Yesterday, I spent a good deal of time organizing a slew of material that I've been collecting related to developing a freelance writing business. I want to earn money with my writing, and Cindy (the household bookkeeper) tells me it would be terrific if I could plump up my retirement income. I have this gig with the local newspaper, writing play reviews and an occasional feature article. I think they would print more feature pieces if I submitted them, which reinforces the fact that I have to make writing the focus of each day, like I did with NaNoWriMo and when I was writing my book. To that end, my goal for the 2008 is to approach freelancing like a business with time dedicated to both development AND WRITING.
For the past several months, I've been researching and accumulating things related to freelancing, like notes from magazines, books, blogs, and radio programs as well as a good-sized stack of writer's guidelines from publications to which I'd like to submit my work. Organizing the guidelines was easy because they fell into neat categories of interest: teaching and learning, family, gardening, writing, book and theater reviews, gay and lesbian, interfaith/spirituality, and a category I called "off-the-wall." Organizing my notes was less easy. Though I have managed to collect my notes in the same general vicinity, their relevance to the project seems scattered. I needed to make sense of them and then to make it all useful.
And so the list-maker arrived to use the handy-dandy bullets of word-processing and this ready-made venue for positing the vagaries of my collected notes. I'm allowing myself one line summaries of each page or so of notes.
- Create a web page that is tightly organized and allows a potential editor to quickly discern that I'm well-established as a writer (in and out in 2 minutes).
- The pitch needs to be entertaining, enticing, descriptive, and succinct.
- Ghostwriting is lucrative if you have the ability to put your ego aside.
- Make a list of 12 subjects/topics about which I want to write.
- Create a schedule that divides time between writing and self-promotion.
- Make time for literary projects, especially if that is my source of writerly inspiration.
- Study the publications for which I want to write; listen for tone and discover idiosyncratic styles.
- A writer never retires.
- The road to hell is paved with unfinished manuscripts.
- Few writers have the appetite to be truly dangerous or daring.
- Spice up bland topics with humor, a current event hook, or a self-interest angle.
- The right market for my work may lie waiting in the library's collection of magazines.
- Keep a running list of ideas and don't save an idea for a better day or a better offer. Write it NOW!
- Recycle work—reframe pieces for different publications.
- Fail and fail and fail again but don't stop; a successful free-lancer perseveres.
Well there you go, Patricia. That all makes sense. Now just do it!!!