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Writing Profitably From The End Of The Road – Ask Anne

Writing at the end of the roadHey Anne,

I have a question.

I have seen a lot written about getting started as a writer and a lot of the advice leans toward going to local businesses or writing for local papers.

But …what advice can you give to some like me that lives out in, “OMG where did the road go?”

I live in a high mountain area. The nearest town is 10 miles in either direction and the local papers are once a week gigs that would barely line the birdcage.

Any advice on where to start out here in the boonies?

Jackie J. in comments to 3 Keys To Freelance Writing Success

Hi Jackie,

Believe it or not I once lived in a high mountain town like that – the southern California community of Anza. This was before the ‘net but the principles are the same.

First, don’t ignore the weekly paper. Back then Anza did have a weekly and I actually got a very part time job there doing both reception work and some writing. I was able to parlay that job to a better part time job as a reporter for the Idyllwild Town Crier – another, bigger weekly about 20 miles away in Idyllwild. The Editor there, L.B. Hunsaker (I’m not sure of the spelling) was rough, gruff and taught me a great deal about writing.

Although I didn’t solicit writing in any of the local businesses – think 5 to 25 miles – I’m sure if I had I would have picked up a few small jobs. Even businesses out in the country have websites that need content these days. Plus many need other sorts of writing too, from advertising to white papers.

What’s changed, of course, is the internet. You can land writing jobs literally anywhere on the planet right from where you are. You can also submit to any newspaper anywhere.

You might start simply by picking up the phone and calling businesses and asking what they need in the way of writing. If you have unlimited long distance it won’t even cost you extra for the calls. Before you do, get your website together with a few samples of the kind of writing you want to do, even if those samples haven’t been used. When they ask for your portfolio you’re ready.

Sure, some will be leery of working virtually – you’ll just have to reassure them or move on to the next one on your list.

Many newspapers use features that aren’t based on local news. Or maybe you can figure a local angle for a distant paper.

You also are living an experience that you can draw on for many consumer magazines. Check Writer’s Market for ideas.

The world is truly wide open to freelance writers these days. Distance simply needn’t get in your way.

What’s been your experience of writing outside your immediate area?


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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • This is great information. I think it’s important to be open to the possibilities. For example, I wrote for a company located in Vancouver, B.C. and other companies located throughout the U.S. It was fun!

    In general, I believe if you’re a good writer, it doesn’t matter where you’re located. Business owners and professionals want to work with people who are dependable and have fast internet service. As long as you meet deadlines and can write, I don’t think you’ll have any problems finding writing opportunities.

    Good luck!
    Amandah recently posted..Company’s Website Busted by Blog TrafficMy Profile

  • Amilli Dostaonia

    I am from the middle east and I love writing…. I travel a lot too but never really faced any problem matching both the businesses I am involved with… My clients are happy with my work…..
    Amilli Dostaonia recently posted..HDMI Cable Reviews : Guide to Buying OneMy Profile

  • I agree with Anne and Cathy – although I was in the UK when I started freelancing, I’m now in the Caribbean most of the year and it hasn’t affected my business – the internet is my friend and I work for US, Canadian, British and European clients. In my experience, once they see that you can do the job, location isn’t a barrier.
    Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Freelance Writing Problem #2687: Clients Who (Think They) Know BetterMy Profile

    • You may be the most ‘global’ writer here. I’m limited pretty much to the US and Canada at the moment.

  • My entire client base is outside my immediate area. Even when I lived in San Diego, the majority of my clients were outside my immediate area.

    This is another one of those times where the infamous answer It depends applies. 🙂 It depends on what kind of writing services you are offering. For example, my business is working with corporations. I have clients in AZ, CA, NY, CT, TX & WA. Not one Idaho one in the bunch.

    So if you have a niche where you already established from your corporate days or past work, you may not be restricted to the immediate area. If you don’t have a niche and are just starting out, the immediate area is a good place to start. It depends. 😀
    Cathy Miller recently posted..Posts in Friday Lite for Toasting Cinco de MayoMy Profile

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