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Do you ever have days where you feel like you’re floundering in your writing career? Like the small steps you take each and every day to generate ideas, polish your work, hit the send button and earn those freelance paychecks are getting you no closer to paying the mortgage or any other substantial bills? Believe me, I’ve been there. But I’m also here to tell you not to give up on your goals. If you put it in the time and dedicate yourself to making yourself a better writer/editor, you will be rewarded.
The time I’ve put into freelance writing has landed me two different editorial positions in the past ten years. One, with a regional parenting magazine, didn’t work out because the position was a job share, and I realized a working mom has to have sick days, vacation time, etc. I left the company after a year on good terms and freelanced for them several months before going to work for a competing publication. The other editorial position was part-time and allowed me to work remotely. While it worked better for my schedule and having two kids in elementary school, it didn’t pay as much as the first position.
A few months ago I was at a crossroads when the magazine where I worked remotely folded. While I was still lamenting the loss of income, regular clients (such as WOW!) continued to provide me with opportunities for freelance projects. And then, through the power of LinkedIn (it does work!), the original magazine I worked for realized I was “back on the market,” so to speak. Within a week, I had a small but regular gig copyediting for their publication (remotely) and some website projects also came my way. Starting next week, I get the chance to freshen up my “work” wardrobe and take a temporary position at this magazine while their current editor goes on maternity leave for three months. If I hadn’t worked to maintain my contacts in the industry, continued getting publication credits, or spent time publishing my articles in other magazines and newspapers, I would probably still be banging my head on my keyboard.
So my advice to you is to keep going. Put in the time. Do the research. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and make those connections. Make yourself indispensible to regular clients if you’re looking for more in your professional career as a writer. It will pay off.
In what ways are you working to build up your own writing network? What opportunities have come your way because of the connections you’ve made?