March 29, 2003

So You Want To Be A Freelancer?

By Trevoe Blake

Many people want to take advantage of all that freelance writing
has to offer; flexible hours, working from home, spending more
time with family and friends, being your own boss and more!
But, how do you get started? Here are a few PipTips for aspiring
freelance writers.

Get a Computer

This is a very obvious step, and chances are that you already have a
computer. But think about this. Does your household only have one
computer? And, if so, do you have kids that vie for chat time? Or a
spouse that also loves to surf the net? If so, you should definitely get
your own computer. Or better yet, a laptop. This way, you can take
your work with you. And, you will also have access to the desktop too.
This may be a large investment, but it really is crucial to your writing
career. Check out local electronic stores that offer credit cards or
financing plans. This way, you can pay for the purchase as new jobs
and income come through.

Work Space

It is important to establish a place in the house that you can call your
home office. Whether it be a corner of the bedroom or space in the
den, you may want to make sure it is a place where you can seek some
quiet time. (The kids will find you regardless!) Make sure you have space
for a desk, filing cabinet, bookshelf and some room for supplies. Also,
make sure it is near a phone line to insure an Internet connection, and
also a phone and fax.

Make Time

To be a freelancer, you must give yourself adequate time. Lack of time
can sometimes be an obstacle. If the spouse and kids are away each
week day, make that your own time for your own business. Of course,
there will always be various errands and tasks you may need to complete
during the day…there will always be distractions. But, time management
is of the escessnce. This IS your job, although when it is in your home, it
rarely feels like it. Treat it like you are in a ‘real’ office. Give yourself
set break times and a set lunch. This will really help you manage your time.


You will need to invest in some writing supplies. This is the fun part!
A trip to Staples can be very enjoyable. Here are the necessities:

-a few reams of paper. Make sure you stock up! You don’t want to
run out of paper in the middle of a 20-page report!

-9x12 mailing envelopes. These are the big, brown kind that are used
to send out articles, letters, tear-sheets, proposals and more,and look
very professional.

-business size envelopes. In many cases when sending queries, you
will need to also include a SASE. Having these in stock at your home
office is handy

-Extra ink cartridges

-Extra disks/CDs. Make sure you have computer disks
(or if your computer has a CD Rewriter, CD-R’s) so you can submit
articles this way if requested.

-Other handy supplies are: highlighters, red pens, pencils, paper clips,
stapler, staples, etc.

Writer’s Market

Having the most current issue of the Writer’s Market is one of the
best investments a writer can make. This reference book will put
you in contact with magazine, book, screenplay, greeting card and
other markets. It gives you submission guidelines, pay rates, and
contact names and numbers of publications across the nation.


Creating a name/logo for your business is a great idea, even if it is
simply just your name. This allows you to create a letterhead and/or
business card. This makes you look professional and allows for networking.

Those 6 steps will get you started. Keep tuned to for
more tips on how to succeed at your writing career!


Trevor Blake is the editor of PIP Tips - Ezine For Serious Writers
And Poets
and the founder of the PIP Tips Writers'

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