I Don’t Have Any Writing Credits – Ask Anne, The Pro Writer

in Ask Anne The Pro Writer

Hello Anne,

I don’t have any writing credits I can point to. How can I build my credit list or resume when I’m brand new to freelance writing?

thanks,
JK.

Dear JK.

Thanks for asking. Although it’s great when you’ve written enough to have an impressive resume or credit list, but you don’t need one to get started in freelance writing.

You can begin the way many of us did, and still do as a matter of fact. The easiest is probably to write for your local community newspaper. Not the big daily, but the one that’s distributed free once a week or so. These outfits always need writers to write about local events, local businesses, and what-have-you. Find your paper, locate the editor’s name and give the editor a call, offering your services. If you’re lucky you’ll not only get an assignment, but once you fulfill it you’ll get a small check as well. Since most of the weekly newspapers have a web site, you may be able to link to your article.

The other thing to do is submit completed articles to magazines on spec. That is, you send the whole article with a cover letter stating you’re submitting on spec or over the transom. The article will sell itself, or not. Enclose an SASE and submit at least one a week until you start selling fairly regularly. Once you’re selling, you can start with queries so you get actual assignments.
it need to do what we used to do and many still do and that’s some writing on spec. Usually this is writing for magazines.

Once you have several articles accepted you’ve got enough to make your credit list look good.

Writing on spec isn’t limited to magazine articles. Although Peter Bowerman might not agree, you can do a short corporate writing gig or two on spec too. Just be careful you don’t do too much.

[askanne]

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

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