Thursday, July 22, 2010

Freelance Writing

Here’s a great guest post by Alexis Bonari

Freelance Writing: Unlimited Possibilities, Tough Competition

Freelancing isn’t just an excuse to sit at home and sift through old high school friends’ latest profile pictures. It can be a full-time, rewarding job if taken seriously by individuals who are willing to cultivate their natural writing abilities throughout their lives. Because writing is closely associated with an ever-changing society’s language and culture, freelance writers have to be adaptable.

That involves not only a career of writing, but also one of reading. Staying current, following the news, and finding new sources of information are all life-long priorities for freelancers. Some of them write because they enjoy reading the news, because they love preaching from a soapbox, or even because they’re convinced that the populace must be warned of impending alien invasions. But the real attraction of freelance writing lies in its versatility.

The Job Description

Freelance writing venues can be online or in print, nonfiction or imaginative stories, informative or entertaining. The possibilities really are endless here, but that can be both a bonus and an Achilles’ heel. For example, some freelance writers earn six figures by developing relationships with magazines or other publications that regularly use their work, by writing books, or by consulting and writing for businesses. Obviously, this isn’t practical for every writer, so many freelancers have additional jobs or focal points in their work. Some examples are:

1. Blogging and ghost writing, guest posting, or just plain starting a blog.

2. Creative writing and short stories and poems can bring bacon, too.

3. Editing and proofreading grammarians and detail-oriented syntax junkies often find supplemental work in these areas.

4. Editorial management can involve interfacing with other freelancers, directing traffic for start-up e-zines, and reporting reader information to the publisher.

5. Fact checking and research gurus are all over this one.

6. Freelance reading services, publishers, agents, book summarizing services, and audio book recorders pay careful readers.

7. Grant research writing, with additional training, can be a fulfilling freelancer’s option.

8. Public relations and marketing in this field may also require specialized training or experience, but those who enjoy manipulating the printed word find it challenging and lucrative.

Where and How to Find Work

There’s a lot of competition among freelance writers, so it’s important to have a strong resume and portfolio, preferably accessible online. Many freelancers have blogs specifically for their portfolios and other information or experience that make them strong candidates. Beyond becoming a strong competitor, the successful freelancer will thoroughly and consistently research job opportunity venues. Some examples are the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, AP, Magazine Publishers of America, Media Bistro, Morning Coffee, Places for Writers, etc. The important thing is to make a habit of looking for opportunities, even if the current workload seems consistent. Freelance writing is a gratifying and challenging field, but it’s wise to cultivate multiple areas.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, writing on getting her online degree. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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