Congratulations new freelancer. While this might not be the best time to join the ranks of independently employed writers, we realize you may not have had much of a choice.
But when it comes to how you conduct your freelance business, you do have lots of choices. Well, OK, maybe not as many choices as you used to, given that newspaper and magazine freelance budgets have dried up quicker than a mud puddle in August.
But there are choices, in the genre you pursue, the subjects you specialize in, the clients you work with, even how you get your work done.
So how to get started? I’ve compiled the following list of Freelance 101 helpful hints gleaned from 18 months of posts on this blog and 12+ years of freelancing I’ve done for international wire services, daily newspapers, geeky tech magazines and Web-based publishers. You’ll find information on writing basics, finding story ideas, working with editors, blogging and other resources.
- 10 great places writers can find story ideas – Tune in to your surroundings and story ideas are everywhere.
- Prepping for the big one – A dozen ways to ace a VIP interview.
- Keeping sources on the subject – Get in, get the quote, get out.
- A few words about writing short – 500 words is the new 1,000.
- How to write fast. – Setting the timer is just the start.
- Why good writing is all about context – Putting in the why.
- When the words won’t come – Dealing with writer’s block.
- 7 steps to cutting a story that’s too long – Why let someone else hack away when you can easily trim that extra graph or two yourself.
- A writer’s guide to getting the most out of Twitter – After avoiding it forever, I finally caved – and boy, what a difference.
- Delicious and Google News Alerts – Web-based research tools even non-techies can understand.
- Top 10 Web tools for freelancers – Firefox, WordPress and more.
- HARO rescues writers stuck for sources – Crowdsourcing meets journalism.
- How to be a blog star – Take a class or teach yourself.
- The secret to my LinkedIn success – Hint: it’s not the number of connections, but who you’re connecting with.
The Business of the Freelance Business
- How to write queries that sell – Know who you’re pitching to, and other helpful hints.
- Just say no to assignments that aren’t a good fit – If they make you miserable, even well-paid jobs aren’t worth the money.
- Why freelance queries get rejected – It happens, even to the best of us.
- 10 ways to promote your freelance writing business – Writing’s just the beginning, you have to sell yourself.
- You may be desperate for work, just don’t act like it – Editors smell fear.
- Writing for free is not a business model – Giving it away ain’t gonna get you anything but poor.
- 13 warning signs a magazine may be in trouble – Checks slowing to a trickle? Uh oh.
- How to build the freelance writing career that you want – Words of wisdom for newcomers from long-time freelancer Gwen Moran.
- Sometimes all it takes is saying ‘I can do that.’ – Being in the right place at the right time is just the start – to get the good jobs, you have to ask for them.
- Going freelance in a down economy – Bad times didn’t stop former copywriter Susan Johnston from pursuing her dream to freelance full-time.
- One writer’s journey from print to online – Reporter Michelle Nicolosi got the online news bug back in the 1990s. Today she’s executive director of the now online-only SeattlePI.com.