Freelance writing \u2013 possibly two of the most alluring words found in the English language. Freelance writers in books and movies are often portrayed as exciting, glamorous individuals who live a life of excitement and danger, but, in reality, freelance writing requires a lot of motivation, hard work, patience, and persistence.\r\n\r\nA freelance writer is a self-employed writer who often writes for several different publications at once. There is no regular income, holiday pay or sick leave, but the benefits of the job itself are invaluable. The freedom of being able to create your own schedule, work for a variety of clients, and to choose where you want your office to be for the day \u2013 whether that be your lounge room, a caf\u00e9, or library \u2013 are all what makes being a freelance writer one of the more appealing jobs of today.\r\n\r\nHow to start out as a freelance writer... Image Credit: Stefan via Flickr Creative Commons.\r\nStarting Out\r\nStarting out in the writing industry and not knowing who to write for, who to talk to, or what to expect can be daunting for anyone. It\u2019s easy enough to imagine yourself as a successful writer, but actually forming a plan to arrive at that point is a completely different story.\r\n\r\nAs a student studying Professional Writing and Editing, I was surrounded by teachers and students who were passionate about the industry and ready to offer me, and others who needed it, the best possible advice they could. I believe, and have found, that it\u2019s important to build relationships with other writers, especially those who inspire and motivate you.\r\n\r\nStarting out, you can\u2019t expect to gain a job that will pay you straight away without experience. Search for local, not-for-profit organisations and alternative presses to volunteer your time to, as many of these organisations are very open about accepting new writers. Even if the articles you\u2019re writing aren\u2019t what you\u2019re necessarily interested in, the more experience\/contacts you generate, the easier it will be. Don\u2019t despise humble beginnings or think you\u2019re \u201cabove\u201d writing for a certain organisation or about a certain topic.\r\n\r\nDirector of Writers Victoria, Kate Larsen, says it\u2019s vital to learn and perfect your craft:\r\nBuild your skills, do a writing course, write every day. Become the best writer you can be. There are as many freelance opportunities out there as there are other freelance writers trying to get them.\u201d\r\nJust get out there, write as much as possible and about anything. Attend local writer\u2019s events, festivals, support groups \u2013 whether that be online or in person.\r\nPresenting Yourself Professionally\r\nKnow that the industry is constantly changing. It\u2019s important that freelance writers \u2013 and writers in general \u2013 have an online presence. Create a website to gain coverage and build your portfolio, and become familiar with sites such as Wordpress and LinkedIn. You don\u2019t need anything fancy, just a basic site that demonstrates your writing ability, includes your contact information, and, as your career progresses, testimonials from clients. Freelance writers who have no online portfolio can come across as amateurs \u2013 especially if they are trying to write for online markets.\r\n\r\nMeeting deadlines is vital if you want to earn yourself a professional, reliable reputation. Current editors or employers aren\u2019t going to give you a great reference or testimonial if you\u2019re lazy or miss your deadlines.\r\n\r\nKate Larsen says that the most important skill a freelance writer can have is the ability to work on several projects simultaneously:\r\nA freelance writer needs to be able to manage several projects at the same time, each with different deadlines and requirements. Multi-tasking is the name of the game.\u201d\r\nPitching to Editors\r\nKeep your pitches to Editors brief - they are busy people and just want the kernel of your idea so they can make a judgement of whether it's right for their publication or not. Tailor exactly to their publication. The editor of Frankie once said if she had to scroll down through an email she wouldn't\u00a0keep reading, so make sure it fits the screen! Spoon feed your pitch to the editor so they don't even have to think about pros and cons of publishing you.\r\nCan I make a decent living from being a freelance writer?\r\nAs a freelance writer, there will be times when you have plenty of work and times when you don\u2019t have any. There is no way to guarantee that you will be able to secure a consistent income in the industry. Be prepared to have a day job and accept that your writing is a hobby until people are calling you for an interview \u2013 then you can retire from your real job. Successful freelance writers who earn a decent living are constantly on the lookout for well-paying, reliable clients, whether they be print or online publications or companies looking for promotional material.\r\n\r\nThe aim is patience and perseverance. Do it for love, not for money, and show potential employers how passionate you are.\r\n\r\nBe clear about payment, and send the invoice with the article. Some freelance writers ask for a pre-payment so they know for sure they will be paid for their work. Find out up-front how much you are being paid, as well as the method of payment.\r\nMore and more, writers are being asked to write for free or for \u2018exposure\u2019,\u201d explains Kate Larsen. \u201cWhile you may choose to write for free early on in your career to help build up your portfolio, it's important to remember that your work has value. Follow @paythewriters on Twitter to join the conversation about writers being adequately paid.\u201d\r\nResources\r\n\r\n\tLinkedIn writer groups. Click here for writer\u2019s offering advice and support for free on LinkedIn.\r\n\tThe Melbourne Emerging Writer\u2019s Festival\u00a0is a "not-for-profit organisation whose foundations are built on supporting emerging writers".\r\n\tVisit the Writer\u2019s Victoria website \u2013 a fantastic website for emerging and established writers.\r\n\tExpress Media is great\u00a0for young writers. Check out their website here.