Friday, February 09, 2007

Do's and Don'ts of Freelance Writing

The following list defines what I feel to be the key do's and don'ts when you're just starting your career as a freelance writer. However, many of these tips can be applied to your working life whether you are just starting out or have been in the business for years.

I'm guilty of making some of these mistakes, as I'm sure some of you are as well. This list isn't meant to be followed to the letter, but rather general guidelines that I believe can be helpful to those who aren't sure where to begin.

1. Perfect your Query Letter

Nothing shows that you don't consider yourself a professional more than a poorly written query letter. Your query letter is a reflection of you as a writer, and is supposed to show an editor why your article would be a great fit for the magazine. If you aren't confident in your ability to write a smashing query letter, practice writing them until you are!

2. Don't Burn Bridges

This may seem like common sense, but many young writers might not even be aware they are hindering their career this way. Editors talk amongst one another on a regular basis, and if you are working in the magazine industry especially, they have the power to make or break your career. To put it succinctly - don't piss off an editor.

3. Network, NOW

Networking is a key factor to success, and a strong network can land you jobs you may not have found out about otherwise. The sooner you begin building up your contact list, the better off you'll be in the long run. When a job lead comes through that doesn't fit with a contact of yours, they may pass it along to you knowing you're qualified for the job.

4. Don't Let Rejection Kill You

Face it - rejection is part of this career choice. If you learn how to deal effectively with rejection now, you'll be much better off in the future. Take rejection as a learning experience to improve your writing. Sooner or later, an editor will take notice.

These are just a few ideas I believe to be beneficial to any freelance writer, beginning or otherwise. If you have anything else to add to this list, please let me know!





At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tips! Great blog, too!

I'd add one little thing about networking. Don't underestimate how friends and family can help, in addition to business associates and editors. I found my dream client through a friend of mine and have found other leads this way. Actually, most of the leads I've gotten have been through family and friends!

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Denise said...

Thank you for your comment! :)

I have to agree with you - friends and family can be a viable source for potential gigs. I have yet to come across any job leads this way, but that doesn't mean it can't happen!

At 3:23 PM, Blogger latoya said...

Great tips, Denise! :)

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do we make it profitable in the long run....



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