You use words. You use words to evoke emotion, tell stories, record concepts, sell ideas or services or products, engage a following. Whichever of those you do, think bigger.
People are always asking me if I specialise in a particular type of writing. When I explain that I’m a writer, they want to know what KIND of writing. Novels? Website copy?
My answer is always the same now, and it’s clear:
If you need to use words to get something done, I can help you do it!
I know SO MANY AMAZING WRITERS. They’re all working as teachers or librarians or truck drivers or caregivers. Because they have a kind of writing they want to do, and they don’t know how to monetise that.
Write everything. Write anything.
Call it a portfolio if you like. A body of work. I don’t care. But create some evidence.
SHOW people you know how to write stuff, BY WRITING STUFF.
Yes, a blog, whatever. But a blog with no readers isn’t very helpful. Find a blog where they post guest authors’ work. Write for them.
Approach companies, small businesses, marketing agencies, and ask if you can write 1 or 2 things for them for free.
This will achieve 2 things for you:
- you can now show work you’ve written for ‘clients’
- if they like what you do, they might offer you some paid work.
Publish poetry, short stories, essays. Enter competitions and submit to publications.
A body of work with variety can have a lot of weight.
What did my body of work consist of when I started charging people thousands of dollars for my writing?
- raunchy poetry published online
- short stories and poetry in anthologies
- tons of academic articles in journals and conference proceedings
- personal essays
- a masters thesis
- anthologies and academic journals I edited.
Do you know how many of those things I got paid to do? Let’s see… About NONE.
Brand yourself, and build a website
Do you know one of the easiest and fastest ways to establish credibility as a professional anything? A brand and a website!
So that if people search for you, they find you. And what they find needs to be THE SHIT. It needs to scream I KNOW MY STUFF. I know what I’m doing. Been there, done that. It needs to be very confident and matter of fact – here’s what I do. Here’s who I’ve done it for. Here’s where you can see what I do. And here’s what I charge.
I’m not saying once you build a website the work will start pouring in. There’s more to do – SEO, advertising, developing brand recognition.
But the FIRST, FASTEST, and EASIEST thing you can do to start establishing yourself as a freelancer is to make sure that once people hear about you, when they search for you online (because they will), that what they find reinforces EVERYTHING about your ability, experience, and professionalism.
One last piece of advice
(Oh and that website? You know how you’re a writer and you love words? Don’t write too much on your website. Make it short and punchy. Because you’re not writing this thing for you. You’re writing it for potential clients. And they’re busy. Don’t write too much on the website, duh!)