Thanks to Amber Cason Wingfield for writing and sharing this information!
While there are plenty of books available on how to become a freelance writer or editor, they can be a bit dry at times, or worse, they can offer outdated advice. However, there are two great books that I always recommend to anyone who asks for advice:
- The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube (just as applicable to men as it is to women)
- My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire
And a third that also looks useful:
Starting out as a freelancer right after graduation is difficult, especially if you have little or no “real-world” work experience. I started working as a contractor while finishing my master’s thesis, as a scorer for ESL exams for ETS. This experience combined with my experience as a Composition 101 instructor while in graduate school positioned me to work on education-related writing and editing projects. While I do work in other areas as well, most of my work is related to education in some way, even though I’ve never actually taught in an elementary, middle, or high school.
What did you minor in? What jobs have you held? What areas are you an expert on? These are all subjects for writing.
Keep in mind, though, that you may very well not be able to support yourself financially solely as a writer. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s just the way the market is. You may have to teach part-time and freelance part-time, for example. Or you may have to write part-time and edit dissertations for doctoral candidates part-time.
Here are a few websites that can help you out:
- http://www.the-efa.org/ *Membership in the EFA has been the single best freelancing decision I’ve made. I’ve taken courses through them and gained valuable new skills, and I’ve gotten jobs through the EFA’s job list that have paid for my membership dues many, many times over.
Do NOT join sites like Fiverr.com or Upwork. The vast majority of the clients there are looking for the cheapest labor possible. Quality is usually not a concern for them. The amount of time that you’ll spend combing through the dreck to find the occasional possible jewel is simply not worth it.
A Letter to Past Graduate-Student Me: Graduate school is an exercise in people not telling you things
A Letter to Past Graduate-Student Me: Graduate school is an exercise in people not telling you things, by Rachel Herrmann on the CHE