Friday, 9 May 2014

The crazy, but rewarding, world of freelance writing

I delivered a talk at my local writers group last night. It went surprisingly well! I was completely chilled about the whole experience until about 2 hours before I was due to speak, at which point, I suddenly got nervous, sweaty, and my mind went blank! Fortunately, I'd made extensive notes to jog my memory in anticipation of that happening!

At the event, I covered my work history in marketing before leaping into the crazy, but rewarding, world of freelance writing. I showed the audience the first article I'd had published in The Lady, 19 years ago, and the nutrition articles that I'd written for free to help develop a small portfolio. This helped to launch my freelance writing career in 2011.

I outlined my daily writing discipline and routine, and explained how my husband serves as a great proof-reader, photographer, chauffeur, and second memory!

I recalled the days that I sat in the garden with a huge pile of magazines, making notes on what I could write for them, generating ideas for features, and pitching A-Z through the Writers and Artists Yearbook. I hung around magazine stands a lot in those days. I pitched to niche titles and I thought very widely about opportunities.

How to write a winning pitch was of course important – the hook, expertise, photos, why you’re right person to write the piece, and examples of your work/clients. I even explained how to market yourself as a writer, by demonstrating your experience, making sure you have a good web presence, social media and blogs to promote your work.

I talked about how I found inspiration in unusual places, and shared lots of the articles I'd written in the first few years - covering local topics, interviewing local people, and studying the markets for inspiration. How I  turned rejections into sales is always interesting. I even dipped into avoiding legal issues – libel, copyright issues, and avoiding controversy.

Getting paid was perhaps one of the more lively discussions. It's a real challenge as a freelance writer sometimes. We often work well ahead of publication, and have to wait until after publication to see the money come in. I explained how I'd overcome non-payers by holding back the next article until they'd paid for the last four, or simply harassing them into submission. Finally I talked about photography, speculative submissions, and writing for pleasure.

Sorry you missed it? Don't worry. The talk was essentially an outline of my book, Freelance Writing on Health, Food and Gardens. Many of the principles are relevant whatever niche you're writing in. If you'd like to know more, why not buy a copy online? It's available as a paperback or an ebook.

Buy Now on:
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

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