Six Things Every New Freelance Writer Needs to Know

So. The urge to write professionally is burning in you. Maybe you need quick cash right now, or maybe you want to change your lifestyle long term. Whatever your reasons, your mind is swirling with questions: How do I do it? Can I do it? What is it like to be a professional copywriter? How do I even get started?

What if I suck and everybody hates me and I ruin my career and then I’m poor and have to live on the street… ???

Sound familiar?

I’ve written about the nuts and bolts of getting started elsewhere. Today, I want to talk to you about fear.

The first thing I want to tell you is: Do not be afraid of fear. Fear is universal. It doesn’t have to stop you. Let it wash over you and through you while you push through it. Do the thing you are called to do.

“I am not afraid. I was born to do this.” ~ Joan of Arc

You deserve to conquer your fear.

Here are six truths to help you get started.

  1. Every freelance writer in the history of ever started from zero. Everybody struggles at first. The difference between making it and not making it is not how many times you fall down, but how many times you get up again.
  2. Writing professionally will make you a better writer. It’s a fact of life that if you want to be good at something, you gotta practice. Writing professionally provides not only an opportunity for practice, but also a way to receive valuable feedback on a regular basis. Powerful combination.
  3. You’re going to screw up. And that’s okay. Screwing up is how we learn. Be bold, make mistakes, and say, “Oh, hey, I learned something new. Awesome.”
  4. It gets easier. All the complexities and the questions and the rules will start to feel intuitive, and someday you won’t remember why any of it ever seemed hard. Don’t stress. It’ll come.
  5. You don’t have to have a niche. It’s beneficial, yes, and I talk more about the value of it, and how to choose your niche, in my quick start guide. But what if you don’t know what you want to focus on? What if you don’t want to focus at all–you just want to write? Forcing yourself into a niche too early may stifle your creativity. Don’t worry about it just yet. Find clients. Write. Discover what you want to write about and what clients will pay for.
  6. It’s okay if you get started and then stop. Many freelancers get started and then have to take a break. Maybe you run into a financial pinch and you need a job for a while. That’s okay. You get to keep your portfolio and all the skills and lessons you learn as a freelancer. And if you do pick it up again later, you’ll know what to do.

Okay. What are you still reading for? Go forth and write!

Pro Tip: Download the free “Get Your Writing Career Off the Ground” ebook for a step-by-step guide to getting started.

Fen Druadìn Head
Fen Druadìn Head is an award-winning freelance writer and coach. Her work can be found all over the internet in publications as diverse as Redshift Magazine and Grit. Fen's fiction is represented by Ethan Ellenberg.