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    You Can be a Freelance Writer!

    In the writing business, freelance writing is among one of the most competitive fields. If you're thinking of making a career out of freelance writing, you need to have a functional background or a tremendous amount of stocked information on just about anything.

    And being a freelance writer is not just a day in the hay.


    Jump, then stay afloat!

    Rusty Fischer, author of the ebook FREEDOM TO FREELANCE sums it best:

    "It's really easy to "jump" into freelancing," he begins. "It's the staying afloat that's the hard part! Many people dream of working in their pajamas and padding around in slippers, but the reality is that you still have to produce, many times on tight deadlines, without the ability to have face-to-face meetings with someone to flesh things out or get proper explanations of the client's expectations."

    When Fischer was laid off from his day job, he realized it was time to pursue writing opportunities.

    "Seriously, I've wanted to freelance full-time for years, but just never had the courage, or the opportunity," Fischer shares. "Now I have both!

    "I've always wanted to write, and to get paid to write, whether it's vampire stories or a brochure for Vitamin-B, makes me feel like I've accomplished, in some small way, a lifelong dream. Plus I feel that I've put all this time and effort into building a reputable portfolio, why waste it?" he explains.

    As a freelance writer, Fischer says he's done it all - "Poems for kids to erotic poems that make my wife blush, religious material for More God's Abundance to blood and guts to vampire stories, education plans to how to have a romantic date for twenty dollars or less.

    "I see each writing opportunity as just that, an opportunity to learn and grow, and possibly find more freelance work in the same genre down the line," Fischer continues. "As far as ease of getting published, I would say my nonfiction articles are much easier to sell than my fictional stories, but it's all in the timing."


    A lucrative freelance writing career

    Fischer was first published by Frank Schaffer Publications more than six years ago. It was for an education series on creative writing called, The Creative Writing Made Easy series.

    "I still get royalty checks to this day, so I must have done something right," Fischer shares. "Although FS isn't exactly knocking down my door to ask me to write new books!"

    Fischer admits that his freelance career is far from being lucrative.

    "But I get by just as well as I used to working full-time for someone else, so that's lucrative to me," he explains. "On the other hand, some novelists write for years and never get to the point of being able to support themselves with their writing, while magazine writers are constantly in demand. It depends on the person, the company they work for, and their ability."


    A daily dose of rejection

    As a veteran freelance writer, Fischer still gets rejections on a daily basis.

    "Respect is hard to come by as a freelancer," Fischer admits. "And it's something I struggle with each day. People feel the need, almost the requirement, to say something negative about your writing, if only to fill an uncomfortable pause or "get their money's worth."

    "At this point, however, I feel comfortable enough in my career to be proud of what I've done, and not to let the naysayers get me down too much. Still, I have to admit that it affects me and sometimes gets me down. At those times, I just look at my little bookshelf of accomplishment and smile-it usually helps."


    Problems of the freelance writer

    When asked if he encounters problems as a freelance writer, Fischer says, "Lots!"

    "There's the uncertainty that the well of jobs will dry up. The boredom of sitting at home all day long. The eyestrain of constantly surfing the Web for new writing opportunities. The lack of a water cooler and anyone to talk to around it!" he enumerates. "Basically, these are just inconveniences, but as a freelancer, they're always in the back of your mind. You just have to deal with them and have faith that your perseverance, talent, and work ethic will pull you through!"

    And because freelance writers are basically self-employed and own their time, Fischer says there is a downslide to this too.

    "It's easy for a deadline to get away with you, or to sink into the habit of quitting work earlier and starting later every day," he explains. "However, it's rewarding to work at your own pace and choose which days will be "all out" and which will be "slow." There's not too many jobs where if you meet your deadline by noon you can send your stuff in, hop in the car, and take in a double-feature for the rest of the day!"


    Ok, if you're ready to jump...

    Writers who want to go freelance full-time had better take Fischer's advice:

    "Look online AND off," he advises. "Don't limit yourself to saying, "I'll only take jobs I find on the Internet," or "I don't need the Internet to find work." I found my latest writing gig, and a great one, in the local paper last Sunday morning. My next one came from Freelancewriting.com. You just never know where the next request for a professional freelance writer will come from, so it helps to look into both."

    Searching the Internet for freelance writing assignments is another step.

    "From there, bookmark a few "job postings" sites and look at them two or three times a day, if they're the kind that get updated frequently," Fischer says. "Have your best samples ready in e-mail format (no indents, a space between each paragraph, no funky fonts or symbols) and start sending into every interesting job you come across."

    "Keep your day job until you're absolutely ready," he continues. "This is a business, and unless you've got some other kind of financial support, it could be rough-going in the beginning.

    "I have one last piece of advice," says Fischer. "Never stop looking! Even if your plate is full, spend those five or ten minutes a day checking out your favorite job boards. You never know when a great gig is going to pop up, and you don't want to miss it just because you're busy. When it rains it pours, but when it's dry, it can get pretty dry, so it's best to stock up for those dry days!"


    Rusty's recommended books

    • Moira Allen's Writing.com
    • Any of Angela-Adair Hoy's writing books
    • Jenna Glatzer's The More Than Any Human Being Needs to Know About Freelance Writing Workbook

    Copyright © 2001 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

    Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ is the author of the book, WEEKLY WRITES: 52 Weeks of Writing Bliss!

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