It’s only been three months since I became a freelance art writer, before that I worked as a full-time art writer for a newspaper. I learned a lot from that job and met interesting people. Some of those people were freelance writers, and many of them were as young as I was or even younger. I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I? So I took the plunge, and here ‘s what I did to prepare for the journey ahead.
Facebook is your network and portfolio
While I was working at the newspaper, I talked to all the writers and editors at the press conferences and media trips that I was sent to. Then, I added them on Facebook. Whenever the newspaper published my articles, I posted them on my Facebook with the caption of the best sentences in my articles. I also posted the links to the articles on my blog. I did this in the hopes that people would read my work and become familiar with my capabilities. I think this was effective because there were times that editors or other writers reposted my articles, liked them, or commented on them.
When I finally quit my job, I sent private messages to these people informing them of my new contact details and asking them to please think of me if they needed a writer. Turns out they did, and I got a lot of writing jobs because of this.
Lists will save you
One of the reasons why I went freelance was I wanted to have the freedom to choose how many assignments I would accept as opposed to being worked to the bone for a fixed price. With such freedom comes responsibility. There’s a danger that you might keep saying no to assignments when you need more money for the month, or you go against your original goal and keep accepting assignments even if you don’t have enough time to do them all. To ensure that these things don’t happen, all you need are lists.
The most helpful ones I have are my income and writing schedule lists, which work in tandem. For full details, read What I’ve learned so far as a newbie freelance writer. Basically, every time I accepted an assignment, I’d add it to the income list and writing schedule list. I aim to only accept five assignments per week, so I say no after I’ve reached that target. Same thing with the income. I say yes up until I’ve reached my income target. In this way, I can have a manageable workload that also allows me to meet my financial needs.
Don’t be a damsel waiting for assignments
I had a friend who once told me that newspaper and magazine writers aren’t chosen because they’re the best at writing, but because they knew a ton about a certain scene. Heeding his advice, I have specialized in writing about the visual arts. After three years, I already know which galleries are interesting, who are the artists that I should pay attention to, how I can learn about cool exhibits, etc. This enabled me to generate my own story ideas that I could pitch to publications. If all I did was wait to get assignments, then I don’t think I would have gotten enough work to sustain myself.
I still have much to learn about this new adventure, but I am proud to say that I am on the right track.
More Work It:
- Shouting Bosses: Should We Report Them?
- What to do when a job ad says you have to have X number of years of experience
- Freelancer conundrum: How does one not get scared about the money?
- Why every writer should have Evernote
- Click Work It for more posts under this category
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