I belong to several writing groups on Linked-in and find it to be a good place to network, learn from other writers, and hone my skills.
Recently, a new freelancer asked how to get started in freelancing. There were a lot of good answers, and here’s mine.
Read a lot of the writing that is being done in the market you're interested in working with, so you get a feel for the tone they want.
Apply online for some contract work with a good resume that accents your knowledge, skills and abilities. Create a portfolio of writing, even if you have to write it for yourself to show your skills and style. Check the Linked-in job postings.
Especially in the technical field, there is a tendency to want industry experience and knowledge more than writing experience, but you do have to be a good writer, have good grammar, and be able to proof your work.
Create a nice clean, easy to navigate website with a domain name and content and keywords that are searchable in your type of clientele. For instance, Sites and Writes is my newest one for freelancing.
Blog all the time and find new sites to post your work, especially industry publications.
Center yourself in what you really want to do and visualize it happening.
Combine all these practices, and there's a lot of work out there to be found. It should be a writer's market right now with all the ever changing content required for the web, so accept that it can really happen and act as if it already has.
Onward and upward.
(I've been a freelancer since 1993, and I haven't starved to death yet.) Once you get a gig, give them more than they expect, and they'll come back and recommend you.