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I decided that I wanted to do journalism, so I looked into and then I settled on freelancing. I hear it's a hard field to make money in, but I want to see just how hard.

I've found freelancing a bit confusing as I try to learn about it, but I'm pretty sure it starts with blogging. So I looked at blogging tips and how to get hired and I've learned a few things, and I've come up with a plan:

I'm planning to start blogging and write about stuff. Is this a good way to get hired? I'd like to work for newspapers, magazines, etc?

Can I choose a topic to write about or will they already have a position open for me when hired? What can I do to improve my chances of getting started as a freelance writer?

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    Hey HoneyBear, welcome to Freelancing SE! As it stands, this is a bit too broad for our Q&A format. There's too many questions in here. My suggestion is to edit this to focus on a single question about something you've looked into that you're unsure about, that way we can more easily rank answers through voting. Please see How to Ask for more details and tips. Also, check out this search on our site, which may be helpful. Good luck! – jmort253 Dec 4 '13 at 5:20
  • Thank you for answers and helping me out! I will remember that next time I post a question on here. – HoneyBear97 Dec 4 '13 at 5:23
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    I edited this a bit to try and help make it fit our format a little better. I focused it on just one of your questions so it's more answerable and less likely to get put on hold. Hoping this helps! Also, see this post too: freelancing.stackexchange.com/questions/234/… – jmort253 Dec 4 '13 at 5:28
  • Hey @HoneyBear97, I'm looking for freelance blogger to write fashion tips & trends blog articles for us. Interested? – a20 Sep 10 '14 at 9:52
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I will caveat my answer by saying that I am not a writer, so I'm certainly no expert in the field. That being said...

If you want to get connected with journals, newspapers, or magazines, you'll need to write articles and submit them to the editors for review (by e-mail or snailmail) - and get ready for a LOT of rejection. I recommend you pick a particular genre that you can write about and select several magazines or journals from that genre - for example, you could pick science as the genre and select Scientific American, Popular Science, Discover Magazine, etc. as the magazines; then read those magazines. Get a feel for what the editors like to see. Similar to preparing for a job interview, tailor your resume (your articles) to the magazine or editor that you're writing for.

When it comes to freelance writing, there is very rarely an "opening" that you apply for. You write and submit and write and submit until somebody publishes an article you wrote. If they like it enough, they may ask you to submit another article, but there is still no guarantee that it will get published as well. But as you repeat the process across multiple magazines, your chances of success will improve. If you're a good writer and a magazine has published a few of your articles, they may extend you an offer to be a full-time writer for them - which would make you no longer a freelancer ;)

As you can guess from the ambiguous maybes, there is a lot of uncertainty in freelancing. You need to be prepared for a lot of rejection and a lot of hard work; and even the best writers get rejected. Most editors sort through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of freelance articles to publish, and that's mostly to fill space when one of their full-time writers gets the flu. A blog can be an inexpensive and safe way to start and develop your skills, but it's a very different world from magazine and journal writing.

Blogging makes you no money unless you have your own website with banner ads for ad revenue. Once you get popular as a blogger (which is getting harder and harder to accomplish) you might start an online store. Blogging can be an excellent way to hone your writing skills and zero-in on the topics that interest you the most and that you would like to write about. I definitely recommend you come up with something more specific than "stuff" to write about :)

The best way to connect blogging to magazine articles might be to look for online magazines to write for: such as MaximumPC (a completely online tech magazine). In this example if you write a good tech-related blog, you can reference a MaximumPC article and then pingback to your blog in the comments, potentially catching the attention of one of their writers or editors. They would review your blog and if they like it, they might invite you to write a guest blog for their site. You would also submit articles to online magazines directly, like with a paper magazine, but being online allows you to present your blog as a portfolio of prior articles that an editor can peruse and decide if they want to publish what you write.

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Wow, I would venture to guess that there are entire books written to answer this one question! And I'm sure you'll find and read many of them in the near future. However, I'd like to focus on a couple of principles to consider along with some resources you may find helpful. Since this is a freelancing forum and you mentioned freelancing, my answer doesn't really address getting hired by a company - although it may possibly lead to just that.

Pick Yourself

Seth Godin is a familiar name in the business and publishing world. His advice to entrepreneurs is to 'pick yourself'. The meaning of this phrase boils down to not waiting for someone else to hire you or validate your ideas, but rather to act on them yourself. So look in the mirror and say "You're hired!". Now, get to work and start writing. Find a large enough audience and those publishers will be the ones jumping up and down screaming "pick me! pick me!".

The World Of Publishing

The same Seth Godin has also been heralding (and experimenting with) the changes that have occurred in publishing and brought on by the internet. The new buzzword is 'digital media'. One of the greatest reasons to 'pick yourself' and begin your journalistic aspirations immediately is the low barrier to entry. You can start writing and sharing your work with little to no upfront costs at all. But it does require formulating a plan followed by lots of effort. The old way of marketing through agents and publishers are quickly fading. Self-publishing is flourishing.

Strategy

-Find Your Niche. I would say that before you do anything, the first decision you should make is to pick a category or niche that you will focus on. Some examples would be politics, sports, religion, technology, travel, finances, etc. Choose something that you are passionate about. Chances are that you will already have some knowledge and experience in this area that will help to establish your credibility early on. If not, then start doing some research, get your hands dirty, and write about that. Choosing a niche early on will also help you focus on the outlets you would like to contribute to - and ultimately form a professional relationship with. Yes, get paid. Without getting into details, this will also help you with future SEO efforts and getting found in search results.

-Understand Your Revenue Stream. There are many ways an author can receive payment for his work. Just make sure that you are legally set up to get paid the way you choose to earn your income. Freelancers (Independent Contractors) are typically paid per piece, but it really depends on the terms of a Contract or Agreement. Self publishers can generate revenue from selling paid subscriptions, advertising space, or syndication. Many successful authors also receive income from affiliate marketing - however, be mindful about 'spam' and possible negative SEO consequences of affiliate links. Another source of revenue can come from print and ebook sales. Sites such as www.iuniverse.com, www.lulu.com, and www.amazon.com are some places available to self-publishers. Search Google using the term 'self publishing' for a wealth of resources.

-Focus On A Platform. Will you be primarily posting on your own site/blog, elswhere, or both? This decision will come a bit easier once you've thought through the ways you expect to draw some revenue from writing. Signing up for a free account on WordPress.com, Blogger(Google), or Medium.com is a great way to start publishing immediately. It's also important to make sure your platform is optimized for mobile devices.

-Share It On Social. Social media is your key marketing tool. Enlist your friends, family, and professional colleagues on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter to help you get the word out and share your work. The platform you choose to publish on should be able to integrate with most major social media accounts.

-Fail, Fail Again. Author and business coach John Maxwell wrote a book called Failing Forward. The main idea was learning from our failures and mistakes in order to succeed. Write, post, and publish. Write for the love and joy of it. Be consistent and post on a regular basis. Grow a thick skin then get constructive feedback in order to hone your craft and develop your style. In the end, good writing is about making that connection with your audience.

Hopefully this provides some direction and clarity for you.

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