Editor’s Note: Since the theme this month is Money, for the next 4 Fridays we will be featuring a money-making or money-saving idea. This one is for all of those frustrated writers out there looking for a paid gig and comes courtesy of Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer’s Coach.
If you dream of leaving the 9-5 rat race to become a full time freelance writer, you need to think BIG but start small. You won’t break in with the best paying markets, or land assignments or contracts with major publishers, overnight. Still, it helps to set your sights on landing those kinds of gigs eventually, so here are some SMALL ways to get started as you think BIG.
1. Think local markets before you think BIG, glossy national and international markets. Get some writing experience and hone your skills by writing for the smaller, local publications. Many of these are not paying markets. Still, you’ll gain valuable experience working with editors, and you’ll acquire some much needed publishing credits as well.
2. Develop a specific area of focus for your writing. Rather than be a generalist, who writes about anything and everything, strive to become a noted expert in just one or two areas of writing. If you love to travel, focus on travel writing, for example. If you love to write press releases, focus on writing promotional materials for local small businesses. Eventually, you can branch out a bit and write these kinds of materials for larger, better paying markets and companies.
3. If you want to write for magazines, stick to just three or four publications until you start to break in with each of them. Too often, new freelance writers send out one or two queries to a particular publication and, when those queries are rejected, they move on to other markets. Generally, it can take up to nine queries to a publication before you break in and have a query accepted. So once you’ve submitted one query to a particular magazine, have eight more alternative article or story ideas ready for this same publication. Don’t submit them all at once. But, as one idea is rejected, quickly fire off another one to that same publication, to that same editor. Eventually, the editor will begin to take notice that you’re serious about writing for him/her.
If you start small like this, writing for local publications, developing one or two areas of focus, and sending out queries consistently to a select few publications, it won’t be long before your freelance writing career turns into a booming business that’s bigger than you probably ever imagined!
For more articles, tips, and other resources to get your freelance career started or taken to the next level, subscribe to Build Your Business Write, a free, twice a week newsletter from the Working Writers Coach, Suzanne Lieurance, at www.workingwriterscoach.com.