If you work as a freelance writer, you’ll inevitably have questions about the industry. Finding answers quickly is vital, as searching endless Web pages for the solution to your problem wastes valuable time that could be spent writing, pitching, and perfecting your craft.
Cue the helpful folks at FreelanceSwitch.com, who understand your predicament. “To help all you freelancers out there we have compiled a gigantic list of resources, categorized up for your benefit,” the site proclaims. And it delivers the goods: With sections ranging from “Invoicing” and “Business Tools” to “Timing” and “Project Management,” the extensive list provides 101 links where you can find the answers you need quickly and efficiently.
“Stop waiting for the world to nudge you along.” Award-winning novelist Nicole Bokat learned this basic writing lesson through years of painstaking experience, and now she shares it with her new online novel revision class.
“No agent, editor, or publisher will come knocking at your door. You need to develop a self-imposed discipline that becomes a lifelong habit, so that you write regardless of your mood, lack of inspiration, or any of the obstacles that life inevitably will put in your way.”
Novel Writing: Revision with Nicole Bokat begins February 26.
Mediabistro editorial director Dorian Benkoil comments on the false division between “new” and “old” media.
Either, Or? It’s Neither
I hope this bodes well for the rest of my freelance life, but shortly after I sent out the message that I was in need of employment, several people passed opportunities they knew of on to me. I was lucky, and grateful, and said “Sure, I’m interested!” right away. I don’t know if it was the excitement, the desperation, the anxiety to please or the fact that it was the holidays and that school is out and things feel less busy than usual. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized: I’ve promised my agent a new draft of my novel in January, and my thesis for graduate school is due in March. (Plus, I have a day job.) I was going to end up spread more thinly than ever before.
It felt lame to have to email a few people and say, “You know, thank you so much for the advice and the tip but I have some serious commitments early in this year that have recently arisen. I’m sorry for taking up your time but I think I probably can’t work on this until the summer. I don’t want to disservice a client by not being able to give him/her my full attention. I hope I can follow up with you in June.”
The recipients of said emails might think “Whatever, flake” and never want to work with me again. Which I can live with. But I DO think it’s better for them–and me–if I don’t take on a project and immediately it’s a huge burden. Point is, I can sleep better at night now, knowing I have more time to focus and that I–professionally I hope–dodged the bullet of having to fake it at something that would come more easily if I could really concentrate on it.
So that’s it for me, folks. Happy New Year!
Editing this blog was definitely more than freelance work for me; it was a part-time job. So when I learned that the blog will be manned in-house next year, the first thing I did was email all my friends who work in media as writer, editors, reporters, freelancers, etc. Just a short note letting them know that I would have some free time and if anybody knew of any projects or openings, to keep me in mind (which is pretty much the email verbatim.) I tried to keep it only to colleagues who I know at least slightly more than professionally, so it didn’t come off as being too desperate, and I kept it short and professional, with a few details about the job I previously held.
And guess what: within a few days I had recouped some of the work. So, if you find that you’ve lost a major client, be proactive about it and let people know, because the perfect gig might be available for you but you wouldn’t know unless people knew you were available for it.
The message boards at Absolute Write are alive with chitter chatter on topics important to many freelancers. Here are a few:
Freelancing – A Lonely Life?
“Coffee with magazine editor: I pick up the tab, right? Or is that a type of ‘bribery’ and seen as inappropriate?”
Tips for creating a writer’s website
And a whole ton on Writing for Trade Magazines and Custom Publications.
Wnat to find a whole lot more sorted by category and popularity? Go here.
Two good questions over at Ask Allison:
How do you balance working on your novel with freelancing? I’m having trouble carving out time for fiction writing–it seems that paying work always gets the priority, and I can’t figure out how to change that.
My question is, what is the best way to pitch a personal essay? I was told one sentence was enough to introduce the essay (something catchy, of course) and then just include the essay in the email. Would that suffice, or should there be more of a real pitch, something more comprehensive to introduce (and sell) the personal essay?
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