qualifications.

I wish I had a dime for every time a writer told me:

“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career as a freelance writer, but given that I lack a journalism degree, I felt unqualified.”

To which I can only say: Hey. Me too. Both on the no-degree front (I’m a college dropout with a degree in nothing), and the feeling inadequate thing, too.

Except I just plunged in and started writing anyway.

That willingness to risk it and expose my writing to the world despite not having traditional reporter credentials paid off in, among other things:

  • Appearing in the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal
  • Two staff-writing jobs that definitely required a bachelor’s degree
  • Winning a national business writing award for the first time in my newsweekly’s 25-year history
  • Writing for national magazines and Fortune 500 companies
  • Becoming a freelancer and cracking six figures in income

Here’s the secret: Writers never feel legit. We all feel like frauds.

The successful writers just do it anyway.

Recently, I was reminded of this during a very funny presentation at World Domination Summit. Top blogger Darren Rowse of ProBlogger put up a slide explaining his qualifications for starting his blog:

Darren Rowse's credentials

My favorite one has to be where he couldn’t figure out how to even bold text! His point was he had absolutely no business starting a blog. But he wanted to blog, so he started writing anyway.

You see, writing isn’t a career where credentials matter. I wish more writers knew that.

Or not the traditional kind, anyway.

The credentials you need to be a successful freelance writer or blogger aren’t earned in a university. If you have the credentials I list below, you are on your way as a freelance writer and a lot of doors are going to open up to you.

Here are the three credentials you really need:

Curiosity

When you’re told a piece of news, do you find yourself asking questions about it? Wondering what will happen next? Why this thing has happened? And then, do you feel compelled to learn more?

This is an essential for any writer. You need to explore. To ask questions. To know. And to share what you find out with the world through the written word.

That natural curiosity will take you far. I’m always joking that I am the original cat that curiosity killed. And brought back. I drive my family nuts with my questions about everything.

That drive to learn and understand will give you a steady stream of interesting stuff to write about that nobody else has thought to explore.

Courage

Let’s face it — you can’t be a writer unless you are willing to put it out there and face rejection. You have to be willing to hear “no” and not crumple up in a ball and cry yourself to sleep.

You have to keep pushing, even though there’s a ton of competition out there. You have to be brave and confident that you have something unique to offer the world in your prose.

You could be a brilliant writer sitting in your back bedroom typing alone. But without the courage to publish, you can’t build a career as a writer.

Hunger

I recently heard from someone who wanted me to give them some coaching. He announced he had $1 million in the bank and wanted to start freelance writing for something fun to do.

I didn’t even respond, because I know this would-be writer is never going to do this for a living. Why? Because being a freelance writer (or a successful blogger) is hard.

Freelancing and building a blog both require hustle, and if you already have a fortune in the bank and have never felt the drive to write before now, you’re probably not going to bother.

One top blogger told me you’ll only become a successful blogger if you have no other way to feed your family. If you have any other option, you’ll take it. Because writing for a living is tough. You have to want it, bad.

You have to crave that recognition and urgently need the money your writing could bring you. Or you’ll write novels in a garret that are published after you die.

But if you have these three things — curiosity, courage, and hunger — you can write your way to wherever you want to go.

What credentials do you think writers need? Leave a comment and add to my list.

Freelance writing success

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66 comments on “The Credentials You Need to be a Freelance Writer
  1. Belinda says:

    Carol:

    I just stumbled upon your post and I have to say I absolutely love it! This is so inspiring, I want to print it and tack it to my wall for daily motivation.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Well, feel free, Belinda! You’re not the first person to tell me they print and post my blog posts…it always makes me feel so happy to know my posts are that useful to people.

  2. Carol, I think one thing an aspiring writer needs to possess is the ability to accept and learn from rejection. I’ve had article proposals rejected over a dozen times in the last year, but recently had a new book proposal accepted.

    But I don’t look at those rejections as failures. I view them as pitstops to the finish line.

    Plus, along the way, I’ve made quite a few important connections and have learned how to spot and deal with the intricacies and quirks of magazine, book and newspaper editors.

    Fearing rejection is the leading cause of not getting rejected at all. If you don’t submit (or query) you won’t get anywhere.

    If you learn how to expect and accept rejection and work it, you will have obtained one of the greatest writer’s gifts of all.
    Joseph Rathjen recently posted…Corruption In Karaoke Contests Is Everywhere!My Profile

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hi I am glad I read this article cuz I have been wanting to write freelance and be my own boss, choose my own topics. Also I have that hunger to find out more about things I wanna write about. This helped as I have never written for anyone else. I need to turn one of my passion into success. Where do I start?

  4. Dan Reinhardt says:

    #4 Stubborness – A willingness to keep going when no one else (including family) believes in you or that what you’re doing is a “real” job. Most naysayers are unhappy with themselves and subconsciously want others to be as unhappy as they are. Below the surface, the doubt you receive from these people is evidence that you’re on the right track. Especially when these people have never even attempted what you’re doing or anything remotely as big. First, many naysayers are not even writers; and second, these people have consistently settled and accepted mediocrity, so how would they know what it takes?

    I think of it like surviving in nature. The well beaten paths can lead you to water and other resources. But if you never veer off the beaten path, you’re at the mercy of what the majority finds. Which means you have to share those resources. The majority will laugh at you and think you’re crazy, but will never discover new resources and opportunities. Pave your own path while remembering where to find the main watering hole.

    I can go on and on about the benefits of not being a “follower” as you can probably tell.

    “If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” -Joseph Campbell

  5. Donna says:

    Thank you firstly.
    I have found this information very inspiring.
    I am at the end of my tether as a single mum with very little to live on and I cannot afford childcare. I have hunger, need, passion, lack of confidence, the whole package, when it comes to writing.
    I need to practice way more as I am so rusty, mammy brain tends to melt away years of learning. I think perhaps too much empathy with your child/toddler creates a gagga googoo approach to your thoughts.

    Anyhow, as I mentioned above, before my path crossed onto foreign mammy territory again. Thank you for this insightful article, it has given me back some hope. Despite how badly written this comment is, dear lord.!!!!
    🙂

  6. Elaine says:

    Hi there,

    I have been freelancing for around seven years now but small time, until recently I decided to kick the “oh so dreaded” Craigslist and Gumtree and actually build a small business around the industry “Something Sweet” so as to act out my freelance capabilities more permanently, and I have to admit it has been tough, I had better success on Craigslist but I’m over it, applying to hundreds of adds with hardly any respond is exhausting and so looking for bigger recurring jobs like copy writing, though my passion is really ghost and creative writing, but the market is brutal or perhaps I’m just not looking in the right places, none the less my education is severely lacking, not even a college drop out but rather a high school drop out, and it has been difficult to get back to it and finish school, you’d think with all the alternative education routes supposedly available for exactly that reason, I would easily find a way to finish, well at a school that isn’t some internet scam anyway, but there simply isn’t one available to me, and this as a result has given me a vendetta of sort, to be successful in whatever I love to do with out the means of an “education” as it has been pointed out, though I really don’t regard myself as “uneducated”
    And yes the internet has made me wise to many a things that one would not even have learned in school, I am considering redirecting my blog into this direction, so as to just motivate people, that they have options available, and not to get de motivated by the educated many, who so often made it clear as day, the bright future that awaits me behind the grill’s of Mc Donald’s,
    Getting a little of topic, I actually just wanted to comment and say Bravo on this post, I completely agree with the “education requirements” to do this job 😉 and in fact a highly sought after one at that,
    How lucky am I to have a business doing this, doing what I love, without the glorious high school diploma.

  7. Thinus le Roux says:

    Hi Carol,

    I’m a little speechless after reading this. All I can say, is that I believe that everything in my life has happened, conspired if you will, to lead me to this post, in this period of my life, today. It was the final nudge necessary to get in the ring and put myself out there.

    Whatever happens, I will remain forever thankful for this.

    God bless!

  8. Hi Carol
    I have been a freelance writer for quite some time now. It’s since a almost a year that I am completely dependent on it as a profession. I so very much agree that it’s not easy being a writer.

    I now take up any kind of writing like content for newspapers, hospitals, pr communication and more in Bangalore, India. Of course I do write on my blog as well what I feel true from my soul.

    It was great reading this over here.
    reshma
    Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma recently posted…Working through the baby bumpMy Profile

  9. Sue C says:

    I was unemployed for 18 months and gave freelance writing a shot. I didn’t know the first thing about it, but heard for years from friends how they loved to hear my advise about food, crafting, pets, health, and good books. I didn’t do very well and ended up finding a 8-5 job that I really don’t like just to pay the bills. I really miss writing and the lift it gave me when I saw positive responses to my blog posts or articles that I have written. After reading this article and some of the others on this website, I have decided to give freelance writing another chance but this time with the support of the Freelance Writing Den which I just signed up for. The long and the short of this message is to say, that you have to put your fears of inadequacy behind and take a leap of faith in yourself. So with that, I believe the qualifications for a freelance writer is simply having faith in oneself and her abilities. I have college degrees but the jobs they have given me only supported me but never gave me joy and happiness like writing.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Sue —

      Welcome to the Den! Use our resources and you should be able to see a better outcome this time around. 😉

      Look forward to seeing you on the Introduce Yourself and Share Your Goals forums…good places to get rolling.

  10. Sarah Dizney says:

    Carol,
    I LOVE this article and what you said here! First, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only would-be writer who feels unqualified… and afraid people won’t hire me, or will think I’m a fraud, as you put it. I’ve definitely been struggling with that as I’m launching my e-newsletter freelance copywriting business.
    BUT, according to your 3 qualifications for a writer, I am aptly qualified! 🙂
    I related to what you said about asking a ton of questions. As a kid, I ALWAYS asked “Why” to everything and I’m sure drove all the adults in my life crazy. I still ask “Why” as an adult. I don’t like to take stuff on face value, and just accept what people say. I want and need to know WHY.
    Secondly, the courage qualification. I know I have that. I’ve never been afraid to jump in and put myself out there. I’m thankful for that trait!
    The last qualification, hunger, I have noticed in my own life as well. When I’m NOT really needing money, I’m not as motivated, and hence, not much happens. But when my savings starts to dwindle, and I feel the pinch, “somehow” money starts to roll in.

    Lastly, I LOVE the “My Blogging Credentials” image. I can relate to many of those as well. 🙂

    Sarah Dizney

  11. Jesse Moskel says:

    I just want to thank everyone (starting at the top, with Carol!) for their positive comments and many posts and links – I’m trying to follow them all and learn everything I can about being a freelance writer.

    I am a real beginner in this world, with some backstory to overcome (fresh out of prison), but reading these comments gives me fire. You know what I’m talking about: desire, courage, strength, hunger. No matter where you’re from or what you haven’t yet done…
    you’re still breathing, so you’re still in the running!

    Jesse
    Jesse Moskel recently posted…Tales from the RoadMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Hi Jesse —

      Welcome to the blog!

      I say rather than trying to overcome your background…use it. Your unique perspective is what makes you the writer you are. Bet you have ideas for articles I’d never imagine.

  12. Tim Windhof says:

    My college degree was in law, and I had to draft/write a lot of documents when I practiced law. However, blogging is a completely different style of writing.

    Yet, I feel most comfortable when blogging about legal topics 🙂

  13. Kristen says:

    I wonder how long it took Darren Rowse to start feeling qualified?

    Doubt sure can linger. Every time I get a new rejection, or things end with a client (even if the feedback and reasoning for it doesn’t have anything to do with quality), it shakes my confidence for a little bit.

    I had a conversation with a filmmaker recently about rejection. She was apparently a bad student so got used to negative feedback long ago and it doesn’t phase her one bit. It made me think it would probably be good for me to make more ambitious moves and hear “no” more often, so I can shake the sensitivity that comes with it now.
    Kristen recently posted…The Secret to Good Marketing…My Profile

  14. Gaurav says:

    great post Carol

    i just start my blogging journey and to be very honest writing is not an easy task. sometimes i get bored of always writing and writing. but still i am blogging because i know someday i’ll definitely be a successful blogger.
    Gaurav recently posted…Duplicate Content will not hurt Your Site –Matt CuttsMy Profile

  15. Holly Bowne says:

    This is great stuff! I have a computer programmer friend who now works as a professional artist (no art degree!). We often joke about feeling like frauds that will eventually be found out. I do have a college degree but I’m not even going to mention what it’s in because it has absolutely nothing to do with writing!

    I agree with Angie’s comment about adding ACT and the need to take action using all the knowledge we glean from great blogs such as this one, Renegade Writer, the Writer’s Den, and more.

  16. Julie Anne says:

    Once again I feel inspired by MALW (this blog). Some time ago, I wrote a brief bio on one of the pages of my top-level domain blog a while ago about why I became a freelance writer. I felt like had no choice, because I had no source of income in late 2005. Now, I aspire to reach a new freelance writing level. When I get the chance, I hope I can make it into the Den and learn more of the ropes of advancing my career.

    In the mean time, these posts motivate me to reach rather than settle. It’s not an easy transition, but in the end I think persistence will pay off.
    Julie Anne recently posted…The Only Thing That’s Going Right (My Work)My Profile

  17. Gayle Glass says:

    This seems to be a common theme lately – I recently posted on it as well as other bloggers I have referenced. Years ago when I was REALLY a fledgeling, I answered a call for a poetry columnist on a whim. I submitted a sample column and wrotem ” I have no formal degree, but have loved and written poetry for years. I would love to share that with others.” Later I thought how foolish I had been and that they probably got a good laugh out of the submission. They
    responded within 24 hours, and I wrote that column for almost three years. Moral? You won’t get it done if you don’t try!
    Gayle Glass recently posted…Facing our FearsMy Profile

  18. Shelley says:

    I loved this post, Carol! I can definitely relate to the sense of inadequacy that so many writers or would be writers internalize. Since I’ve been getting requests to take on writing projects I’ve chosen to embrace the qualities that you present as qualifications. I’ve accumulated several notes to myself posted on my vision board after mind-mapping in the mornings… “follow your curiosity” is one “I am not my fear!” is another and of course my favorite Arthur Ashe quote that can always pull me out of self-defeating rumination to action “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”. Thanks!
    Shelley recently posted…Elul 5773My Profile

  19. Lindsey says:

    I’m finding that freelancing is mostly a mental game, at least in its early stages. This falls under the “courage” umbrella, but I think one of the most important qualities a freelancer needs is the mental toughness to overcome self doubt and negative self talk. The things we tell ourselves often carry greater weight than rejection from outside sources and can hold us back before we even give ourselves the chance to be rejected by an editor or client.

  20. Dawn Witzke says:

    This is a post that I really needed right now. Although, I want to add that it isn’t enough just to have curiosity, you have to have the courage to pursue the answers. Getting over “bugging” people and “being nosy” has been a hard one for me. Looking up info online is so much less intimidating then having to call people.

    • Carol Tice says:

      Yeah…it wasn’t until years in that I realized I apparently lack a normal gene most people have that would make you embarrassed to ask people person and/or sensitive questions. 😉

  21. Bri Ahearn says:

    The kick in the pants I needed today! Thanks!

  22. Alicia says:

    I was scared this article was going to tell you that you need at least a bachelor’s in journalism or something like that. I was prepared to step in and say, “You are sooo wrong,” but it turns out you hit it right on the nose!

    I started freelance writing my junior year in high school, so I can testify that you don’t need any certain credentials.

    Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve seen people with degrees in English and related fields who don’t write half as good as I do and don’t know how to use a comma, so I certainly don’t believe that degrees get you much of anywhere in writing. It’s your talent and bylines that get you some place.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Alicia recently posted…When to Use Professional Communication in the Online WorldMy Profile

  23. Penelope says:

    Curiosity. Courage. Hunger. Beautifully said, Carol.

    It is very true that a writer will blog and write their heart out if there is no other way. If you are backed into a corner with no other way to feed your family. It’s hard work, no doubt about it. If you want to write as a hobby, write in a journal.

    Hemingway described it perfectly, “You sit down at typewriter and bleed.” He couldn’t have summed up the writing profession any better this this.
    Penelope recently posted…11 Simple Tips to Increase Writing – Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper!My Profile

  24. Mike says:

    I would add “Drive.” As in, aiming for greatness, perfectionism or never quite satisfied. I just read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley. In the updated version, he wrote that although the book was phenomenally successful, all he saw when he read it were the mistakes. Same thing with a very successful ad man I follow. Jerry Seinfeld has said the same thing about his stand up act. Songwriters too.

    Obviously, as writers we need the courage Carol mentioned to put our stuff out there. That’s a must. If we never put the pen down, we’ll never accurately gauge our progress. But, if writing ever gets too “easy”, then we’re probably not doing our best work.
    Mike recently posted…Are the “10 Most Meaningless Jobs” Beyond Hope?My Profile

  25. I keep thinking back to my first success in getting a book published. I was nervy, and smeared with an empty resume of writing credentials and not one published clip. But I said to hell with it, wrote up a first time book proposal, slapped my name and phone number on it and sent it in to an acquisitions editor at McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. Guess what, 2 months later I get a congratulations letter from McGraw-Hill saying my book is getting published. That was 18 years ago and it is now one of the longest running books ever on the profession of Locksmithing from which I still get 2 royalty checks a year for.

    I tell this story a lot not to brag, but to give hope and an example that nothing is impossible when you have the confidence and refuse to give into fear and rejection. Get the query written and send it in, and don’t be afraid to start at the top!
    Joseph Rathjen recently posted…The Facade of Politically CorrectMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Love it!

      I once knew a university president whose wife had applied for the job for him, behind his back. You never know what you might be able to do if you don’t ask. 😉

      • That’s right Carol. I have a cousin who took a $59 Calligraphy course. One night she was at a wedding and was doodling some calligraphy on a napkin. Turns out the guy sitting next to her worked in the United Nations and offered her a job on the spot for writing invitations to United Nations parties in Calligraphy. She’s now making $150,000 a year writing those invitations. Always keep in mind that you can turn yourself into a 7-day, 24 hour advertising machine for whatever it is that you do. You never know who is going to be watching!
        Joseph Rathjen recently posted…The Facade of Politically CorrectMy Profile

    • daisy says:

      thanks i am in a position where i need( well everyone needs money) but i don’t know what to . Try everything but is not working for me. however a few days ago my professor of high school find me and told me a lot of things bottom line i am very creative, have a really open my and always wanted to write a book but never have the courage like you said i don’t have any credentials to back me up. your story told me that it does not matter what you are but just have the courage to do what you think can work for you

  26. Erica says:

    There’s nothing I’d at to the list; you nailed it.

    I will say this, though — I work with a talented, brilliant copywriter who actually has a journalism degree. He’s amazing at what he does. He interviews well-known musicians and what he writes is published online with his byline and everything. He has the chops *and* the clips to prove it.

    And yet even he doesn’t think he’s qualified to freelance. Mindboggling.
    Erica recently posted…The day I met author Linda Joffe HullMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      Erica, I’ve mentored writers with 3 degrees who ask me if they should do another degree program to get ‘qualified’ to freelance. It’s funny how inadequate we all feel, no matter how good we might be at writing!

  27. Great list, Carol. I’d also add a sense of humor to the list. Sometimes when I’m having a bad day or week and wonder why in the hell I ever thought freelancing was a good idea, I know it’s either laugh or cry, and though I do succumb to tears now and again, I usually try to find something to laugh about and that gets me over the hump.

    I *do* think ‘courage’ is a big factor–just putting yourself out there time and again with LOIs and queries, *before* ya even land the article, takes some intestinal fortitude. As a freelancer, ya spend a lot of time ‘peddling your product, and that’s *you*, so you’ve got to stay ‘up’ and that can be exhausting….

  28. Sandra says:

    Great post. About your millionaire student – once he realizes just how hard this life can be, he’ll be grateful for his cushiony cushion.

    I think I’ve said it here before, but I’d add Patience. You have to be hungry, yes. But you need patience for your efforts to come to fruition.

    Thanks for sharing Darren’s slide. Proves to show that many of us are so hung up on the wrong things and just need to focus, focus, focus!

    • Carol Tice says:

      I LOVED Darren’s slide…was so glad they issued a video of his talk so I could grab it to show everyone!

      Patience…perserverance…definitely needed.

  29. Angie says:

    Right on, Carol! If there’s one thing I’d add to this list, it’s the willingness to learn and ACT on what you’ve learned. I know of more than one writer (and I’ve been guilty of it myself) who absorbs everything they can from books, resources like the Den, etc., but never actually put any of that learning into action. They’re the writers who never move beyond content mills, even though they’ve got vast stores of knowledge about how freelancing should work.

    Great post!
    Angie recently posted…Pet Therapy: Relieve Stress by Geeking Out with Your PetsMy Profile

  30. Elke Feuer says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Carol! My grammar is sorely lacking (working on improving constantly) and the thing to hold me back.

    I have so many blog post ideas and I really want to branch into the ‘get paid for my writing’ world but was always gutless. Thanks for giving the kick in the gut (or rather butt) I needed.
    Elke Feuer recently posted…6 Tips to Stress Free PublicationMy Profile

  31. Jennifer says:

    I totally agree! I have a Masters degree in technical writer plus 10 years experience writing professionally for corporations, but I didn’t have clips because it was all proprietary and I had taken 6 years off to raise my babies. I thought this would help, but honestly it didn’t. I couldn’t get any jobs, even with my background without clips. Once I finally got clips, then I started becoming successful.

    I totally think that perseverance is the main skill you need. I had many friends say that they tried to freelance, but got turned down a few times. I then started telling them about how it took me six months to get the freelance job at the regional newspaper that was a big turning point in my career. Every week I sent the editor a list of ideas or just checked in. Finally he gave me a story to write, mainly I believe so that I would start bothering him. I did a bang up job and that was the beginning of the story.
    Jennifer recently posted…The One Sentence Every Content Marketing Writer Needs to Write to Land A JobMy Profile

  32. Noooo, you’ve succinctly stated what I am speaking on in a few weeks. This is excellent. Even though I have a J-school degree, I have always contended that it is *not* needed to be a good journalist.

    This is especially true given the internet has loads of great information on the stuff folks miss, like reporting, copy eating, ethics. It’s already out there and you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to educate yourself!

    I loved going to college, but the goal is more or less a lesson in managing your time and getting along with different types of people (which you can learn on your own if you work at it).
    Williesha Morris recently posted…How to Begin Your Freelance Life: My Story – Part 3My Profile

    • LOLOL I love my iPad – that’s copy editing!

    • Terr says:

      I like this comment. You know, my last major in school was journalism. Mind you, this was at the community college level. I plan on going back to school after a long absence this January. I’m probably going to change my major, although I’ve started on my path as a freelance journalist.

      Why would I change my major? One reason is what Williesha mentioned: A lot of the info I need can be found online. Books can be purchased on Amazon. I can easily obtain a lesson plan from the distant learning office and find the books that are being used in class. Then I can buy the books online without spending globs of money on those classes.

      Another reason why I’m changing my major is because I’ll already have work produced as a journalist by the time I graduate. Do I really need to be forced to participate in the campus newspaper program? Journalism majors are forced to log time into the school paper and they usually are assigned positions that they don’t want.

      Besides, I don’t want to work on the school paper as a 40 year old. I want to produce “grown up” stories, you know? I am seriously thinking about a public relations major. I’ve dipped my toes into press release copy. I like the idea of making people/things look good, communication coaching, etc.

  33. jordan clary says:

    Perseverance. I have a history of freelancing, then just when it gets going I quit and take a ‘safe’ job, which ultimately turns out to be neither safe nor fulfilling. Each time I’ve thought if I’d just given it a little more time or started earlier…..So back again with an uneven past but at least the years do give a little perspective.

  34. Carol

    The great news for readers here is that they’ve all got curiosity. For if they didn’t have curiosity they wouldn’t be reading this post right now.

    And, as far as qualifications are concerned, you only have to look at all the written academic drivel out there on the web to realise that, if anything, spending time too much time in education is a disadvantage.
    Kevin Carlton recently posted…Two crafty conversion tricks copywriters can learn from eCommerceMy Profile

    • Ha! I just realized my comment about education is completely different than yours! But I do agree there is a lot of crap out there too.

      • I can’t see anything in your comment, Williesha, that I actually disagree with.

        My 3 years at university were amongst the most informative years of my life. But not in the way your average academic would imagine.

        Getting away from home (and the psychological conditioning that came with it) did me no end of good.

        But even though I did a traditional hardcore subject, Maths and Physics, I still can’t say I learnt one single thing of any practical use throughout the whole time I was there.

        I’ve learnt more in the last few years’ freelancing than I ever did back then.

        Most lecturers seem to live in their own little world. And what they teach is a complete joke.
        Kevin Carlton recently posted…Two crafty conversion tricks copywriters can learn from eCommerceMy Profile

    • Carol Tice says:

      I’m with you! I used to edit the work of writers with masters’ degrees in journalism who couldn’t write their way out of a paper bag. It was sad.

      Seems like there’s something about academia that gets people writing all stiff and snooty, which doesn’t work for any writing that pays well.

      • Kristen says:

        I got so much out of my experience in higher education that has served me well as a freelance writer.

        That said, I had to re-learn a lot about writing based on what works well for the web vs what made for a good academic paper.

        It did help me learn how to be good at research, good at determining the best questions to ask, and good at expressing myself with confidence. Each of those skills has been extremely valuable to me in my career.
        Kristen recently posted…10 Lessons that Struggling to Communicate Abroad Taught Me About Business CommunicationMy Profile

        • Doug DiZoglio says:

          Hi, my name is Doug, I spend a good deal of time during the day commenting and posting on fb and on my fb page yet I am working very hard here to comment on something i love to do. Of course that is ,or those are writing and public speaking.

      • Jordan says:

        Wow! That reminds me a lot of myself. I have spent a lot of time editing for friends and associates who are attending some of the top universities in the world and thus, far more ‘educated’ than myself. I am hoping that I can channel my passion for writing into a freelancing career and am reading various online articles on how I can get started. How should someone with no experience go about editing for pay? What is the best way to start freelance writing?

      • Lauren says:

        Education,while branching out and accumulating knowledge of all sorts..it seems to program people in a way i almost cant depict.Seems the more knowledge gained in these places,the bigger increase in the drain of common sense.An example i feel good enough to compare is a lion held in captivity,in the cage contained as people in society with work,school ect. Given food,as were provided with necessities,and many materials,even with technology advancements we lose contact,as the lion has lost his instinct to hunt.We decline in our progress to learn honestly and even to connect.Call it over-thinking but it goes way way deeper than just that,even most points in the paragraph cannot scratch the surface.

  35. Carol, I think you’ve mentioned it all. I love the ”courage” tip. Very inspiring, and from my own perspective, I think it’s what every writer needs

    Thanks

    Dan

4 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Credentials You Need to be a Freelance Writer"
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  2. […] For more on Carol Tice’s views on writing and its prerequisites, click here.  […]

  3. […] of the most popular work-from-home endeavors is freelance writing. For those with the skill, writing from home can be a lucrative business. You can take on freelance […]

  4. […] medium and ‘finding my voice’ is a work in progress. I refer back to posts by James Altucher, Carol Tice, Sarah Kathleen Peck, Jeff Goins, Corbett, Caleb, and Chase at Fizzle, and many more I find daily […]