By Edie Melson

Many writers I met with at the Blue Ridge conference expressed an interest in getting started as freelance writers. With the economy as it is, lots are feeling the need for additional or even primary income. With some hard work and diligence, freelance writing could be the answer you’re looking for.

Freelance writing isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It takes hard work—and a certain amount of a daredevil attitude. BUT, if you do the work and put in the hours you WILL see success.

The Basics

There are a couple of things you MUST do to succeed in this industry.

  • Send out the queries…daily.
  • Stay on top of the marketing…daily.

The Specifics

Queries—let’s face it, it’s hard to get an assignment if you don’t apply for it. Landing freelance writing jobs is often a numbers game. For every 10 jobs you inquire about, you’ll land one to two. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing how to make those odds better.

The critical thing to remember is if you’re sending out ONE query a week, you’ll probably land ONE job in the next 10 weeks. If you’re serious about earning an income you need to send out 10 queries a day.

Marketing—a simple explanation of marketing is job searching. I check the job boards every single workday. Even when I have regular work, I still spend about 40% of my time marketing. Otherwise, the work will dry up and I’ll have times with no income coming in.

Here’s a list of my favorite job boards:

You’ve decided to make the jump from writing as a hobby to writing for profit, so now what? Here’s your first step for your journey to freelance writer.

Step One—Start Thinking Like a Writer

Now it’s time to start thinking like a professional. By that I mean, everywhere you look and every experience you have has the potential to become an article.

Ideas for articles are everywhere. Are you at the grocery store? Look at the free magazines and publications offered near the entrance and exit – they have content – they need writers! Check the community bulletin board. There may be a story you can sell to your local newspaper. Did you have a flat tire last week? There are tons of safety magazines that would welcome your story with a slant.

(check out five other posts in this series at Edie’s blog: on query letters, what to query, copywriting, finding clients, and moving from free to paid assignments)


Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She currently has two books available, the best selling eBook, Social Media Marketing for Writers, and her latest project, a devotional for those with family members in the military, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle. Married 30 years to her high school sweetheart, Kirk, they have raised three sons.

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