Getting started

Once you’ve decided to start your freelance writing career, you’ll need the right tools and resources. Here is a list of the “top 10”:

  1. Decide where you’ll do your writing. In your house or apartment? Where in your house or apartment? In the library? Starbucks? Decide on a place that allows you to do your research and writing with as few disruptions as possible.
  2. Establish a routine for when and where you’ll write. Structure gives you freedom and discipline.
  3. You’ll need writing supplies: a typewriter or laptop, printer paper, ink or ink cartridges for your printer, pens and pencils, writing paper for jotting down notes while you are typing, “sticky notes,” a stapler, staple remover, paperclips, and a filing system. These are just a few of the basic items you’ll need, but enough to get started.
  4. Dictionaries, writing style guides, grammar books, and a thesaurus. All of these are available from reputable publishing sources in hard copy and online form.
  5. Subscribe to various writing forums, websites, and newsletters. These can give you practical and inspirational help in your freelance writing career, as well as allow you to network and meet others. There are a lot of free resources out there.
  6. Create your own blog and or website. You are your brand, and your best cheerleader.
  7. Explore the internet for ideas and research, but don’t restrict yourself to the internet. Get out and visit your public libraries, university libraries, bookstores, and other places too.
  8. Visit the blogs and websites of your favorite authors, associations, and publications. It’s a great way to learn, as well as to discover new opportunities.
  9. Be organized. Keep track of your writing markets, submissions, income sources, and expenses.
  10. Make time to play. Read a “guilty pleasure” like your favorite magazine, walk the dog, or follow your favorite sports team. I have done all three, and I like “Cute Emergency” on Twitter too. All the cute puppies, kittens, goats, pigs, otters (and a lot more of God’s creatures) you could want to see.

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