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Freelance Writing Tips from the Homeplace - B

Updated on August 8, 2014
Homeplace Series profile image

Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

So you are a Freelance Writer!

Young man ready to write
Young man ready to write | Source

1. What kind of Freelance Writer are you?

You are a freelance writer, you say. What does that really mean? What are your real goals and objectives. What do you plan do as "a freelance writer?" What does it mean, to you?

Wikipedia defines a "freelancer" as: "a person who is self-employed and is not committed to a particular employer long-term."

So, in this activity, you are self-employed, writing. Writing what? Among the fields that Wikipedia lists, that relate to writing, that commonly use freelancers:

  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Screenwritng
  • Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Indexing
  • Copywriting
  • Computer Programming
  • Web Design
  • Website Development

I suppose what many of us would think that a freelance writer might fall under Publishing, in the list, above. These would include writing to publish in magazines (print or digital), newspapers, (print or digital), eBooks, Novels, Novellas, Short Stories, Poetry, Blogs, corporate content, advertising copy, and so forth. Do any of these include what you want to do? What are other possibilities?

You cannot do all of them at once, by the way… at least not well.

Have you chosen what kind of writing to focus on? To succeed, you must make decisions. This is one of the first. Perhaps you can do more than one at a time. Is that what you hope to do?

Let's consider some possibilities.

The first novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories

Have you considered all your choices?

Take note of your choices
Take note of your choices | Source

2. Making choices

For purposes of discussion, perhaps we can eliminate some options and then consider where we might go from there. I will eliminate poetry, first. If you are a poet, more power to you. You have a talent I cannot even fathom, let alone possess. I cannot help you on that one.

Blogging can be put to good use as a support to other writing, so we will save that discussion for another day. From our list, above, let us also eliminate "corporate content" and "advertising copy." If you have the experience and the talent to qualify, again, more power to you. But I cannot help much in those areas. Others can, read their tips and suggestions. ;-)

The rest of the items might be broken down between fiction writing and non-fiction writing. That distinction is sometimes helpful, and sometimes not. Certainly "Novels, Novellas, Short Stories" fall into the fiction category, for sure. This may be an area you want for your concentration. For now, let's discuss that just a little later, below.

Although you may want to publish fiction that you write in magazines and newspapers, generally, writing for these two platforms will be non-fiction. Journalistic skills will generally be applicable. You will do interviews, research, contact experts, perhaps, and write about specific topics of interest to the readers of that specific publication. [We addressed the subject of getting published in magazines in A of this series]

Finally, related to choices, let's take one more look at the first list. There, besides Publishing, we also find Journalism, Screenwritng, Editing, Copy Editing, Proofreading, Indexing, Copywriting. Each of these, as well as the last three on the list, I consider to be very specialized and requiring both special training and/or specialized experience to really succeed as a freelancer. So, we won't consider those further, here.

The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" stories

Consider your choices carefully

Glasses on the keyboard - thinking?
Glasses on the keyboard - thinking? | Source

3. Decide on your individualized approach to freelance writing

While you are free to feel a different way, I am comfortable with the concept that a freelance writer can write both fiction and non-fiction, depending on interest and individual ability. There are now, also, growing opportunities to write "creative non-fiction" that may be the best of both worlds. We'll also save that discussion for another time, but it is a great subject for discussion and conversation.

Writing non-fiction material for either print or digital magazines or newspapers is, in my view, the most likely option for most freelance writers. Am I correct? Let's run with that assumption, and you can share your thoughts in the comments.

Last time, in A, I suggested that you find your niche. Do you have a niche? Do you need a niche? Does it matter? We are now approaching the point of a key question that we have ignored to this point:

WHY are you a freelance writer?

  • Is it to satisfy that urge, that itch, that simply says: I must write?
  • Are you doing it for the money you think you can make?
  • Are you writing so that you can see your work in print or on line and say: I did that?
  • Are you trying to prove a point to someone? A spouse, a friend, a rival, someone else?
  • What is your excuse, sorry, reason to want to be a freelance writer?

Your decision of where, what, how, and when will largely be dependent on your personal answer to that WHY question. Can you answer that question honestly? Until you can, the rest is going to possibly be a problem left unresolved. And, this is likely to lead to continuing frustration and even inability to set up a workable goals and a plan to reach where you want to go in this business. Isn't that really the end result we need in order to be satisfied with our decision to be a "freelance writer?"

If, however, your answer is that first one, "I simply must write," and that really is your only reason, then just write. HubPages here is a great place to do that. Write well, write what you want, enjoy the feedback you get, share it with others, write some more. If that provides the scratch for your itch, simply enjoy it. [I do, by the way!] I'll do my best to participate in reading what you enjoy writing. I hope you'll read what I write, as well. We are a writing community here, after all. Write on!

The latest novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories

Write down your story today

Hands on keyboard writing story
Hands on keyboard writing story | Source

4. You have a story that needs to be told

If there is a story in your head, that just will not go away: WRITE IT DOWN! NOW!

If this is your motivation, nothing else really matters. Get it written now. Later, you can edit it, you can rewrite it, you can "put it in the drawer" - but, right now, nothing is more important than writing. Type it, save it, print it or not, get it out there where it can be examined, by you, and eventually, by others. You do not have to let anyone see it. But, once you have written it down, you can "let it go" in your head. Then, you can think more clearly about what you want to do next. Now, write! ;-)

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Totally understand each of those comments. Grant-writing was always a pain for me, in real life, as a professor... Have a hard time conceiving I would want to try it now - especially as it would be non-profit and... as you said. Thanks for your great hub, and great comments. Look forward to reading more of your work! ;-)

    • Richard-Bivins profile image

      Richard Bivins 

      4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      I write eBooks, screenplays, and young adult fiction novels for my own pleasure. I write copy, white papers, and family history heirlooms for my clients. I've done a couple grant proposals but did not find it worth while. The pay was mediocre and you have to deal with non-profits that just don't want to open their own checkbooks. B2B work is less stressful and pays the best in my opinion, but like I mentioned, I get the most pleasure when I'm writing for myself.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I really appreciate the positive feedback. I just finally got an iPhone. I hope I'll remember to take notes of my thoughts... I cane actually just speak them... Will that work? We'll see!

      Thanks for the visit. Much appreciated!! ;-)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Number four is solid advice. I've lost so many ideas by not writing them down (in any form) while they were in my head, either due to procrastination or self-doubt. Thanks for these good tips!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Just keep at it. You can do it. You will do it! ;-)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Your excitement is contagious! I am encouraged by your words to continue my dream of writing a book. Have a good day.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for your visit, vkwok from Hawaii. Always appreciate each of your visits, and posts.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great observation, FlourishAnyway, I could say the same as your last sentence, but, of course, we would also be talking about different kinds of information. For sure!! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      4 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for more amazing tips, Bill!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I like that you ask why we write. Everyone probably has a different answer for that to some extent. I write because I love it as a form of expression and because I have valuable information to share.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      always exploring, that is what you do here. Good for you. Thanks for your visit and your comment. ;-)

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      A good way to figure out where to go and what to do. I write poetry and must say that getting it out to people is really quite hard in print. However, joining lots of poets groups helps a lot as poets read each other's stuff and buy each other's poetry. Hubpages is perfect for me as a non poet, because I get the urge to write one hub about one subject, then change my mind! Voted interesting.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I really don't think i have a niche, i just love to write poetry and short stories. Something pops into my head and i run with it. My desire is to be a good writer, there's nothing i enjoy more, and it's new for me. I never wrote anything before joining HP, and i did that on a dare from a friend. Your tips are very good. Thank you for sharing..

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Kevin, excellent approach. That keeps things fresh and challenging. I know you will continue to excel! ;-)

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      The information which you wrote about is very useful William. I began writing about one 'niche' and have continued with it, then I try others to see if I also have a second one that I adapt well to and receive positive comments about. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.


    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Have a great weekend, Bill. They seem to be working well, for you!.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Rachael, Thank for your prompt, first response.

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Well said, bravewarrior. Excellent additional points add to the discussion. I'm sure your experience is similar to that of many others. I was at that point, myself, a few years ago. Best wishes in your quests! ;-)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 years ago from Central Florida

      Other big markets for freelance writers are web copy, content marketing, B2B, and B2C. There's not much of a market for freelance fiction writers. That is usually something personal that a writer who has a book in him/her accomplishes while they're earning a living as freelance writers or copyeditors.

      The Internet is full of successful bloggers who actually earn a very lucrative living at the craft. It's hard work and the writer needs to have a handle on marketing. Most of the rest of us blog part-time to help build our platforms in hopes of landing well-paying freelance gigs.

      In my case, I love and prefer writing fiction. However, it doesn't pay the bills. At least, not yet. Therefore I find myself using my writing skills to help businesses promote their brands and increase revenue. It would be nice to forego that step and concentrate on my book, but at this point in my career it's a pipe dream. We all have steps to take and concessions to make in order to make it in this business as a freelancer.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am wrapping it up for the week. Great tips, Bill, all valid and worthwhile. Have a great weekend.

    • RachaelOhalloran profile image

      Rachael O'Halloran 

      4 years ago from United States

      Excellent tips, thank you.


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