Saturday, February 7, 2009

10 Quick Thoughts on Freelance Writing

10 Quick Thoughts on Freelance Writing

1) Be prepared for a rollercoaster ride. Even if you're talented, the work sometimes comes in great waves, then dries up suddenly.

2) You must be disciplined. If you can't force yourself to put in at least five hours a day either writing or researching, or pitching ideas to editors, or interviewing people, or studying the craft and business, forget about it.

3) While you're doing one story, you must be securing the next one. You have to continue hustling and keeping the stories and money coming in.

4) You must get paid by the word (not the story), fight for more money per word (you should never settle for less than 50 cents unless you have little or no talent or little or no experience), and pose to do stories for as many words as possible.

5) You must get chummy with editors. Establish a network of them that you can call on the phone easily. Editors control your fate.

6) Develop an expertise, but also try to be versatile at the same time.

7) Shoot high (or as high as your experience allows at the time). Don't keep trying to publish stories in obscure places that pay little or no money. Go for things that even your friends outside of writing know. No matter what, keep moving higher and higher, stretching your writing talent more and more.

8) Don't be discouraged. Everybody gets rejected. Just keep moving forward, leaping over all obstables to the next editor or publication.

9) Brainstorm ideas constantly. Your lifeblood is great ideas. You should always have more great ideas than the competition.

10) Don't be another begging freelancer, but a contract freelancer. Big difference. A contract freelancer is the cream of the crop and, pound for pound, gets paid way higher than staff writers. Once you've published five stories with one publication and have been met with rave reviews by the editors, you should press for a contributing contract deal. That'll separate you from the rest of the starving freelancer pack.

Good luck!

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twohandshelping said...

This is why you are and always will be my hero! Keep these awesome tips coming!!

Rhi Bowman said...

I agree. I've learned so much from you and your forums, Mike. And, anytime I am down-- like during one of the dry spells mentioned in #1-- I remember your comment about persistence. That's why I've declared 2009 the Year of Persistence. :)