It may be an obvious axiom, but I’ll say it anyway. “Everything you read...was written by a writer.” Yes, I made that up. But prove me otherwise! Think of it: behind virtually every written word is a journalist. Or a copywriter. A technical writer. A storywriter. A ghostwriter. I won’t go on. You get it. The other day I was walking past a darkened mansion bedecked in Halloween finery – skeletons waving to passers-by, spiders the size of volleyballs – and on its door swung a sign that, instead of saying, “Sorry, we’re closed,” it read “Sorry, we’re dead.” Had to chuckle. Someone wrote that! So, what does that tell you? That from books to blogs to funny little signs, there's always a need for writers. Of all kinds. I will now present the evidence...
Have you been to our newest web page in Member Resources yet? The one entitled “Job Search Resources”? Take a quick look now and then come back. Listed are 35+ job sites, which we continue to update. (Last update: today!) Most of those sites represent hundreds, if not thousands of freelance and full-time opportunities for writers of nearly every discipline. A deep pool of work awaits. Now it’s just a matter of diving down, fishing around and reeling it in. “But,” you lament, “sometimes I'll come across a great job op -- for full time! I'm a freelancer!” Or, “I will not work for diddly-squat!” So glad you brought that up. Here are a few trade secrets for overcoming those ostensible obstacles:
1) Don’t summarily dismiss the full-time postings – even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool freelancer. No, you don’t want to work full time, but what you can say in your cover letter is that you’ll pinch hit until a full-timer is found. Stress the benefits for the employer, such as: They don’t have to pay your health benefits, sick or vacation days. And that they only need to pay you for the hours you work. You’ll be saving them money while providing superlative service. Then you “wow” them with your samples. Personally, I’ve done this and it has turned into some lengthy – and fantastically fun gigs.
2) If the job sounds ideal but the pay stinks, consider applying anyway. Now, now. I’m not talking about working for what seems to be the going rate in India – 10¢ an hour. Of course, you shouldn’t. But what if it’s for considerably less than your normal rate? Word has it that on Fivrr.com (one of the most popular freelance job sites), if you first take a gig that pays less, and you do a stellar job, you will establish yourself as a dependable talent and start garnering positive reviews, which can then lead to much more lucrative jobs. This has been the exact experience of an always-working fellow IWOC-er.
3) Say, “Yes.” Surely you’ve heard of stories like: Actor tries out for an audition. Is asked if he’s ever done any horseback riding. Never mind that the only experience in riding anything close to a horse was on a merry-go-round at a local carnival. He answers, “Yes,” inwardly figuring he has a modicum of athleticism, so he’ll learn. No big whoop. He gets the part. Surreptitiously takes lessons. And ends up riding like a cowboy.
The point is, being offered a type of assignment in which you’ve no experience is no excuse to not take it. Never wrote a press release? Google a “how to” and learn the format. Never wrote on the subject of motorcycles, let alone ride one? If you’re a writer, you’re probably curious by nature. Your ability to learn new things is in your DNA. You would get a kick out of researching. Talking to motorcycle buffs. (They’re a fun bunch!) So next time, should a prospective client ask if you’ve ever written a website, a white paper -- or about horseback riding, don’t say “neigh.” Say, “Yea.” You could do it. By doing so, you’ll be fattening your portfolio, increasing your income, building your confidence, opening yourself up to more job opportunities and adding to your value as a writer.
I could think of several more secrets, but perhaps for another posting. In the meantime, a great place to start is by checking out “Job Search Resources.” Pick some sites that appeal and, where requested, fill out your profile – lots of these sites will feed tailor-made job openings right to your email’s inbox.
The jobs are out there. Go get ‘em.
- Laura Stigler
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