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The Freelance Writer’s Job Search

looking for freelance writing jobsJonathan Fields has a wonderful guest post today called The Hacker’s Guide to Finding a Job: 9 Tactics No One’s Using written by Scott Dinsmore of LiveYourLegend.

With some minor changes this article could have been written for writers looking for freelance writing gigs. Oh, I don’t know if we could apply his  “90% of jobs come from people you know, or people who know the people you know.” That may be a bit high, although I know writers who get 100% of their business that way. Have you asked for referrals recently? Try it.

He’s absolutely right about how chasing job sites should be kept to a minimum. He’s also right that with today’s connectivity the opportunities are huge.

Here’s a bit of re-interpretation for writers:

Know what you want to write. Start with the idea and find the market for it is a far better approach than trying to fit yourself into a job listing.

Start and keep an idea list. I have a couple of idea lists. One in Word on my computer, another on a 3×5 card in my purse that I add to when I’m out and about. When the card gets filled I add those ideas to the one on my computer.

Get some support. Create a Mastermind group and/or join or a writer’s group. At a minimum get acquainted with a couple of writers you can talk with on the phone. Make sure they are supportive and not only involved in kvetching.


Find your way in. Use Writer’s Market or your local newstand to find a market for your idea. Make some cold calls to companies who might be interested in your service or ideas. Use Google to search for a literary agent and approach them the way they say they want to be approached.

Now, go read the rest of Scott’s article and come back and tell us how you applied his suggestions.

How do you find your writing gigs?

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • One thing I have noticed – which has worked for me – BID on websites and KEEP them as clients for future! That’s how you gather clients the easiest way.
    SEO Copywriting Blog – Ron recently posted..Why Include Latent Semantic Indexing Along With Keyword Research?My Profile

  • I’ve done a number of Jonathan’s tips without realizing I was doing them. I guess that’s dumb luck.

    My referral process is to befriend and wait. I don’t expect new contacts to hand me the keys to their kingdom (or their contacts). That’s nuts. If they’re PR folks, I work with them on various projects and never ask for referrals until I’m sure we mesh and they’re happy with how I’ve treated them and their clients. If it’s an editor, I ask for other assignments after I follow up to see if they’re pleased.

    Finding my way in through letters of introduction works because I do the homework and let them know I understand them even if they’ve never heard of me. With article writing, I do the same. I make the query fit the publication. Ideas can be tweaked easily to fit with a magazine’s focus and audience.

    I keep the ideas list, too. Mine is on a virtual sticky note on my Desktop view. It’s how I track my monthly activity, too. It’s easier than remembering to open an Word document to track it all. I do that at the end of every month – just open Word and paste it in.
    Lori recently posted..This Job, Not That JobMy Profile

    • Anne

      Not dumb luck, good instincts!

  • I get quite a few (one way or another) from LinkedIn.
    Cathy Miller recently posted..A Great Speech Makes A Pickle MemorableMy Profile

    • I really need to make better use of that, Cathy. It’s good to know it’s useful for that. I’m hoping to use it a bit for my regular working if I decide to move. Still can’t afford to quit the day job..
      Elizabeth West recently posted..Vocabulary: Kickin’ Letter KMy Profile

  • I’m with Fiona too – so far, most of my work has come via referrals, which is always a nice feeling! And like yourself, Anne, I’m a big fan of lists! I always have a pen and paper on me usually, or at least my phone that I’m able to type notes into!
    Nicky Parry recently posted..Taste Buds #1My Profile

  • My best writing gigs have come from referrals – in fact, that’s how I got three book deals. One was a referral in an online group, and two from a friend in publishing who referred me to editors, publishers, etc.

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