Freelance Writing in the UK?
July 13, 2011 3:02 AM   Subscribe

Any tips on starting a freelance writing career in the UK?

Hi. I'm an American moving to the UK. Yay! I want to do some freelance writing (I'll have a work permit, btw), and I am not sure of the market at all. I've done a little freelance work in the US, but I'm really just starting out. Does anyone have any tips or resources that would make the transition easier? Or specific "how to" advice?

And bonus -- is this a crazy idea or do I need a real job? I have other professional skills that I enjoy, but because we might be in the UK for only a year, I love writing, and I don't need a ton of money, freelance writing sounds perfect.

Any tips/advice would be *extremely* helpful! Thanks!
posted by caoimhe to Work & Money (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Could you give us any more details? Where are you planning on living, and what type of writing do you do?
posted by sleepy boy at 3:37 AM on July 13, 2011

American and British writing styles can be very different, read the types of publication you are targetting and try to fit in.
posted by epo at 3:46 AM on July 13, 2011

Sorry -- more details requested! I'll be living in commutable distance to London. As for freelancing, I'm so new to it that I don't have a specialty yet -- done newspaper style articles, short pieces in travel magazines, but no big features yet. I'm open to doing more technical writing to pay the bills, but don't have a clue how to go about that.
posted by caoimhe at 3:52 AM on July 13, 2011

As someone who hires freelance writers, my experience is that it’s crowded market at the moment. You may find it tough.
I hire people based on recommendations or expertise. So my advice would be to work both of these angles. Use any contacts you have to build relationships with people who might hire you. At the same time, figure out what your expertise is: What do you bring that another writer doesn’t?
One suggestion – consider using your American contacts and writing columns for US publications about your experiences here in England.
Finally, to get jobs here you must write English English – check your grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.
posted by sleepy boy at 4:37 AM on July 13, 2011

Sign up to It's a forum for UK freelance writers and has lots of helpful info.
It's hard getting freelance writing work at the moment. I'd take sleepy boy's advice and try to sell your experience in the UK to US magazines.
Good luck!
posted by alexthepink at 8:26 AM on July 13, 2011

I'm a member of mediawomenuk, a kind of forum and support group for female writers (I'm assuming you're female because of your username, apologies if not!). Job leads aren't posted there that often, but I got a major job through it a few months ago that's so far brought in about £4000. I'd also recommend sites like Guru although they're worldwide and not UK-specific. If you're confident you can write in UK style/spelling, I wouldn't even mention you're American; I don't mention I'm Irish and therefore write in UK style when I'm pitching US publications, I just write in US style in my pitch and later in the piece.

There are plenty of courses running in London re freelancing and niche markets such as travel writing - most of them are one or two days so not too expensive.

Good luck - it can be a hard market to break into but I wouldn't do anything else now.
posted by mudkicker at 4:18 AM on July 14, 2011

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