This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to colleagues, clients or customers, use the Reprints tool at the top of any article or visit: www.mbreprints.com.
Growing Your Writing Career By Becoming A Specialist
How narrowing your focus may broaden your writing opportunities
By Amanda Layman Low -
November 21, 2013
When I quit my day job four years ago to become a freelance writer, I aggressively threw myself into the digital and physical world. I signed on to Elance, Examiner and content farms. I tacked up flyers around town advertising my services, called local businesses asking if they needed my help and proselytized former professors and friends about the array of writing and editing I could do. On the side, I did commissioned artwork and opened an Etsy store to sell my existing paintings.
Despite this lofty expenditure of energy, I had little success. In three months I made $100 on Elance, $30 on Examiner and averaged $30 a day writing content-farm material. In my desperate attempt to do everything, I did nothing -- and earned nothing.
Then I honed in, focusing on copyediting, parenting essays and service pieces on writing. Ironically, narrowing my focus broadened my opportunities. Though the sporadic nature and pay of our work as freelancers makes it tempting to cultivate every random idea, here's my advice: don't. Specialize first, and branch out within your specialty. Here's how.
The How to Pitch series is worth its weight in gold. In just the first month I'd already benefited enough to consider the cost of joining well worth it. -- Gaen Murphree
AvantGuild benefits give you access to:
Premium content, including our How to Pitch Guides, an indispensable tool for freelance writers. view sample >
Savings of up to $35 per class on mediabistro.com courses and seminars.
Insurance discounts for freelancers and small businesses, including medical, dental, auto and home.
Lots of other professional discounts, including ZipCar (a $50 value) and your choice of magazine subscriptions (a $10 value).