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Freelance writing or other writing jobs?

So I’m looking to start a job that involves writing and is a little flexible. The thing is, I have absolutely no freelance writing experience. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?


I did it for a number of years and boy did it suck, really hard. Types I did:
  • Blog posts. You're competing with people all over the world to make content that is as pleasing to the SEO algroithims as possible. You might learn some interesting things (can cats eat watermelon? yes, but don't feed them too much. Can you be a raw vegan and an MMA fighter? Yeah, it's hard but you can) but you're also doing 1-2 hours of work for as low as $5, since you're paid by the finished length of the piece. I can pound out 100 words easy, but SEO-optimized writing is something else. How many times can you use the exact phrase "can cats eat watermelon" without feeling like your writing is terrible? Remember you need to use it at least 5 times in your 250 word blog post, and it has to be that exact phrase. You also have no idea where the posts will end up, and it will almost never be under your name, so it really won't build your portfolio. You don't need any experience to do this, but this also means you have huge competition and terrible pay.
  • Journalism: This can turn into a career, but you're competing with unpaid interns and posts on Facebook. If your town has a free paper you might be able to get some things, but you'll be working from the ground up, like covering the senior's tennis game or the installation of a traffic circle in your town. But you'll be able to make connections, and that's really important in that field. The pay is better than nothing but you do have to run around town or call/email people...and there's no guarantee they'll ever get back to you. Sucks when you don't have a story because no one will talk to you.
  • Your own blog: There's a ton of people who do "HOW TO MAKE SIX FIGURES AS A WRITER!!!!!" webinars and it boils down to this. You make a blog, you write some posts, then you sign up for an affiliate marketing program like Rakuten Advertising and stick those links in your blog and hope people click them/buy things. I did this in college and made a couple hundred dollars just from using Amazon affiliate links and that was really cool! But I wrote to an incredibly narrow audience because I knew there was demand for such a site and I could have a monopoly, essentially. {To be specific, it was a blog that covered news/info on official/licensed Friendship is Magic toys/merch, because I was a brony and very interested in the toys, but Equestria Daily posts a ton of crap and baseless rumors and the MLP Arena forum was Incredibly Hostile to bronies and covered all 4 gens of toys. This did lead to me becoming an editor at a brony site and I made some lifelong friends, too, so this was the most rewarding of all the things on this list}
  • Original fiction: Only one person has ever asked me for this, for his own idea, and he stopped responding when I told him how much 200,000 words would cost. Unless you find someone Very Rich or have Incredibly Good Connections in publishing, it a'int happening.
  • Fanfiction: You need to build up an audience on ao3, wattpad, ff.net, twitter, tumblr....wherever the fandoms are, and you need to make content! I wrote a lot of stories where I made characters trans and a lot of my commissions had that, too. Unless you write for huge fandoms (and I mean, like, Marvel Cinematic Universe huge), you'll have to open the door for other fandoms, too, and you have to do homework to understand characters/settings/personalities. I know so, so much about Dr Who, Code Geass and Warhammer 40K despite not consuming any of the official media because of commissions lol. But this is the thing you'll probably have the most fun doing, and you'll learn the most as a writer, too! Do keep in mind that the more things you're willing to write, the larger the potential audience, the more niches you can exploit, and the higher you can charge for those niches. All the jokes about NSFW furry art commissions is true, btw, and the same is true for fanfiction.
  • Nextdoor: This is only relevant if you're an adult and live in America. It's a website that is only for your "neighborhood" and nearby neighborhoods, you see a lot of dumb neighbor drama but there's also people looking for odd jobs. It's probably nice old ladies who have a small business but are intimidated by computers and you make emails for them in Mailchimp. There's various opportunities for "professional" work and you can charge "professional" rates. I charge $50/hour and the hardest part is being patient while you explain the same thing to them for the fifth time. If you know some digital marketing tools (or are willing to learn) and have experience helping grandma put Hotmail on her Samsung Phone then you can do it.

Insolent Lad

I have a feeling it was easier to break into mainstream journalism, even for someone without a writing background, when I did it many years ago. I zeroed in on bodybuilding and reported on regional competitions, interviewed people, wrote training articles, and was able to see an article show up in nationally distributed magazines on a semi-regular basis. Independent mags, that is; over at the Weider empire they used all staff writers. These days, most of those sort of magazines are gone. I suppose web sites have taken over a lot of the slack. I also suppose there is no money in writing for them, if they are interested at all.

The thing, maybe, is to become a bit of an expert at something. In a way, that was what I was doing (I'm talking the 80s and 90s here). But I readily admit I don't know how to make money off it these days and have left that sort of thing behind me.