One of the best ways to land freelance writing gigs is to network with successful writers – and here are several tips that will help you do that, and get more writing jobs! P.S. None of them involve bidding on jobs or visiting Craigslist or exploring Elance (not that there’s anything wrong with that)…
Before the tips, a quip:
“Try to develop steady work habits, maybe a more modest quota, but keep to it,” says John Updike. “Don’t be thin-skinned or easily discouraged because it’s an odds-long proposition; all of the arts are. Many are called, few are chosen, but it might be you.”
The more networking you do, the more likely you’ll be the writer who is chosen! For more advice (and I daresay better) writing advice for freelancers, click 88 Money-Making Writing Jobs by Bob Bly. And, read on for networking tips for successful writers…
Networking Tips for Successful Writers – How to Get More Writing Jobs
Network with businesspeople – not just writers. Late last spring, I was invited to a party by one of my husband’s coworkers. It’s a women’s travel group; they meet every month to plan big and little vacations all over the world. My husband’s coworker said it’d be a fun, good way to network – and she couldn’t have been more right! I went to the party not really thinking about networking or landing writing jobs, but I ended up landing 13 writing assignments within four months…
Follow your gut – don’t be shy. At the party, I happened to sit next to a woman who described how she organizes a particular fund-raising event every year. She was confident, assertive, interesting, comfortable in her own skin, smart, funny, successful, and established in her field. My type of woman! I liked her immediately – but more than that, I felt drawn to her. So, when she went to freshen her drink, I followed her. I didn’t even know what I was going to say to her…I just thought she was cool. If you’re an introvert (like me) who doesn’t like to network (like me), you may simply need to change how you think of “networking.” For help with that, read Tips for Networking Successfully for Introverts.
Tell people you’re a writer. I have no idea how our conversation evolved – and neither does she – but we almost immediately discovered that we’re both writers. She works as an editor and writer in communications – she has an established business and medical writing career. I’m a freelance writer and blogger, more on the health and wellness end of things. I’m a bit green, compared to her. When she discovered that I write for a living, she said she edits the newsletter of a large health organization and she’s looking for a health writer – and badda bing, badda boom! I was suddenly networking as a writer (and fixing myself a fresh apple martini. Yum; could life get any better?).
Don’t think of networking as just a way to get writing jobs. Networking for successful writers is about getting and giving support, learning how to be more organized, and advancing your writing career in specific ways. Networking is about making friends who do what you do – who love to write and who love to help other writers be successful! Networking doesn’t have to be egocentric, one-sided, or selfish…it’s about helping other writers be successful while you build your own career.
Be open to taking new writing jobs. Back to meeting my writer friend/editor friend at the party: I was a little skeptical of the seven medical articles she wanted me to write, so I gave her a per hour rate that I thought was too high and that I was kinda hoping she’d turn down (and in hindsight I realize I probably could have doubled it!). She hired me to write the articles – and I researched, wrote, and edited through my skepticism, fear that I was out of my league, and feelings of insecurity.
Share job leads. Just today, I landed a six-article writing gig for a major Canadian website…and it’s because my new writer friend and editor recommended me for the job. That’s networking for successful writers in action, fellow scribes! Now, I just need to find a way to be as helpful to my friend as she was to me…I also owe Susan Johnston of the Urban Muse a big fat juicy kiss because she sent me a job lead a few weeks ago for AOL Health (it hasn’t panned out yet, but it may). She also nominated Quips & Tips for Successful Writers to be a Top 10 Writing Blog — and now it is!
Remember that the “proof is in the pudding.” You are what you write, fellow scribes. Back to the part and my new BFF writer/editor friend; she said she rarely encounters writers she actually respects and can recommend for writing jobs. Networking and landing writing gigs isn’t just about who you know – it’s about how well you write, how responsible you are, and how well you work with editors. To network successfully with other writers and land writing gigs, you need to work hard and stand out from the crowd.
If you have any networking tips for writers – or any thoughts on these ways to get writing jobs – please comment below!