Besides impressing others by being able to say, "Oh, I'm a freelance writer," or "Yes, I've been published in Family Circle," there are other reasons why pursuing a freelance writing career or even working part-time as a freelancer are good for you as a writer.
- Flexibility: One of the best benefits of being a freelancer is the flexibility. I'm not going to tell you it's easy--because it's not. You'll work hard, and you'll work long hours; sometimes just to get one article finished or five query letters researched and sent in. But you can generally do this work at 5:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m.--whatever your schedule calls for. Freelancing is perfect for stay-at-home parents who have a different schedule almost every day or even writers working day jobs but hoping some time to freelance full time. I would say my favorite thing about freelancing, besides how interesting it is to write different articles and meet a wide variety of people, is the flexibility!
- Extra income: That's the joy of freelancing--you get paid--or at least, you are supposed to. And in real, live money--not copies and not t-shirts or other merchandise. Whether you write for small or large markets, glossy magazines or your local paper, a paycheck should accompany your hard work. It's hard for me to tell you how much you should get for your submission--until you break into the national magazines, you are probably not going to be funding your child's college education. But you could easily fund next year's Christmas purchases or that cruise vacation that you wanted to take with consistent querying of small to medium-size markets. And I always encourage my students to go for the glory--why not send in that query to O the Oprah Magazine first before you send it to a regional woman's magazine? You never know when an editor might love your idea.
- Your resume: If you're freelancing while you're working on your memoir, a nonfiction book proposal, or your novel, you're also building your resume or platform and collecting clips. You also probably have a bio included in several of these freelance publications, where you can list your blog, your website, your upcoming work, and so on. Any exposure you can get for your upcoming work is great. Any networking you can do while freelancing is doubly great. And finally, you are getting all types of writing and publishing experience that is invaluable during these experiences.
If I haven't convinced you yet, then here's a reason I know will convince you to give freelancing a try. (smiles) You become better at TRIVIA! (Think of all the trivia nights you can attend--people will be fighting over you to be on their team.) You are bound to learn interesting tidbits of information about your community, history, sports, and so on while researching and writing articles. In other words, you are building your trivia knowledge.
If you're interested, but you have no idea where to start, my freelancing class is being offered in January 2012 (starts on the 9th). It's great for anyone starting out with freelancing or who has been doing it for a while without much success. To view the syllabus and sign up, click here.
post by Margo L. Dill
photo by Roger H. Goun; http://www.flickr.com/photos/sskennel/2330323726/