Friday, December 7, 2007

Where To Start?

I told myself this weekend that I was going to start posting here at least once a day, but well, life and work kind of got in the way. It's Friday morning, and I should be diving into the stack of assignments on my desk, but I decided to add in a little more procrastination with my morning coffee.

I recently read a post over at Deb Ng's blog about how to break into freelancing. Wouldn't we all like to know? It's amazing how much the freelance writing industry has changed since I first jumped into it a little over two years ago. Or maybe I was just clueless and it's taken me this long to start putting the pieces together. Regardless, here are the first steps I think one needs to take before taking the plunge, so to speak:

1. Find your niche or specialty. Is there a particular topic or subject you want to write about? Does your educational or work background give you experience to help you land jobs? For me, I started out writing about parenting topics because my daughter was a toddler at the time. But I also had a background in newspaper journalism and that helped me land a position where I write about dining, traffic, profiles, and other news related events for the local newspaper. But it didn't all just fall into my lap. I had to turn in solid work, purchase a revised copy of The Associated Press Stylebook, and find good stories on my own at times. It helped me build up a reputation and it's required a consistent amount of dedication. Now I have have plenty of clips to back up my specialties whenever I apply for jobs.

2. A lot of writers are interested in blogging these days, including me. It's fun, for the most part, and it doesn't require a whole lot of time unless you're contributing to several different blogs. But before the jump into the arena, do your research. What kinds of blogs are out there? Are there any blogging jobs with that deal with your writing specialties? What are the pay ranges? But most of all, remember that the competition out there is tough and you can't expect to land the first blog gig you apply for. It might be worth a shot to create your own blog to help you build writing samples and help show you have expertise in that topic, so that you can include it in your resume and cover letters.

3.Don't get discouraged if you apply to three or four jobs or submit a few queries and don't get any bites. Like I said before, competition is fierce. I recently heard back from a few well-paying blogging jobs I applied for and found out I was number two or three on the final list. It was disheartening at first to realize I had come so close to being hired, but it's only given me more motivation to work harder. I only really started going after jobs about six months ago, and since then my workload has exploded. But I've put in the time, and other writers should expect to go through the same thing. Most of the time, writing success doesn't happen overnight.

That's all I have to say for now, but I have several new ideas for posts so I'll be back this weekend. If you have any recent success stories, I'd love to hear about them! I think it's so important to have a supportive community of writers to share successes, because there are too many snarky ones out there who can bring you down. Whatever you do, do not let one of these other writers discourage you. You could be talking virtually to a fifteen-year old teenager who knows nothing about writing and not even know it in this day and age of e-mail and instant messaging. So keep on, and persevere!

1 comment:

Amanda Nicole said...

I was so glad to read your last bit of reassurance, Renee. I used to frequent a certain writer's blogs, and ask her questions and try to participate on her main forum. She is a terrific source of information and experience, but her "snarky" attitude has really gotten in the way of my appreciation of her.

Now Deb's blog is the one I check first thing in the morning and most frequently throughout the day. There are lots of blogs for writers out there, but I think you have to find a handful that are right for you. I guess I went a bit off topic there, didn't I?