Getting enough work and keeping it
Once you get the first job or two, give preference to the ones who print your work in a timely manner and pay you quickly. All of mine pay within a week of publication and the publication dates are very quick after I submit pieces.
Keep going to the papers in your area until you have as much work as you want or as much as you can handle. Keep an eye out for other publications and contact them if you notice an advertisement for freelancers or even staff positions, or even if you just think you would be a good fit for the publication.
It took me about seven months to get enough work. It took me several more months to let all the other side work I was doing go and just concentrate on my writing. Now I'm four and a half years into freelancing and I can pick and choose what I want to do.
After you get enough work you want to concentrate on keeping it! I am very careful to remain very valuable to my editors. I take great pains to submit very well-written pieces in a timely manner. During my years as an editor at a newspaper office, I greatly appreciated well-written pieces that didn't require a great deal of editing. I always cringed at the pieces that just needed to be completely rewritten. The last thing I want is to make my editors cringe because that means I'll get fewer opportunities to write and they won't call me when they need something done quickly. As it is, they know they will have to edit my pieces very little, if any at all. They know they can assign me anything or call me at the last minute and they'll get a great piece ready to print.