Some of us do. We need time to improve our writing skills before we can head up the ladder to higher paying and more prestigious writing opportunities. But that isn’t true of everyone first entering the freelance world.
In some cases, it may actually be detrimental for your career to try and begin on the bottom of the scale. You may become frustrated and discouraged by the lack of challenge and low pay. You may also get yourself stuck in an area of freelancing that you really don’t want to be in.
The question, of course, is:
What are some of the higher rungs of freelance writing that are open to beginning freelance writers and how does a newcomer access them?
I’ll answer the question about access, first.
As I indicated earlier, not everyone can start at a higher rung. Some of us, need to start at the bottom and work our way up. There are others, however, who have qualifications that will allow them to jump the bottom rungs altogether.
If you meet one or more of these qualifications, you might want to consider setting your sights a little higher up the ladder than I did for your starting point.
- Degree in journalism, creative writing, marketing, etc.
- Writing experience in journalism, business, education, marketing etc.
If you have experience and/or education that has provided you with writing skills beyond that of a beginner writer, in one or more area of freelance writing, there are several opportunities available to you that might not be available to someone without that level of education and/or experience.
- Magazine articles (regional, trade or professional, topical)
- Corporate internal and external publications
- Business or academic specialists
- Expert bylines
Although you may find some of these sources advertising for writers, many of them do not. Much of the mid to high range freelance writing opportunities are ones that you need to seek out directly. With magazines that will mean sending queries about articles that would potentially be interested in the topics you want to write about. For corporate writing, it would may come through submitting a letter of introduction (LOI) to the person in charge of internal communications or to the marketing firm that handles their external communications. The connections might even be made face-to-face at any number of networking or business events that you attend.
Just like on the freelance bidding sites, however, you will need to sell yourself and your writing. Prospecting for work, at any level, takes time and perseverance. With a background that includes education and/or life experience, you have a stronger calling card than someone with out those, who is still are learning the trade.
Don’t be afraid to use the E’s of education and experience to hike you up the ladder to greater opportunities, even in areas of writing new to you.
(Watch for my freelancer profile later this week on journalist, Jodie Tweed Norquist.)
What areas of your life experience do you feel especially qualified to write about?