Writing For Money

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Don’t worry; you don’t have to have a formal degree to be a freelance writer.

But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll likely want to educate yourself in some way, so you can produce quality work from the get-go.

If you’re planning to go to college or are in the process of earning your degree, you may want to consider formal studies that will help you achieve your goal.

Contrary to popular opinion, English major jobs can be profitable, and the same is true of other writing-intensive majors like creative writing, communications and journalism.

Studying humanities flexes your rhetorical muscles, which will make you a much better writer and pitcher.

Plus, these programs lend you the soft skills employers look for — which is good, since you’ll likely need a day job while you’re finding a way to make the whole yoga-pants-forever thing work.With a subject line that bold (and accurate), I wasted no time in opening the email.It was from a young woman who’d recently graduated with a dual degree in English and journalism, asking me how, how, how in the world do I make a living this way?It wasn’t the first time I’d received an email to this effect, which feels patently insane.If you’d told me just a few ago I’d be earning my keep as a full-time freelancer — let alone giving advice on the subject — I’d likely have laughed in your face. There’s no guaranteed, step-by-step process that will land you the freelance writing career of your dreams.But websites and publications do hire writers, and getting a full-time position will give you two amazing, irreplicable benefits: an instant stack of clips and a world of hands-on education you just can’t get any other way.Working closely with editors and other creatives every day will make you a better writer, period; if you work for a digital publication (likely), you’re bound to get some SEO training and other know-how in the bargain.Even when I was working a staff writing gig, I had never so much as drafted a pitch to an outside publication. Now, I’ve got almost three years of working for myself under my belt — and in the first year, I actually earned more than I had as a staffer. Ask 10 different writers, and you’ll get 10 different how-I-made-it stories — or, more accurately, how-I’m-making-it-up-as-I-go-along stories.I only got brave enough to start submitting ideas after lots of encouragement from my good friend (and fellow TWL writer! I enjoy location independence and a workday uniform of yoga pants and tee-shirts, so it’s no surprise that fielding the how do you do it? The actual mechanics of the thing are pretty simple, though not easy: Have good ideas, be good at explicating them clearly, and spend lots of time and energy on the Sisyphean footwork of finding publications that will pay you to publish them.If college is already in the rear view, you might also consider grad school. The additional expense won’t guarantee you work down the line, and if you’re already dealing with student loans, you could just be digging the hole deeper.In the case of freelancing, it’s more about experience and practice than the fancy pedigree.


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