break in to freelance writing

Best Posts 2016: The Top 10 Things Freelance Writers Need to Know

Best posts 2016. The top 10 things freelance writers need to know. Makealivingwriting.com

Every year, at the end of the year, I look back and discover the things freelance writers need to know most.

How can I tell? By looking at which posts here on the blog saw the most readers. Those are the topics freelance writers needed to learn about the most.

This year, there’s an interesting variety to the list. As always, this provides a road map for me to what kinds of posts I should bring you more of next year!

To qualify for this list, by the way, the post has to have been published or re-published in 2016. Oldies-but-goodies that keep getting traffic for ages don’t count! But you can check out the sidebar for those.

Here are the 10 things you wanted to know about the most in 2016:

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6 Basic Steps to Score Your First Freelance Writing Gig

6 steps to score your first freelance writing clients. Makealivingwriting.com

The biggest problem I faced as a new freelance writer was wondering when I’d ever feel ready to make the leap to marketing myself effectively, and getting that first freelance writing gig.

I took me some time to realize that I’d never feel 100 percent ready. But if I wanted to make real progress, I’d have to start taking consistent action to find that first client.

Sometimes we just need a shot of inspiration to send us down the right path, and mine came from Bamidele Onibalusi’s recent Earn Your First $1000 as a Freelance Writer challenge.

My strategy and email template are adapted from his articles, and used here with his permission.

Here’s what I did:

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What IS Freelance Writing? Answers to the Awkward Newbie Questions

What IS Freelance Writing? Answers to All of the Awkward Newbie Questions. Makealivingwriting.com

I post a lot of tips here on Make a Living Writing for writers looking to earn more. But recently, a look at my Google Analytics revealed a surprising phrase writers commonly search on:

“What is freelance writing?”

This makes me feel I should back up and start at the very beginning. Clearly, I shouldn’t assume every reader knows what this career is about.

Apparently, some folks know that term well enough to search to find out more about it…but they don’t yet know how freelance writing works, exactly.

So let me fill in the blanks today with answers to some of the most basic questions about the world of freelance writing:

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Escape the Content Mills: 12 Practical Posts for Moving Up

content_mills_ICONAre you trying to break free from writing for content mills?

You’re not alone. How to quit content mills and earn more than their rock-bottom rates is probably the single question I get asked the most.

It can be so easy to get sucked into content mill work, but it takes so much time and effort to write enough articles — and deal with the often contradictory edits — that it sucks up all your time, and you never can market yourself to find better paying work.

I’m doing a survey about content mill writing right now, and the pay rates writers report are appalling. We’re still collecting results, but with 300 in the can, I can report nearly half say they earn $5 an hour or less writing for mills, or for mill-type quickie-article gigs on the bid sites.

Man, that makes me mad to hear.

I’ve done quite a few posts on how to escape content mills, so I thought it was time to pull them together into one useful guide to help you move out of content mills and into better paying freelance writing gigs.

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This Will Help You Solve the Freelance Writing Puzzle

puzzleThe freelance writing game is a bit of a puzzle, isn’t it? One of those big, 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles that are half solid blue sky, I think.

There are a lot of different things to know — the lingo, the scams, who’s a good client. It’s hard to know your best way to break in. Or, if you’re already started, the best way to grow your income.

There are so many things you need to figure out to create a thriving freelance writing business. What niche should I be in? Why aren’t my query or pitch letters getting any response? How can I overcome my fears of rejection and move forward?

I’ve been doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles over the winter with my husband and kids, and as I sat pondering those frustrating little pieces, I started to think the puzzle-solving process is very similar to the process of putting together your freelance career.

Here are ten similarities I’ve found:

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Why Hating Your Day Job Won’t Make You a Successful Freelance Writer

Furious worker wants to quit day job.

I hear every week from aspiring freelance writers who despise their cubicle life. You hate your boss. Working for the Man is unfilling. It’s boring. Certainly not how you ever planned to spend your precious days.

So you’re thinking about quitting to become a freelance writer. Maybe you’ve been writing on the side in hopes of building up your freelancing until it’s time to quit. Or perhaps you’ve recently taken the plunge.

If you’ve been in Corporate America a long time, here’s my forecast: You’re in for a rocky ride.

There’s a popular myth that if you hate being a cog in a big corporate wheel, it’s a sign that you should quit your job. Your hatred of the paycheck world indicates you will be a super-successful freelance writer.

But in my experience mentoring thousands of writers, that ain’t necessarily so. Here’s why:

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