How to Find Writing Assignments as a New Freelance Writer

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Article by Wendy McCance

I see this question quite often, how do you find writing jobs when you are new to freelance writing?  Why is it that some people can decide to become a writer and get jobs while other new writers struggle?  Is there a magic solution that many people are unaware of?

Any person who decides on a freelance writing career has to start at the beginning.  I mean starting out with no clips of their work, no endorsements and an uncertainty of where they are going to find an offer to write.

I’m sure you have read many stories about writers starting out and dealing with  unreputable companies.  You know, those websites that offer ridiculously low sums of money to write an article?  You should never have to worry about writing articles along with hundreds of other people hoping your article is the one chosen and payment is made. You should never have to write an article for a few dollars for your time.  You should definitely not work for a company that takes two dollars away from your payment for every mistake they find (believe it or not, such a company exists).

How then should you go about getting those first assignments?  Let me tell you how I did it.  I started out like everyone else with no previous articles and was basically unknown when I was offered my first writing job.  Yep, I didn’t look for the job, the company came to me.  The way I started out was writing this blog and making sure that several social media sites saw my work.  I linked my article to Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and many other social websites.  The goal was to place each article where it made the most sense.

If I was writing on a parenting topic, Mommy Bloggers got a link.  If I was writing about blogging itself, there were a few blogging groups on Linkedin that would see my article.  In fact, it was because of those articles on Linkedin that I got my first job.

A company reached out and asked if I would be willing to write a 300-500 word article on a financial topic.  My very first assignment landed me $65.00 in my pocket.  I had no clips at the time, I hadn’t even been a guest writer on another website.  This company saw what I was writing on a Linkedin group, saw how people in the group were interacting with what I wrote and decided I would be a good fit for them.

Of course what happened to me might just be considered a lucky break.  What should you do if you aren’t being approached by others?  Like I mentioned before, write as much as you can.  Choose different topics to show your range of abilities.  Make sure to advertise your work on relevant social sites.  These are the basic things that you should be doing each day.

Once you have been writing and sending out articles for a while, your next step is to ask for the job.  All of that social networking hopefully has created a strong following of readers.  Take the time to write to these readers and ask if you can be of assistance to them.

What I do is look through the contacts I have built up and take a look at the company they work for and what their job title is.  If they seem to be the decision maker, that person who would hire the freelance writer and more importantly, need a freelance writer, I write an email to them.  In the letter I let them know what I feel I could do for their company.  Maybe you can suggest writing blog articles or a press release for the company.  Make sure that what you are offering makes sense to the person you are writing to.

If you have knowledge about finance and you are writing to a financial company, tell them what your background is and why you would be a great choice for writing their articles.

Other ways to look for freelance writing jobs is to go out and personally network with people in your community.  Join your local Chamber of Commerce, the PTA or even a writing group through Meetup.  You never know who has a need for your skills or who might have some great advice on where to look for a job.

Finally, if you feel more comfortable starting your career by going to the websites that offer writing opportunities, just make sure you go to reliable companies that offer fair wages.  Below are a few companies that I have heard are pretty decent to work for.  I have never used these companies so this is really second-hand information.  Nevertheless, it might be worth taking a look at these sites to decide if any of them would be worth your time.

Writing Sites:

Mediabistro.com

Indeed.com

Journalism Jobs.com

Freelance Writing Gigs.com

Skyword.com

Elance.com

Writer Access.com

Problogger.com

The Write Job Today.com

Blogging Pro’s.com

Flex Jobs.com

iWriter.com

Jobrapido.com

oDesk.com

I hope the information provided helps you out in your own career.  If you have any additional sites you would like to mention, or a success story on how you got started as a freelance writer, I’d love to hear from you.

For more information about writing and blogging, please check out my Facebook page.  It is a wealth of knowledge and definitely worth your time.  https://facebook.com/searchingforthehappiness

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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46 thoughts on “How to Find Writing Assignments as a New Freelance Writer

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing platform for freelance writers.I would love to add one more platform for freelance writers called Text-Writers which is an online platform that helps writers to get connected with business having content writing need.

    • Hi Elvis, thanks so much for pointing out the links. The original article was written over two years ago and had just recently been reposted. The links have now been updated. Truly appreciate you passing along the article. Wishing you all the best in your writing career!

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  14. This is quite the inspiring article. I have been an executive writer and designed corporate written content and presentations for several years. I’m also published in a regional managzine. I’m interested in branching out from the corporate world proper into a consulting/freelance opportunity. So wish me luck! 🙂

  15. I appreciate this article, especially as I was considering using a blog of my own to get wider exposure as a writer. While I got my journalism degree many years ago, I am a relative newbie to online writing. When you talk about getting “linked up” and making sure so-and-so gets a link, I draw a blank. Can you explain these probably basic techniques to a beginning blogger? Thanks!

    • Hi Rebecca, I think you are referring to sites that you can connect to that are in your genre. Whatever area you decide to focus your writing on, there will be groups that will fit that niche. If you want to write about parenting, there are mommy blogger groups (for example). Another place to find groups that fit your genre are through the LinkedIn groups.

      Just Google the area you want to focus your writing on, and join the social media sites that come up. It’s a way to get your name out into the right spots quicker.

      Hope this answers your question. 🙂

  16. Hi Wendy, It is so nice to hear from some-one who actually cares about the new free-lance writer. Often after people have “made” it they don’t want to know about new free-lance writers. They think they are too good to mix with the likes of newbies. Your blog is an inspiration to all new writers. I would very much like to sign up and receive news from you. I would also like to spread the word about you. Thanks for looking out for the little guy.
    Veronica

  17. You are true Wendy, for a new freelance writer, it is very important to have proper strategy to move ahead. The worst thing about being new in this field is that most of the time we don’t have any map about where to go and we end up falling in the trap of Content Mills.

    But to be successful writer, one should have clear perception about the goal and how to reach that goal. There are a lot of things to follow as you have mentioned here in your blog.

    Even I have written a lot about these in my 2 different eBooks –

    1) Launching Successful Freelance Writing Career
    2) How to get High Paying Freelance Writing Clients?

    You are doing a great job by guiding the new freelance writers about how to grab jobs in this field.

    Keep it up. Would like to read more from you.

      • Hi Wendy, Thanks for your appreciation about the eBook.

        Yes, of the 2 eBooks 1 is absolutely free to download –

        “Launching Successful Freelance Writing Career”. I hope that those freelance writers who are still struggling for earning pennies will get benefited from that eBook.

        The next one is paid eBook though, but I believe that the eBook is worth buying –

        “How to get High Paying Freelance Writing Clients?”

        In this eBook, I have poured all my experience since 2005 in this writing field. I point out the mistakes most writer make, shared my own experience and strategies that I have followed to bag High Paying Freelance Writing clients through my freelance journey and also explained in details about how to use the post popular social networking sites to filter High Paying Clients and how to bag them.

        That eBook will definitely help the new and experienced freelance writers to get into the successful writer’s league.

  18. I was surprised to see Skyword on this list. That place is the worst content mill since Demand Studios. Google them and see what writing forums like WAHM has to say about them before you waste you time. Their rates are higher than a lot of other places, but that’s moot because they sit on your work without publishing/ paying. They’ve owed me over $1000 dollars since May and were completely unresponsive after the first few weeks.

  19. Did you really mean 300-500 PAGES for only $65? How long does it take you to write 300 pages? That’s about the length of a book, isn’t it?

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  24. I’ve been seeing your name and articles for many months on LinkedIn. Now, after reading this article, I will pay serious attention to your advice, and track down your previous articles. Count me as a new “Follower”.

  25. Another very insightful and helpful post!Thanks for taking the time to research this info and put it out here for us. Much appreciated. And your advice about writing is spot on: just do it. 🙂

  26. Hello Wendy,
    I hope you know that you are my mentor:-)
    Thank you so much for this information. I would really love the opportunity to write for a reputable company but I don’t feel confident enough at this point. Although lots of people have commended my writing abilities, I still feel like a newby. Hopeful that courage will come soon. Have a great week ahead.

    • Hi Jane, thanks so much for the kind words. As far as writing goes, the only way to find success is to jump right in. Your writing is terrific. Everyone has to start somewhere and starting is always the scariest part because it’s delving into the unknown. Nothing bad can come from just getting brave and jumping in. Who knows what you are missing out on by stalling your progress. Have a great weekend. Let me know how things work out. I know you are going to have some great success and I want to hear about it. 🙂

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