I’ve been asked by some folks to share a few resources on freelancing, so here we go:
Freelance Life on Medium<— I haven’t exhaustively read this collection, which covers a wide range of freelancers (not just writers), but some of the pieces are good, like this and these by Virginia Sole-Smith.
Business plan! #OOF <— In fact, Sole-Smith has an incredible series on making a business plan. It’s more complex even than mine (and I love spreadsheets), but I do also keep a detailed time sheet, tracking how much time I spend pitching, researching, writing, doing edits, etc., as she suggests. I also keep track of ALL my projects, even those that aren’t paid, so I understand just how much work I’m doing (and how productive I’m being per week). This also comes in handy when applying for grants.
Speaking of grants and $$, Nona Willis Aronowitz gets down to brass tacks about what she’s made writing and how. Nona has won grants from foundations as well, which encouraged me to do the same (I’m waiting to hear back on two, actually).
whopays.tumblr.com <— Because the industry is (self-destructively) shrouded in mystery, this Tumblr is a collection of anonymously submitted reports of who pays what at various magazines, newspapers, and websites. Submit and add to the brain trust!
Make an “I Don’t” list. I am still learning to follow this advice and thus re-read this piece often, despite the Rosie the Riveter art and consultant-y vibe (“client” is thrown around liberally).
www.cjr.org/realtalk <— Ann Friedman's weekly column at CJR is exactly what she says it is: real talk. She uses gifs to illustrate her answers to this advice column (though it seems the advice part has phased out lately). Her roundup on lessons learned from her first year of freelance writing link is a good summation and links to her previous, crucial advice.
Make editor connex. Like Ann says, cold-pitching is fine, but difficult, so try to make a personal connection with an editor before you pitch. Not sure who you might know at a certain publication? Check mastheadsonline.blogspot.com (though it looks like it hasn’t been updated since Nov. ‘12) and your (ahem) LinkedIn and other social media networks.
The mother of all creative inspiration: Ira Glass on Storytelling. “The most important possible thing you could do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work… It’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you’re actually going to catch up and close that gap, and the work you’re making will be as good as your ambitions.”
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