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How important is Past Writing Experience?

Many people are under the impression that they need a lot of past experience in order to become a freelance writer. While there is no denying that this can help, it is far from being a prerequisite. Experience is one of the most common topics that aspiring writers want to discuss with me. Everybody has a unique background, some with experience and some without, but my answer to them is always the same: experience can help you early on, but it is not necessary in becoming a freelance writer.

But prospective clients are asking for samples?

This can be a difficult issue to deal with. As you probably know, before a client will bring you onboard they usually ask for samples of your work. If you have nothing to send them because you are new to the industry, how do you get around this? Even if you have never been a freelance writer before, there is a chance that you still have some samples lying around. Have you ever written a term paper for school? How about an article for a past employer? Anything that you have composed in the past can be used as a sample; it does not have to be a past freelance writing project.

Additionally, there is nothing wrong with writing a sample or two before you start to search for clients. No, you do not have anybody asking for these pieces and you won’t get paid, but it would work to your advantage to have a variety of samples that you can send on demand. Chances are that a client will want to see your style and ability; in most cases they will not care who you completed the work for.

Do you have a lot of Experience?

Of course, if you have a lot of past experience, you will definitely want to play this up when you are jumping into freelance writing. For instance, many people who have experience writing for a daily paper before eventually move into freelance writing. If you have this type of experience, you definitely want to let clients know about it. The same thing holds true if you were responsible for writing related tasks at past jobs.

As noted earlier, writing experience is not necessary, but it can be used to your advantage. There is nothing wrong with touting yourself as an experienced writer if you think that it can help you to more easily transition into the freelance writing world.

There is no reason that a lack of experience should hold you back from chasing a career as a freelance writer. Anybody can put together a few samples, and in turn begin to build a career from scratch.  

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3 Comments »Freelance WritingMay 1st, 2008

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