General Question

txcub420's avatar

Do you have advice for someone who would like to begin working as a freelance writer?

Asked by txcub420 (15 points ) August 27th, 2007 from iPhone

I know it’s a very general question and that uou should wrote well and write qhat you know, but it seems like in this competitive area, it could be very difficult to become “successful.”

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11 Answers

webarnold's avatar

Writer’s market, as a book, is a really good resource for finding places to sell your work.

Also, start a blog. Market it and yourself.

juicyful's avatar

Very competitive – do you have a specialist subject or do you write about anything?

PJM's avatar

I don’t mean to be flippant, but a famous author whose name I can’t remember once said something to the effect of “writers write.” I’m a part-time song writer and I think this makes sense. Just write. You may not be a huge commercial success, but that’s not the point. If you have to write, then write! (I also second webarnold’s advice.)

archer's avatar

i can’t believe that this joke post got three serious responses.

the number of humorous questions seems to be increasing. i like them as long as they don’t start outnumbering the serious ones.

i found this one particularly funny.

PJM's avatar

@archer—why do you think this question was a joke?

glial's avatar

@PJM – The question is full of grammar and spelling mistakes.

txcub420's avatar

Relax, I was typing quickly on an iPhone and wasn’t watching what “auto-corrections” it was making for me. I, too, am amused by the irony.

archer's avatar

if those are “auto corrections” i’d take the iphone back for a refund.

you’ve got two things going for you that every writer needs; a good sense of humor and skin that’s not thin.

hossman's avatar

I’d follow the adage: “write what you know,” but there isn’t much of a market for extremely short non-fiction. Perhaps I could throw together a few short pamphlets.

gcross's avatar

As the wife of a published author, and a long time researcher in my own right, there is much you can do to break into a market.

First, research…

Make a list of your background in writing. What have you written? Stories, poetry, articles? Start compiling a hard-copy portfolio, like artists do.

What about education? Have you taken any english, grammar, or writing courses? If not, check out your local community colleges. Take some courses. Think of it as a way of beefing up your resume for a future editor, as well as getting some tricks and techniques under your belt. Look into seminars too, especially by experts you admire or enjoy. And don’t forget the internet, probably the greatest repository of writing expertise you could ever hope to find.

What kind of things do you like to read? Make a list of your favorite authors. Research them. How did they start out? What kind of background did they have before they got published? What did they have to do to get published? Do they have a website with tutorials and advice? Do they have an email address you can write to? Read up on them everywhere you can. Read the articles they’ve written. Make contact. Successful writers generally have a fan club of some kind and often websites set up by their fans. Read them all. Join their mailing lists, newsgroups, and forums. Most of all, Network.

Pick up some reference books for your own library. I own a dictionary, thesaurus, and the Chicago Manual of Style. I also have access to a Secretary’s Handbook at work. We have one whole shelf full of books about writing and how to write in various styles. My husband not only has copies of the books he has written, but we have one entire bedroom devoted to (and full of) books and other publications from others in his genre that he either bought or were gifted to him. This also includes more than 20 years of monthly magazines in which he has published articles nearly every month.

One of the groups we have here at my office is a speech-making club called Toastmasters. It is all about learning how to give a speech and writing speeches. Keep the future in mind. If your writing takes off and you become rich and famous, you, too, will be expected to make public appearances and book signings. So now is a good time to consider courses in speaking and speech writing, again either through a community college, or a seminar or club.

Then, of course, write! Write what? Anything! Start with subjects you have some expertise about. Write desk manuals for your position at work. Write children’s stories for your kids, nieces and nephews. Write poetry for the cards you give to friends and loved ones, insteading of buying canned cards. Write recipes for your favorite dishes. Pretend you are a sports caster and write copy for some event you attended. See if you can publish it somewhere. Write reality stuff and fantasy stuff. Just as artists sketch daily, to develop their “eye” and eye/hand coordination and perspective, so you, too, should write daily. Write, write, write!

And, last but not least, good luck!

Husband: Robert “Doc” Cross, author of three TOON books available through Steve Jackson Games, sjgames.com. Also prolific writer for Alarums & Excursions (A&E) zine, character in On The Edge card game by Atlas Games, and writer of Toon Munchkin game by Steve Jackson Games.

NVOldGuy's avatar

Take a look at classes in your area. Read the mags and books, pick a subject and submit. Write to a specific area don’t just write something and send it. Good luck.

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