You know in your bones that you’re a good writer, and you have something worth writing about. How do you make that first step into getting paid for it?
Ways to break into writing
- Start a blog. If you’re going to promote a website, why not make it your own website? Start a blog and see if you can make it popular. Writing regularly teaches you how to write.
- Volunteer to write for a charity. Find a favorite non-profit agency or website. Offer to edit their website or write news releases for them. They probably won’t turn you down. Make sure it’s an organization you care about. Ask them to give you a job title to put on your resume. If what you write gets published, you can put that on your resume too.
- Accept boring assignments to earn more exciting money. Few novelists get rich quickly (and, alas, even fewer poets – but you knew that already). You’ll make money faster by writing a brochure, a white paper, a press release, a technical manual, or a trade magazine article.
- Apply to join a blog network. If you’re chosen, you’ll receive training, support and some cash. Some of the best are About.com, KnowMoreMedia, and b5media.
- Search the freelance writing job boards. My favorites are About Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Jobs, Writers Weekly, and Writer’s Resource Center.
Who’s hiring writers?
Many people think that freelance writing is limited to suggesting a story idea to a magazine editor, who hires you to write the story if the idea is good. But there are so many other places to sell your work than through magazines. And pitching a story idea or querying an editor may or may not lead to your becoming a regular member of the publication’s stable of writers. Being a family man, I value opportunities for consistent work, so I’ve approached my writing career more conservatively.
Here are some companies I’m familiar with who are paying writers for long-term work, in bite-sized pieces:
- Mahalo, a human-powered search engine: $10-$15 per page.
- SearchSays, another human-powered search engine: about $1 per 1000 characters
- Google, not exactly writing, but they want writer-types for temporary, part-time jobs: $15 per hour
- Brijit, abstracts of high-class popular magazines: $5 each
- Historical Abstracts, abstracts of scholarly articles about history and social science: $5.50-$8.50 each, more if you can read other languages (They also recruit volunteers, so specify if you want to be paid).