The Downtrodden Writer’s Guide to a Kickass Freelance Writing Career

Writing Tools

down·trod·den adjective \ˈdan-ˈträ-dən\: without hope because of being treated badly by powerful people, governments, etc.; suffering (so sayeth Merriam-Webster)

Are you a downtrodden writer? You probably are. You’re probably sitting around feeling like a sad sack of misery because even though you KNOW you can write, you can’t figure out how to get someone to pay you for doing it.

Kills you, doesn’t it? There are words everywhere you look. You know someone got paid for writing them. So why can’t you seem to catch a break?

I have so been there. In fact, four years ago I was a newly-divorced mom of two who did most of my grocery shopping at The Dollar Tree due to the fact that I was so grossly under-employed. In fact, my inability to land a decent-paying writing job led to this rather colorful (and wildly profane … don’t say I didn’t warn you) rant on my personal blog in which I swore I was done responding to job posts forever.

But then, somewhere along the way I figured a few things out. I figured out how to make a living. Then I figured out how to make better living … and on my own terms. No offices. No bosses. No groveling for work. In fact, now I find myself in a position where work often comes to me … and I frequently have to turn it down because there are only so many hours in the day, y’all.

If you’re a writer, I want to show you how to do this. I don’t have all the answers — far from it. But I can tell you what I’ve learned and and I can share the exact things that I do that get me regular and well-paying work.

Starting January 12, I’ll post a new article every week on how to get writing gigs. I’ll walk you through how to assess your current skill set to match it with corresponding writing opportunities (and you might be surprised how many there are). I’ll show how to completely bypass the worthless job listings and build your own client base so you can receive a regular monthly income that you can actually live on.

Warning: This will be WORK. You knew that though, didn’t you? Expect some tough love about what your freelance writing career is and what it is not. Spoiler alert: This is not the way to get a book deal, although if that’s your goal you can follow some of these steps to get some paid work while you chase your dream (and you should chase your dream).

Here’s to your kickass freelance writing career in 2015!

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Missed Connections: Freelance Writers and Businesses Don’t Know How to Find Each Other

Here are three things I know:

1. It can be hard to get paid for your work when you’re a writer. In a world where some people think fifteen bucks is adequate compensation for a blog post … well, it can feel downright impossible to make a living with words.

2. Marketers and business owners don’t have the slightest clue how to hire a good writer. I’ve talked with enough of them to know that they have no idea what to look for when evaluating writers, so they often end up with content people who are churning out copy that’s best described as “meh.”

3. Writing has never been more important than it is right now. In the digital age, it’s all about engaging with your customers through content. Whether that’s blog posts, e-books, videos or social media, more often than not, those messages start with words.

So let’s do the math: Writers and business owners need each other.

Over the last few years I have half accidentally-stumbled and half barged my way in to the field of content marketing. It hasn’t always been easy — in fact, far from it, back when I was newly divorced single mom of two barely keeping my head above the poverty line. But eventually I found myself making a living — and then a darn good living — largely while working from home.

Now I’m in a spot where writer friends — both professional scribblers and “hobby” bloggers — ask me for advice. Rather than setting up coffee dates with everyone, fun as that is, I thought I’d just try to capture and share what I know here on this blog. (Psst … subscribe for email updates on the left.)

I’ve also recently found myself in the surprising position of talking to several companies about how to run content efficiently and how to hire writers who are worth their money. I’m happy to share those insights as well.

Content is changing and going in new directions all the time — it can be overwhelming and I certainly can’t claim to know it all. There are lots of ways to be a professional writer. I’ve managed to forge my own path over the years and carve out a sweet little professional niche for myself. If I can help other people do the same, it’s my privilege to do so.

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