Starting out as a freelance writer is never going to be easy and while I certainly don’t claim to have ‘made it’ in the sense that I am far from rolling around in wads of cash while I watch my name climb the international bestseller list, I do however get paid to do what I love, so that to me equates at least a small degree of success.
‘How did you get started though?’: It’s a common question in the freelance community among both established and budding writers and while everyone’s path will be different, if the route I took to get where I am at the moment helps even one person feel they too can achieve their dream, then it is worth sharing. Perhaps it will even encourage fellow writers or creative people out there to share their own experiences.
I first dipped my toe in the water by approaching a local magazine and asking for a job. The response (and this is something you should expect to hear a lot when starting out) was that they’d be happy to have me contribute articles but would be largely unable to pay me, with compensation for my efforts being mostly in the way of experience and a portfolio of published work. There’s no denying that for many people, dedicating your time to researching, writing and redrafting articles for little or no money can be quite disheartening but it happens to us all and the experience is definitely worth it. I learned a lot about the industry during this time, interviewed interesting people and got the chance to contact various businesses. Through this connection I also got a place on a short video journalism course which saw me write, produce and edit an advertisement for a boutique and conduct an interview with a local artist; it was great fun and it gave me a nifty extra achievement to have on my CV.
I got the chance to work independently to create pieces that were assigned to me, as well as some which were my own ideas. Not only did writing these many articles for the magazine’s print and online editions help me improve the speed and quality of my work but I then placed an ad online, using the experience I had gained as a springboard to paid work. A few responses came in and so I had my first proper paying clients – one of which I still write for regularly over a year later.
I was finally earning money doing what I wanted to be doing and better yet, the flexible hours and often volatile, fluctuating work load (something else to be prepared for) meant I retained enough time to be able to dedicate effort to writing and publishing my own novella, The Vessel, which is available as a paperback and eBook worldwide; achieving yet another landmark in the ongoing voyage into my long dreamt of career as a writer and author.
And so we get to the present day, where I continue to be on the lookout for freelance writing work and take the first steps into the creation of a new story that will hopefully one day be sitting on your bookshelves. The best part of it all? I’m happy – and I don’t underestimate how lucky I am to be able to say that.