Yours is a wonderful site. I’d started a rather lame attempt at a blog for freelancers, but yours is so thorough and engaging that I’m taking mine down. Congratulations on a really first-rate blog.
Thank you. But please reconsider your decision to take down your blog. I looked and it’s obvious you’re good. You’ve written for The New Yorker for Pete’s sake, my favorite magazine of all time. You’ve gotta be doing something right for them to run your stuff and whatever it is, I’d love to find out, so there’s reason No. 1 right there.
There are a lot of other reasons why freelance writers – or other freelancers for that matter – should blog, if only as a writing prompt to get the juices flowing for paid writing gigs.
* To build expertise in an area you want to pitch – Not that long ago I was re-establishing my freelance writing business after extended hiatus to raise three kids. I needed to get back up to speed on the tech beat I’d previously covered and the best way to do that was to plunge into the wonderful world of Web 2.0. I started the blog, signed up for LinkedIn, then Twitter and started pitching as I learned.
* To build a community – No man is an island, and that includes freelancers. We don’t get the perqs of working in an office surrounded by peers, so a blog can function as a virtual coffee break room, where we exchange suggestions and gossip with far-flung friends.
* To put your resume and clips online – If for no other reason, writers should have a blog to get their vital stats online. Plus, it’s easier than creating a Website and cheaper too.
* To keep colleagues, friends or family up to speed on what you’re doing – Easier and less spammy than sending out group emails.
* To practice a genre other than the one that pays the bills – A blog might be just the thing for writing the poetry, essays or short stories you’ve always wanted to try. If you don’t want anybody to see it, you can change the settings on the blog software you’re using to block it from public display.
* To start a book or promote one – Which is something you’re already doing for your book Death and Life in New Orleans, so I’m preaching to the choir on that one.
* To be ready for the digital revolution – As corny as that sounds, the media business as we know it is changing, and not just because of the recession, and it ain’t ever going back to the way it was. If writers don’t want to be left behind, we’ve got to put new techniques alongside the old ones in our storytelling repertoire.
That’s what I came up with in about 10 minutes. There are plenty of other equally good reasons why writers should blog. Please don’t give up on it just yet.