Wandering In The Dark

Q: I am 37 years old and trying to enter the world of freelance writing. I have no writing experience at all but love the written word. I am working, but not as a full-time writer because of the pressure and deadlines involved. I was looking to do it on the side. My ultimate goal is to publish a children’s book. Please advise.
Judith, Via the Internet

A: To break into the world of freelance writing, you need to have written. It sounds like a difficult task considering you have no experience, but it can be done. First, look at some publications that interest you, such as those that cater to children’s short stories. Books like the 2006 Writer’s Market by Kathryn S. Brogan et al. (Writer’s Digest Books; $29.99) will help you identify the appropriate titles to send some ideas and samples of your work. If you don’t have samples, start writing. The only way to achieve your goal of becoming a writer is to write. As for dealing with the pressure of deadlines, get used to it, it’s a part of the business.

In order to get your assignments done in a timely fashion, break the tasks down into smaller parts so you won’t be facing one large, looming project. In addition, read Starting Your Career as a Freelance Writer by Moira Anderson Allen (Allworth Press; $19.95) for tips on how to break into the freelance writing market. Once you have established yourself in the industry, begin working on your book idea and shop it around to publishers, just as you did with your writing samples.