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Old 03-04-2008, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
258 posts, read 1,464,736 times
Reputation: 149

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Can anyone help me with ideas of becoming a freelance writer? I have a bachelor of arts degree but its not in journalism or writing. However I have taken many creative and technical writing classes throughout school and feel its something I want to pursue. I do hear how hard it is to make a living as a writer in general. Everyone I've contacted wants examples of published work which I don't have. How can I break into this field?
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
421 posts, read 1,291,332 times
Reputation: 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by california??? View Post
Can anyone help me with ideas of becoming a freelance writer? I have a bachelor of arts degree but its not in journalism or writing. However I have taken many creative and technical writing classes throughout school and feel its something I want to pursue. I do hear how hard it is to make a living as a writer in general. Everyone I've contacted wants examples of published work which I don't have. How can I break into this field?
I am in the same place as you are. I bought a book on how to succeed as a freelance writer. It's called "Make a real living as a Freelance Writer" by Jenna Glatzer. She gives some website info also.
I will say that all that I have heard you don't make "real" money right away. So it takes awhile.
What type of genre do you want to write for?
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
258 posts, read 1,464,736 times
Reputation: 149
Would you recommend reading one of those books? I've thought about picking one up. What are the websites they recommend? For me its something I like to do which outweights the money issue. I'd like to do travel writing or something related but would start out in anything.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,445 posts, read 47,900,468 times
Reputation: 10579
I have no advice for you. I have been published but I will admit I had a close friend who got me there. He is a very popular fishing and hunting technical writer in Pennsylvania. I was noticed due to pictures I took depicting action shots of fish flying through the surface in fights with the Angler.

My break was a line that I started off an article with. It was an eye catcher. This might be no different then a musician who writes that one song that takes off and makes him a superstar. It was a story about surface fishing on the Delaware River. The picture caught the eye of the Editor of a local fishing publication and then he read my story and I got a call. Within 6 months I went from a very local NJ fishing magazine to a world wide magazine called Outdoor Life. That was October 1986 where my personal picture holding a Stripped Bass that was as big as me was right there in full color in Outdoor Life Magazine. I was out in a boat and behind me was the world famous bridge in Trenton with the big red letters that said: "Trenton Makes, The world Takes".

I dont write for anyone anymore. I am a fine craftsman woodworker. No one even calls me for my pictures anymore which I became a little bit known for. I do think about it often though. Im lying. I think about it all the time. I do have a couple things I wrote that can make a splash but they just sit there in a file.

Hey I wish you luck. There is no money in writing. It is a side thing usually. But I can tell you it is very very very satisfying, especially when you get to add pictures to your words.
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:30 AM
 
Location: USA
4,979 posts, read 9,088,909 times
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I've tried for years. It is one of those professions so many people want into, like most of the creative venues. It helps immensely if you know someone, or your uncle owns a publishing company. But if you are like me on your own, you could be the best with words, but no one will hire you.
I think about writing and creative work all the time. I guess that is why I get online and play with words.
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:38 AM
 
7 posts, read 9,753 times
Reputation: 10
Writing is not something that you can simply pick up and do. Writing is a craft that takes years to develop.

If you want to get into the business, you need to start collecting clips and samples of your work. Plenty of internet publications look for writers who will work for free. This is a good place to start. When you get a few samples under your belt, approach the editor of your local newspapers and see if you can work as a "stringer."

A good book for beginners is Writing to Deadline: the Journalist at Work by Donald Murray.

Murray is a columnist for the Boston Globe. In his book, he offers tips on how to develop a lead and what makes a story worth reading.

brussel sprout
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:16 AM
 
3,367 posts, read 10,655,654 times
Reputation: 4206
Quote:
Originally Posted by california??? View Post
Can anyone help me with ideas of becoming a freelance writer? I have a bachelor of arts degree but its not in journalism or writing. However I have taken many creative and technical writing classes throughout school and feel its something I want to pursue. I do hear how hard it is to make a living as a writer in general. Everyone I've contacted wants examples of published work which I don't have. How can I break into this field?
You can send submissions of your work to magazines and websites, they may well publish your work - but maybe likely they won't pay you for it!

You might also find a volunteer position doing copywriting and editing, helping compile a community newsletter, anything.

It might not pay but it will give you the beginnings of a portfolio and show that you are sincrere about your desire to write for a living, and it will get you some good practice. Keep the rights to your work clear though, it remains your property.

Good luck!
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: Hilltop
100 posts, read 426,112 times
Reputation: 52
This is a tough one for me as well,I write some short stories and articles laced with my personal view/take/opinion on many subjects and have gotten good feedback from some good publications...the problem for me is how much of your work is actually required for submission,,,I have had unusual requests for 5000 word articles then months go by and without any recognition,I see my work out in circulation with no way of proving that I indeed was the author,except for an email communication with my work attached months before.....
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:10 PM
 
6,578 posts, read 24,360,534 times
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It's a tough field and I have a journalism degree (not that it remotely matters). I worked for a weekly newspaper at first and wrote about 100 inches a week and got paid $100 each week. Big bucks!

You can get published by submitting op-ed pieces to newspapers. That's fairly easy. Or even start with letters to the editor to local and national publications. None of this pays. It's just exposure. Practice. You can do some free lance articles for newspapers, but again, it doesn't pay much. A long cover story will only bring you $1000...maybe...and take months from researching, writing, submitting, waiting for them to publish it. They may say they will pay you a certain amount, but then pay you less. The same with magazines. There are magazines out there that don't pay you at all or they pay you by giving you 10 free copies of the magazine with your article in it. Oh yeah, That will pay the rent!!

Sometimes it's easier to contact the newspaper and mags first to pitch a story idea to see if they are interested and then write the story. Sometimes you can write the story and then shop it around. These are all ways to get published a bit, not a way to make a living.

I don't know anything about writing fiction. There are lots of writers in my family, but no fiction writers.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:50 PM
Status: "Ready to Explore California" (set 5 days ago)
 
Location: Austin, TX
4,756 posts, read 13,214,088 times
Reputation: 3254
On a related topic, does anyone know of a Forum as cool as City Data but geared toward nonfiction writers? I've Googled it and I found a ton of good information but not quite the exact right fit...it seems like a lot of writing forums are oriented toward fiction writers and many other forums just seem light on activity.
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