Evening folks! I’m excited to tell you about a step I’ve taken towards the dream of actually legitimately being a real-life paid-up writer person: I’ve signed up as a freelancer.
It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out for me, and hopefully I’ll be able to share some tips and pitfalls along the way that might help anyone else out there wanting to do something similar. So a quick breakdown:
I want to be a writer. I’m currently an engineer. It pays well, it can be pretty interesting, but it is not what I love. I love writing. I’ve been looking at writing jobs and, unsurprisingly, employers want professional experience, so I’m going to get some.
Upwork is a site that connects freelancers to projects all over the world. There are fields for programming and web design and blah blah but more importantly writing! From editing and technical copy to poetry and blogging, there are people everywhere who are willing to pay me to write. Oh my.
Signup is simple, and free, and pretty quick. I set up my profile – picture, short bio, list of skills – last night and have started looking at jobs today. When you find something interesting, you message the project/owner/employer/tasker and if they like you, you get the job! You agree a rate, do the work, get paid. Apparently.
So what have I done so far?
Wrote a bio.
Added my skills – for me that means fiction, blog writing, poetry, editing etc
Chose a nice cheerful photo.
Added some work details (about my irrelevant engineering job, and how that has helped me communicate with barely-literate, scientifically-minded people) and about the student magazine I edited at uni. Gotta start somewhere!
Set my hourly rate
^^ What?? This really threw me – I’d just signed up and was expected to state how much my time was worth. I had no idea and agonised for a while, but in the end just went cheap (I’m not doing it for the money after all) for now and for each job you agree on a rate anyway.
Took a creative writing test! Upwork has a ton of tests to cover all the skills you can list on the site. The prospect terrified me a bit but it looks good to verify your skills so I went for it. This test was 40 questions, multiple choice, about publishing, plot, characters etc. I did pretty well thankfully (in the top 10%) so that will look good.
Applied for some jobs! Within a few hours of joining the site I was invited to apply for a job writing short stories about green tea and Korea… neither are areas I know much about, but I explained that in my application (why not, hey?) as well as my passion for writing, my low rates and my willingness to research green tea and Korea and make a decent hash of it! We’ll see where that goes. I’ve applied to three others as well (applying costs credits called Connects of which you have a limited number each month) to which I wasn’t invited (being invited means a free application!) which are proofreading, a rewriting of a novel into natural English (from a non-native author) and short story writing for an online magazine startup. Not heard back yet, but I’ll be sure to check in here when I do, and I’d love to hear from any of you who have tried similar endeavours!