Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Secrets to scoring a freelance job

Freelance Writing at About.com has some insider secrets for getting freelance writing jobs!

These tips are for getting jobs over the Internet, something at which I have a zero percent success rate although following these tips may get a writer a 20 percent success rate.

My failure at it is due most likely to me not being very dedicated to the process; I've found so much more success in finding print work locally. I tried to do this again this summer and got a few bites but nothing that panned out to an actual gig.

Hopefully these tips will help improve my success rate the next time I decide to try this.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Writing goals for this past year

The end of the year is quickly approaching! How are you writers doing with reaching your goals for this year?

I did okay with mine since I set a very simple goal -- just to get some writing done -- but several things have happened and I am not very happy with my overall performance this year. Most of these things are pretty much beyond my control, though.

To get the year started off, two jobs were eliminated. One was a newspaper featuring writing freelance job that I'd had since I started freelancing at the beginning of 2004. The distance was the major factor in the decision I made to stop doing this feature. The other job that was eliminated was a newsletter position that was cut because of budgeting. Caught up in the middle of that was an annual report that I produced and was paid half of the proposed price.

I acquired three new newsletter production positions during the year; two are going wonderfully and another is dragging as I wait (going on almost a month now) to be notified of corrections to the first draft. I hope to hear from them soon.

Another couple of issues I've experienced with another nonprofit organization mainly concern communication and billing; because of that and a few issues with the other organizations I work with I've changed my policy on billing (will now be sending the invoice with the first draft instead of waiting until the final draft is completed to bill) and have vamped up my communication.

I wrote quite a bit for a newspaper during one part of the year then got busy with newsletters; this never turns out to be a good thing since the newspaper publishes and pays quickly, and has excellent exposure.

I have a monthly assignment with yet another newspaper; this has been going wonderfully. I've met some wonderful people this year and have written some very good pieces.

My issues this year haven't been with writing itself, but the business of it and little things like travel, billing, etc. I hope that next year goes smoother in those areas.

I hope that you have had a great year with freelance writing and that another wonderful year awaits you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Conducting interviews

Conducting interviews is a big part of writing, especially when producing local pieces like I do. This is something I've been doing for 20 years, but brushing up on some tips is always a good idea.

Freelance Writing at About.com's newsletter recently talked about how to conduct an interview. Take a look!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Writers Weekly ezine

Writers Weekly dubs itself the highest circulating freelance writing ezine in the world!

It has lots of good topics, list of paying markets, etc. each week. Have them emailed to you every Wednesday or read it on the site.

There is also a forum on the site. I've just joined but I have high hopes for it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How to survive while writing with the kids around

Write from Home has a great piece on juggling your kids and writing, something I struggle with on a daily basis. I imagine all work-at-home writer moms have this problem, so check it out:

How to Survive While Writing with Young Children in the Home

It gives some great tips, like getting up earlier than your kids, something that does not work for me on a regular basis, or staying up later than the children, which I usually do. (I have found lately that I make kind of a mess when I write at night, but if I can just get it written I can fix it in the morning!)

The piece recommends movies and arts and crafts, both of which are very popular at my house.

All of my kids but one are old enough to play outside without me, and they are also old enough to watch the little one!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Top 10 writing blogs of the year

The Top 10 writing blogs of 2008 were recently announced!

Writing Blog Winners

The top 10 were narrowed down from a list of 37 excellent blogs:

Writing Blog Finalists

A few of them are some of my favorites!

Poewar Writers Resource Center

Freelance Writing Jobs

Freelance Writing at About.com

There are some really great blogs in the finalist list that I'm adding to my regular reading list.

The top 10 blogs came from over 300 writing blog nominations.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Launching your writing career, step by step

Writing World's Getting Started: A Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Writing Career has informative articles on every single step of getting your freelance writing career off the ground. Topics include:

Begin at the Beginning

Finding Ideas

Finding Markets

Queries and Submissions

Conducting Research and Interviews

Crafting Your Article

Rejection, Writer's Block, and Other Hazards of the Writing Life

Time Management


Should You Quit Your Day Job?

Each topic has a long list of helpful articles, so check it out!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Things that can go wrong for a freelance writer

Writing World has a great piece on things that can go wrong for a freelance writer and, thankfully, what to do about them!

From a publication folding before paying you for your work to the subject of a piece you wrote bowing out of business to inadvertently signing away your rights, this piece has excellent advice on what to do about several potentially disastrous events in the career of a freelance writer.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Writing World newsletter

There are tons of topics on the newsletter from Writing World.

The Writing World newsletter is e-mailed monthly, on the first Thursday of the month. You can also read it at the website.

From how to decode Internet writing job ads to why newspaper writers need blogs, the topics are seemingly endless. I'm still exploring the site and will share some highlights with you in the days to come.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How to find high-paying freelance writing jobs

Freelance Writing Jobs has an excellent piece on how to find high-paying freelance writing jobs on the Internet.

It encourages writers to not accept those low paying gigs that are all over the Internet. There are a lot of them, or at least I've seen quite a few in my occasional searches for freelance writing jobs on the Internet. That's what led me to my belief that the print market is much better-paying, but perhaps I just haven't run across one of those good high-paying jobs this piece is talking about.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Coffee break for writers!

Coffee Break for Writers is a monthly ezine for writers, published on the 7th of each month. You can read it on the site with it's great coffee theme and wide variety of topics covered.

You can also subscribe to get a notification in your email when the new one comes up.

Subscribers also get first notification when submissions are needed for Coffee Break for Writers. The subscribers have first chance at the call for new article topics, before they're announced on the writer's guidelines page. Calls for articles on this page go up a week after subscribers are notified.

They do need some submissions now so while you are there check out the writer's guidelines.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A wonderful writer's resource center!

The Poewar.com Writer's Resource Center has just about everything you need to know about writing and then some.

There is a great freelancing articles section, a very nicely categorized jobs listing section, and another jobs section with listings by state!

There is a lot more that I'm still checking out. I found this blog with the new blog search tool on the Google toolbar. I just put in "writing" in the search box and this great blog turned up.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Why write for newspapers?

There are a lot of great reasons to consider writing for newspapers in this Writing World piece: Why Write for Newspapers?

Turns out there are a number of reasons, including the fact that there are quite a few newspapers being published, and quite frequently at that. More papers coming out more often mean more writing opportunities for us freelance writers.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Freelance opportunities abound at newspapers

Looks like someone at Writing World agrees with me (and my tutorial of the past several days) about freelancing for newspapers!

Check out this great piece on why you should try freelancing for newspapers: Newspapers: A Great Source of Freelance Opportunities

If you missed my tutorial series, "Getting Started in the Print Market," it started on Sept. 9 with a short tutorial; the expanded series started on Sept. 15 and concluded on Oct. 4.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Getting started in the print market: Tutorial conclusion

Hopefully the "Getting Started in the Print Market" tutorial that this blog has been running the past couple of weeks has been helpful for you.

Let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of further assistance to you. I am always happy to help or give free advice.

Write on!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Getting started in the print market: Tutorial part 9

Don't brush the Internet off

The final part of getting started in freelance writing is making good use of the Internet. Yes, I know I said I don't advocate the Internet as a direct source of jobs (that's just because my experience with it hasn't been productive and I really think there is some newspaper ink in my blood) but don't ignore the Internet! It's a great source for information, ideas, and networking with fellow writers and even fellow work-at-home writer moms like me!

I have found some websites that have a lot of good information on them. I have compiled a list of helpful websites. My favorite is the message board at www.mommyjobs.com, and then most of the writing sites in my list have message boards as well.

Be sure to take a look at my writing website since it might have some ideas for you. After looking at that you'll see that almost everything I write is human interest. I wrote straight news for so many years and loved it, but this I like even better.

I don't use my writing website as a way to gain opportunities but many writers do advertise their services over the Internet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Getting started in the print market: Tutorial part 8

Work those referrals

Once you get established as a freelance writer it is pretty likely that you'll get more opportunities for work through existing clients. I’ve gotten some of my other work through those first jobs I got. In fact, most of the clients I've had over the past four and a half years have been people I contacted for a story and they later called me to inquire about my interest in freelancing for them.

These clients are wonderful for several reasons -- they come to you, first of all (and best of all) and they are well familiar with your work. You have already sold yourself to them without even meaning to, and they want you! Consider all requests seriously and don't brush any aside, even if you think you already have enough work. They may be able to make it worth your while, or even worth it for you to let something else go.

Follow up on those referrals!