Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting In....

Continuing our conversation from Tuesday, how do you break in to freelance writing when you don't have clips? Your main focus should be looking for publications that welcome new writers. Often these publications will state that in their writer's guidelines.

Look locally. There are usually several local publications that will work with new writers. The idea is to build clips, good clips, that will enable you to keep taking steps to building a solid writing resume.

Beside the local publications, obviously there are web publications that are also open to writers. Start by a simple search of sites on a subject you are interested in or have some background in. I caution against pitching the big sites right out of the box.

Another good place to get information is Writer's Market.Com is the bomb! It has up-to-date listings, industry information, and a great search engine. Publications you have never even thought of are available and with the current information you should find plenty of publications to pitch.

Now hold you're excited horses, don't just fire off an email to the editor asking for an assignment. You have to work on your pitch, your query letter. You also need to assess your skills and by the way have you even research freelance writing yet? There's a lot to do before you hustle off to find an assignment.

Looking at what's available out there for new writers is to get you in the mindset of what your interests are and where you see yourself as a writer.

Monday we will talk about researching this freelance writing game and go over some common industry lingo. Wednesday I want to start tackling the art of the query letter. So have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's Wednesday and I'm confused...

Okay so sue me. I posted Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday. I'm so confused people! Life of a freelancer, I only know dates and when things are due, the day of the week? Not so much...

Anyway as a bonus let's get some writing jobs out there. It's been a while:

Freelance writer (Windham)
New York Resident Magazine
Deloitte & Touche
Freelance Magazine Writer
Voice of America, Freelance Writer
Freelance Writer - construction equiptment guide
Writer needed for various projects - columbus ohio

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Catch me if you can!

So the catch 22 of freelance writing is this: you need clips to show editors that you can write, however, you can’t get clips if you don’t get the gig. So what’s a writer to do? Well you could fall for the old “write for me for free and exposure” and gather clips that way.

The problem with this method is that often you’re fattening the editor’s pockets at your own expense. “Exposure” could mean anything, your name in byline lights on a heavily visited site or your article cast among many on a teeny tiny Web site somewhere out in cyberspace. Will that kind of exposure help you? Probably not. Will it give you good clips to use while you persue a better gig? Maybe. If the site is junky and there’s a lack of good editing on your work, you’re likely to hurt yourself more than you help.

The other thing about writing for free, it hurts other writers. If there are a vast, teaming pools of writers willing to work for free there will surely be vast, teeming pools of editors who feel it’s their right to not pay writers for their work.

Deborah Ng, a prominent freelance blogger, said something to the effect of people don’t ask plumbers who are just getting started to work for free and she has a great point. Where else, in what other profession would people ask that the newbie do it for free? Would McD’s require that their workers work for free until they really get a handle on washing the lettuce and cooking the fries?

So how do you break in? I’ll have several tips on Friday!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Whups a daisy! A writer should be prepared for anything. Well, I was not prepared for missing several days of blogging, culminating with my internet being out for the WHOLE day! Yikes. So tomorrow I swear people, I'll go over the catch 22 of freelance writing: you need clips to get gigs and you can't get gigs without clips - whata world!

There will also be new jobs and writer's news posted.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How do you get started? Part 1

I lucked into freelance writing. I have always been a good writer, writing plays and stories in grade school and pulling out a pretty good term paper at the last minute in high school. Even though I really enjoyed writing, I never really considered it a viable profession.

I had no desire to pine away in a cafe, tortured, smoking a cigarette as I lamented the state of the literary world. For one thing I'm an asthmatic and for another I'm not really into coffee that much.

I had been working as a plus size model and made friends with Valery from VenusImaging.Com. She asked me to write up a little something for her site and after the first article she invited me to be beauty and fashion columnist for the site. That's when it clicked, maybe I could do this for a living.

How did you get started? In part two we'll discuss creating opportunities and the catch 22 of clips and getting gigs.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Get Dressed or Wear PJ's?

One of the great lures of being able to work from home is the opportunity to conduct business in your jammies. Many a writer dreams about stumbling out of bed in the morning and wandering to their workspace fuzzy slippers and all.

As a freelance writer and a mom, I've had to put a moratorium on the PJ's. Unfortunately, the majority of time I am writing before, during or after I take the kids somewhere. If I'm not shuttling to preschool I'm flying to the grocery store and while I've seen it on other people, I'm not into the PJ's in public thing.

Another reason the PJ's have been left in the bedroom is because I have a hard time explaining to my 3 year-old why she has to get dressed for school when I get to walk around in Grinch bedclothes. Trying to rationalize my childish behavior to my own daughter is just depressing.

Lastly, I have to admit it, I do feel more productive when I'm dressed, sitting at my desk and working. I feel like I'm actually getting something accomplished even if I spent half an hour reading TMZ.Com. I know, getting dressed when I could wear the comfy flannel and reading poor journalism, I should be flogged.

Come on writers - do you get dressed or wear PJ's?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Writer's Cramp....

I've got writer's cramp. My right hand is aching and I wish I could say that I got my injury long handing the great novel that's been rolling around in my head. Instead I have to admit that my sore hand is due to trying to type with one hand while nursing my daughter Gabrielle.

It's also sore from typing with one hand as I bounce her on my knee and as I take down her sister's hair, as I cook dinner, help get Olivia dressed for school, write a check for a bill, brush my teeth.... My right hand is tired people...

Any injuries out there? Writing related or keeping you from writing? Come share in the misery and comment!

Writing Jobs for Monday

Good Afternoon Writers! Have a crack at 'em:

Freelance Science/Medical Writer - Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center - US
Freelance, Writer / Editor - Fox Networks Group - Los Angeles, CA
Celebrity Gossip Blogger -
Vista blogger needed
freelance writer
Freelance Business Reporters
Editorial Freelancer -

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

How to become a great writer...

Most writers strive to improve on their craft. We constantly look back at previous writings to see where we could have written better, what we liked and what we didn't like. I proofread and edit like there's no tomorrow, or should I say no deadline.

Writers all have dreams of becoming a stand-outs in their genre. Fantasies or goals of becoming the next J.K., Stephen King, Pulitzer Prize, or Oscar winner always hover over us. Those goals or fantasies make us take that extra step in fact checking, that extra look in editing or that extra day to let the work "marinate."

We ask ourselves, what does it take to become a great writer?

One thing I've found is reading great writing helps. So many times I run into new writers, new freelancers and students who all ask the same question: how can I make my writing better? I say the same thing - read, a lot. Read all types of writing, even things you aren't interested in and see what makes that piece interesting. What can you learn from it?

Too often their response is "I hate reading," or "I don't have time to read." That's like a professional basketball player saying they don't have time to practice free throws. Shaq excluded.

The other piece of advice I give is: write all the time. The only way to become better at something is to work at it - constantly and consistently.

Lastly, join a writer's group. Writers can be incredibly picky, secretive and easily wounded people. We view our work as the product of divine inspiration, painful and joyous execution and meticulous editing. Then we let another writer review it and they rip it. Creatively and with understanding, of course.

A writer's group can be frightening at first and you need to find one that fits with you and your personality, but the idea is to have a diverse group in which to glean ideas, critiques (not criticism) and inspiration.

I recently joined a writers group and they are a weird collection of women, but their weirdness is my weirdness. Their sarcasm, life experiences and diversity appealed to me from the first emails, yet it was still scary to meet for the first time. However the support, contacts and feedback has been well worth any initial fear. A good group challenges you and cares about your progress. You can't get the kind of support writers give from non-writers.

Your thoughts? What makes a good writer?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Writing News...

Health Alert: Link between writer's cramp and brain abnormalities
NATIONAL (WIS) - There's a possible connection between writer's cramp and brain abnormalities...

Bob Woodward, Joan Didion to appear in film about writer David Halberstam

NEW YORK (AP) -- Noted journalists Bob Woodward, Joan Didion and Seymour Hersh are among those who have agreed to participate in a short promotional film for ...

The life of a novelist, freelance writer and mother
There were the late night writing sessions one would imagine necessary of a writer. There were the early morning starts, sometimes at the urge of her ...