Oh my goodness, I cannot believe it’s been a full month since I last posted on this blog. Shame on me. And, I apologize.
I started focusing more on my freelance writing – initially out of necessity, then because I found it helped my craft. Freelance took off, which was both good and not-so-good. Good because bringing in an income doing something you love is always good, plus I’m writing outsize my non-fiction comfort zone…which means I might do the same when working on my novels. Not-so-good because I’ve put my fiction writing on the back burner. My hope is that I kind find that balance again in 2011. I managed to balance out my time up until recently — last month — when we received some financially devastating news. So, I had to put more energy to writing that brought in an income.
I am incredibly grateful for those freelance writing opportunities. Not only for the monetary reward, but because the work is pushing me to grow as a writer. Plus, I’m learning about things I never thought about before — and I’m taking down notes on ways to incorporate those newsy bits in my novels.
Some time ago I asked how I could make this blog more helpful. Of course posting more consistently is a given – sorry, again. But I thought I’d focus on ways writers can branch out…either in the genres they write or by giving serious thought to writing ‘for the other side’ – nonfiction. So, here’s the first post on Freelance Writing.
I’m going to divide this by freelance writing for print vs web content — because there are differences (and I’m doing both, though only starting on the web content opportunities). My first freelance gig came by way of another blog I write for a local magazine. Back in the spring, they were looking for someone to blog a few times a month on various topics. I applied, the editor liked this blog and my writing style, and gave me the chance. I had the freedom to write on a variety of issues – mainly my experiences as a mom in Vancouver, WA (it’s a family magazine). A few months later, I asked if I could query her with some article ideas. She said yes, I did – and my first print article came out.
Now, I don’t know if having an article published in a magazine makes me an author or not – I’ve heard yays and nays, but it sure does give one confidence. I’ve written a few more pieces for the magazine – Vancouver Family Magazine – and now for other local magazines and newspapers. I sent my first query to a national magazine last month.
I love writing for the local magazines because I can write about what I now – what I experience living daily in this part of the country. And you can establish great relationships with editors of local magazines. They live in your community, you see them out and about, they seem incredibly approachable (magazines more than newspaper editors) — if you not yet confident enough as a writer (are we ever???), local editors tend to take the time to provide suggestions for article topics or insider tips. I think of the editor at Vancouver Family Magazine as more a mentor — and I don’t know if that happens when you’re looking for guidance/feedback on your novel (until you have an agent).
So, those are my thoughts on starting local if you’re thinking about branching out to freelance writing. Next post – differences between writing for magazines and newspapers.