As freelance writers, the world is pretty much our oyster. There really is no shortage in terms of where we can market our work or find a new client. In a lot of ways there has never been a better time to be a freelance writer. The problem for most of us is that we get seated in a comfort zone and we are loathe to leave that comfy recliner. Ultimately, being stuck in that rut can have a negative effect on our writing career.
Breaking the mold can be difficult for us. As it is, it seems like there isn’t enough time for us to find work in our normal areas, let alone anything different. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective on our writing. We have a tendency to pigeon-hole ourselves and never even consider other writing genres or formats. We feel as if we need to be an absolute expert in an area or subject before we can put pen to paper. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I may have mentioned this in a previous post, and even so, it is worth mentioning again. When I first started freelance writing, I took on a job through Textbroker that ended up morphing into an assignment writing product descriptions and naming a line of all natural lip glosses aimed at teen aged girls. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever sought an assignment like that and I have to say that I am more proud of that writing than I am of a lot of assignments I have done.
As far as having to be an expert in a subject before writing about it, I don’t buy it. Over the past few years I’ve written well over one hundred articles on subjects that I had not one clue about. Yes, there was some research involved but I sure didn’t spend weeks at the library having to read every book on the subject. When I look back over those articles, I believe that they are helpful and informative and again, I’m proud of the accomplishment.
I think that one of the best investments a freelance writer can make is the purchase of the Market series from Writer’s Digest. On my writing books bookshelf I have the 2011 Writer’s Market, 2011 Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market and 2011 Novel And Short Story Writer’s Market books. Each of these is a treasure chest of ways to spread your writing wings. In addition to having timely articles about each of the specific writing areas, there are current listings for nearly any kind of publication out there. What I do is with each new volume that comes out (they are published yearly) I take the time to thumb through each market and mark any magazine or market that sounds the least bit interesting to me. Once I have that list together, I hold a little brainstorming session for each listing and consider ideas for articles or stories that I can submit. I may not end up querying all of them, but I figure if I can land a single article then I am well ahead of the game.
I love finding new things to write about. It keeps my writing fresh and it helps to keep me in the game. I think that staying fresh and in the game are crucial to success for freelance writers.
What do you think? Are there methods you use on a regular basis to open your writing horizons?