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OTHER ITA SITES:
Breaking In To The Freelance Writing Market
You have dreamed of the freedom of being a freelance writer forsome time. Being able to set your own schedule, choose your ownjobs and write the material that you want to write - yes, itcertainly has its perks. I love being a freelancer writer, and Iwouldn't change it for anything in the world. Well, I wouldchange some things, but, I digress.
As I search the freelance writing job boards for someone to helpme pick up some extra writing assignments, I notice that thereare a lot of novice freelance writers trying to break into themarket. I was there once, and I didn't like it much. I starteddoing this back when the whole search engine article craze andthe e-books weren't around - to be a freelance writer you had todo it the old fashioned way - query. This wasn't so bad, and Ilearned a tremendous amount along the way. And still, if youwant to freelance write for most major (and minor) publications,they still require a query letter. But, we aren't going to getinto that yet.
One of the biggest roadblocks facing a freelance writer who istrying to break into the market are credits - or as many inthe business would call them - bylines. Many of you out therejust wanted to be a freelance writer but you have never beenpublished anywhere except your community newsletter. Well, funnyas it sounds, that's not a bad place to start. And that is whereI come to my first tip: To get a start, write for anyone. Ofcourse, exercise good judgement in deciding what you write, butif you are serious about being a freelance writer, then italmost doesn't really matter.
You can write for your church newsletter, the high school paper,even a well written letter to the editor of your local newspaperis a good clip to keep. When clips are hard to come by as anovice freelance writer, then each one of these counts. Not onlythat, but each time you write, you learn and you get better atyour craft.
As an example, I have been writing since I was 16-years-old. Ihave written short stories, plays, essays, and even couple ofnotebooks full of poetry. I never really tried to submit any ofit anywhere - always the fear of rejection to stop me (everyfreelance writer has to deal with it, so get used to it early).But, I learned how to write, and I kept on writing more. When Igot my first job as a reporter for a local newspaper, I did itusing my short stories and a couple of editorial pieces as myportfolio, along with one magazine credit. I had no degree and Ihad no post-secondary education whatsoever to fall back on. Iwas as green as they get. But, I got the job. I had clips thatproved to publisher and editor that I could produce qualitywriting.
I eventually made it to editor of that paper, and penned over1,000 articles in two years. Now I have all of the clips that Iwant. Not only that, but it was the springboard for me to makethe successful jump into freelance writing. As far as freelancewriting goes, I would have to say that I took the long way. But,I wouldn't change anything. Earlier I eluded to the freelancewriting market for search engine articles, e-books, and thereare also web articles. In my freelance experience, these typesof assignments are two things: 1.) A dime a dozen, and 2.) Notfrom major publications. You can find hundreds of people lookingfor freelance writers, just because they can't write thesearticles or e-books themselves. So, how can these assignmentshelp you break into the freelance writing market? Again it boilsdown to credits. Sure, once you write one e-book you aren'tgoing to turn many heads. But, once you have written over 50e-books like I have, people start to notice that you are acapable freelance writer. The point here is, you can build yourportfolio and you skills by doing work that isn't necessarilyglamorous. The only downside is that these jobs typically don'tpay great wages.
For a freelance writer to make it today is a tad easier than itwas a decade ago. Anyone who does keyword assignments, web copy,and short e-books calls themselves a freelance writer. And thatis perfectly OK - it gets you the freelance writing credits youneed to land the bigger assignments. Hopefully, they endeavor tobe more than a keyword lackey for the rest of their lives,though. And most good freelance writers will rise above that intheir career. Keep writing!
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