Monday, July 9, 2007

Realistic Freelance Writing Career Advice

I apologize for taking the weekend off. Once again, I was internet-free for two days. I actually accomplished a fair amount, writing two articles that had been languishing in my “To Do” file and reworking the header image for this blog. Unfortunately, I couldn’t e-mail them to the place where I have access so it will have to wait until I get a CD on which to burn them or we figure out what’s going on with our connection.

I discovered a blog entry at Writing World about building your freelance portfolio while visiting their freelance job listings. The point that really caught my interest was submitting unpublished samples of your work. I hadn’t thought of doing so. If the employer’s concern is that you know the subject and can craft an article then why wouldn’t you submit something that shows these things to be true? A published piece has more cachet, yes, but you have to make do with what you have.

For those of us who have full-time jobs and busy family lives, taking on an internship or an unpaid writing job in not feasible. Writing for the web can provide a decent starting place to showcase your work. It gives somewhere public to point prospective employers and to ask other writers for feedback. You won’t get rich (or close to it) publishing articles at Helium or Associated Content but at least you can get them out there.

Articles bring in more money at places like constantcontent but only if someone is willing to pay for them. It’s a good entrĂ©e to the market, however, as the folks buying articles there don’t seem to be specifically looking for experienced freelance writers. The market there seems to be more concerned with subject, skill, and SEO than with prior experience.

Then again, you might want to take a read through their bubble-bursting article about starting your freelance career. It’s a good reminder that the Cinderella stories of people getting steady, well-paying work from a job or two on sites like elance and are the exception rather than the rule.

This post also helps you remember that being a good writing isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll get paid to do it, witness American Idol and other try-out shows on television these days. I wonder if they’d do a reality show for freelance writer tryouts. Can’t you picture it? The exciting premier, where hundreds of people are pounding away at keyboards while the judges read completed 500-word submissions aloud…zzzz. Sorry, I dozed off for a moment just thinking about it.




I totally agree. Freelance writing should only be a part-time job.



I don't think that applies to everyone, but for those of use who write almost exclusively for the joy of doing so, yes. The business side of the job is better left to those who enjoy that as well!