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    Gathering Clips

    The majority of us seek more than just to be writers. We want to be published writers. Allow me to take that one step further. We want to be paid, published writers. But, alas, the freelancing life is not an easy road traveled. There are more bumps in our path than we care to negotiate; and more often than not, frustration urges us to throw our dreams of a writing life in the attic to collect dust with the rest of our long forgotten possessions. It takes inner strength to combat thoughts of giving up.

    It seems that every paying market or client wants to see clips or a portfolio before they will commit to considering you as a writer. And understandably so. Before hiring a person to do a job, it only makes sense to ensure they possess the skills to deliver what they are being paid to do. Would you hire a contractor to install a new roof on your house without first checking his credentials? I would certainly hope not. The same goes for writers. You must be prepared to back up your claim as a wordsmith. Otherwise, work will be elusive to you.

    Most magazine editors want to see clips before they will take a chance on handing you an assignment. The reason? Simply put, they want to see if you can write, and do it in a style and to the specifications their publication requires.

    It's difficult to submit clips when you are first starting out in the freelancing world. You have to have clips in order to submit them.

    "But", you say, "I don't have any clips because I can't get any assignments! And if I can't get any assignments, how am I supposed to get some clips?"

    Settle down! All is not as hopeless as you seem to think it is. Collecting clips is actually easier than you may realize. You just have to set your sights a bit lower than that national magazine you just know will love your articles, if only they would give you the chance, and if they had an editor with a brain in his head, and you could run the darn magazine better than the fools they have sitting behind a desk on the 30th floor...

    Yeah...Yeah...I hear you. Only the lucky few are published in The New Yorker on their first submission. And most likely you are not one of them.

    So, start out small, and you'll have better luck.

    There are many opportunities out there to write for publication. Granted, they may not offer you tons of cash for your talent, but what they do offer is experience, a byline, a venue for your words to be read, and CLIPS! It doesn't matter that the filler you sold to the local weekly for five bucks is only a filler for a local weekly. It is also a published article you can use to your advantage. Look at local, regional and specialized publications that do not have large circulations. Think of the thousands of websites that are starving for fresh content. What about non-profit organizations that cannot afford to pay the high rates demanded by many professional writers? These are all opportunities for freelancers seeking to build a portfolio.

    Scouring the markets, frequenting job boards, and subscribing to several writer's websites and magazines are a must in the freelancing business. You should always be on the lookout for fresh opportunities. If you need clips, then write! Should you write for free? That is a question only you can answer. There are many publications and websites asking writers to write for little or no pay. If you decide to submit to these, you are not committing a sin, especially if you need published samples of your work. Writing tends to have a snowball effect. The more you submit, the better your chances of being published. Your stockpile of clips will breed like rabbits, and soon you will have to pick and choose which clips to send an interested editor.

    Copyright © 2001 Jim Soos

    Jim Soos discovered writing at the age of 34, when a story refused to leave his head. Drawing on his background as a former police officer, Jim transformed his idea into a novel length police thriller. Never seeking publication, he keeps the manuscript on his desk as a reminder to his discovery of writing. Today, Jim freelances, concentrating on business writing. Specializing in website content, he also writes press releases, newsletters, articles, and offers ghost writing and editing services to businesses. Jim is a contributing writer to suite101.com, writing about his favorite topic, Alaska. He is also retained as the Public Relations writer for HomeJobsOnline.com, and as the site's senior writer for its newsletter. No stranger to rejection letters, (he collects them as a hobby), Jim may edit his novel one of these days and seek publication.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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