4 Things You DON’T Need to Become a Freelance Writer

Do you ever feel like you can’t get started with this freelance writing shebang just yet, because there’s this thing you need before you can really ‘get into it’? If so, I’m guessing that ‘thing’ is one of the following. Excuse me while I sully the good name of your excuses.

1. A MacBook (or Any Other Fancy Computer Setup)

Karen MarstonSo I will admit I am now one of those annoying assholes who sits in Starbucks with her MacBook Air, looking all pretentious as she types away on her sexy machine. And yes, they are very nice to work with. They’re slick and smooth and probably some other things that begin with S (except the thing that immediately popped into your head, you mischievous blighter). But the fact remains: you don’t NEED a sodding MacBook of any description, and having one doesn’t mean you’re suddenly successful or that you’ve ‘made it’.

Just take a look at all the photos kicking around on this site. See that little black laptop I’m toting? Yeah, I used that for the first two years of my business. It’s a 10-inch Samsung thing. And it was fabulous. (You got me: My main criteria when choosing a laptop is whether or not I can toss it in my handbag. Apple fiends would probably be horrified to see how I throw this little MacBook of mine around.) I know some people who don’t even use a laptop: they use a tablet/keyboard combo. So long as you can write on it and connect it to the internet, you’re good to go, honeybuns.

2. A Website

Okay, so I’m a little hesitant to include this — but it’s true. You don’t NEED a website to become a freelance writer. It’s a good idea to have one, and I definitely recommend splashing out to get your own site eventually… but if one of the reasons you haven’t even started trying to get clients yet is that you don’t have a website set up, well — I call bullshit.

Here’s what you should do: write up a couple of articles in Word on things you’d like to write about so you’ve got something ready to show prospective clients who ask to see samples of your work. Better yet, get some guest posts published and send those. And now start applying for jobs you find on freelance marketplaces like Upwork and on job boards. After you’ve been paid for a couple of pieces, you’ll be able to afford that spanky new website.

3. Lots of Free Time

If your reason for not starting is that you don’t have the time, well, I have to ask — do you really want to become a freelance writer? Because if you did, you’d find the time to start working on it somewhere. Although I’m a huge proponent of getting enough sleep, ask yourself this: could you get up an hour earlier? Go to bed an hour later? Or how about sneaking in some work on your lunch break (being careful not to get busted by your boss, probably)? Give up that hour of TV you like to watch in the evenings? The time is there. You just have to be willing to sacrifice something for it.

4. Supportive Family and Friends

I’m lucky to never have had trouble with this. But if you have a family to think about, or if your parents or partner or friends don’t think this freelance writing thing is a very good idea, you could have a challenge on your hands. It might even be easier to give up on your dream than to battle your way through the resistance you’re faced with. But if you’re determined to do this, a) you don’t need anyone’s permission, and b) there are other people out there who will give you the support you need. I’m one of them. And there are plenty of others too. Join an online forum or a Facebook group or find a Meetup — because this will be easier if you have someone behind you.

If you’ve been using any of these things as a ‘reason’ not to get started with freelance writing, own up. Either publicly here in the comments, or just to yourself. Have you been pretending to yourself that you can’t get started yet because of this or that? Suck it up, Jimbo. Because the only thing stopping you is you. And possibly lack of an internet connection and/or something to write on. But this is 2015, so I’m guessing that’s not the case.

YA LIKE THAT, HUH? SUBSCRIBE ⤸
Twice-monthly emails featuring:

  • My private tales of life and biz
  • Links to my latest blog posts
  • Other good shit from the web
  • Subscriber-only deals
  • Never more than 1 email a week, because fuck that.