Freelance Fancies?

This is how freelance writers spend their time, right?

One of the things that has crossed my mind, as I’m sure is has for most people in my field, is the idea of freelance writing. And why not? When you can make upwards of $1 per word/$100 an article/$50 an hour from major clients. You have your own schedule, mostly, and can even do it from home in a lot of cases. What’s not to like?

Well, for starters, it’s a business that’s saturated at the moment. In 2006 there were a reported 135,000 freelance writers. Six years later, what do you think will have happened to that number? This can be discouraging for the blossoming writer. It can really seem like it’s impossible to be noticed out of hundreds of thousands of people.

To make things worse, because there are so many writers,  you have to be great. I mean really great. You have to be an excellent, fluid writer with the balls the size of a bull and an aggressive personality that still seems employable. I mean, you don’t actually want to come off as a jerk. Just like you have the propensity for it. Of course, if you’re content with snagging a low-profile job every so often to supplement your income, then mediocrity is perfectly acceptable. If you want to score that job writing for I saw posted today…well…you better be just fabulous.

So how do you even get started?

  • Have a very nice, tailored resume.
  • Have a writing portfolio to show off your work
  • References are a plus
  • Relevant education
  • Relevant experience
  • Specialty
  • Huge balls as mentioned previously

I think the most serious factor in preventing me from attempting it at all is the fact that you can’t really say that I have a portfolio. I have the resume. I have my degree. I have a small amount of copy writing experience. I have a professor as a reference.  I haven’t really chosen a specialty, but a considering copy writing/grant writing/technical writing/online writing courses. I just don’t really have the portfolio. I mentioned yesterday that I have my coursework, all of it, from college. Saved all my papers. But emailing my college essays and research papers and critical analyses to Oprah (or rather, the person who runs her website) is nauseating. Not that they’re bad or anything. I just really doubt the webzine/website/magazine editors of the world want to read about various motifs  present in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. And, while a piece of that nature would show off my grammar and writing style, it would hardly make anyone go “Oh yes, she’s just perfect for the job writing about weight loss.”

So what in the world do I do? Should I just pick random topics, write about them, and send those in? Hope I find a place that doesn’t require you to send a portfolio (ha!)? Or just mope?