Plenty of people want to find writing jobs. Some want to be Actual Writers who make a living off of their poetry, fiction, essays, journalism, etc. Others simply have a niche: a profession, talent, or hobby they can talk about for money. Both categories have their pros and cons, and both can find writing jobs.
Those who set out to find a job writing should possess a few requisite writing skills before they begin. Remember that the ability to write well is the most important qualification you can have when pursuing writing jobs. That being said, here’s how to make sure you find the writing jobs you want.
Seek Out Your Dream Writing Jobs
This may seem incredibly obvious, but the first places you look for writing jobs should be with the publications you read the most. Although it’s true that you might not make your literary debut in The New Yorker – and if you do, you should be writing this article, not me – you should still familiarize yourself with the editors, staff writers, and submissions processes. That way, when you’ve mastered the art of writing a sonnet, you’ll be able to submit it with confidence.
You should also check these publications frequently. Following your favorite online magazine or journal on Facebook and Twitter could mean the difference between knowing that they’re hiring and letting an opportunity pass you by.
Start a Personal Blog
I believe in blogging. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Should I start a blog?,” the answer is yes! Everyone can blog, and everyone who wants to write – in any capacity – should start as soon as possible.
Before you land your first writing job, you’re still going to have to show whatever editors you pitch that you can write. It’s unlikely you’ll find an editor who will take a chance on you without any evidence of your writing skills. Having a personal blog means always having sample pieces to show potential employers.
Some people think blogging comes off as insincere or unprofessional, because there’s this silly idea that bloggers can’t be Actual Writers. Don’t believe this myth. Almost all of the publications I’ve worked with have put me on their teams based on pieces I wrote and self-published here on Kristian Wilson, Writing. It worked for me, and it can work for you, too.
Don’t Be Afraid to Work for Free
Many people will counsel you to never work for free. Often, these are the people who believe you should work for content mills, where you will be paid a penny per word, to get your name out there. Although the argument that anything is better than nothing has merit, writing for content mills can leave you trapped, and without time to find better projects.
Writing for free can have massive benefits that you’re sure to overlook if you ignore every outlet that won’t pay you. As a newbie freelancer, I would have had a difficult time finding a place that would accept my article, “Is Chrono Trigger a Feminist Game?,” but it was exactly what The Artifice was looking for. Publishing that article gave me a great byline that helped me find paying writing jobs. It didn’t pay in dollars and cents, but it paid in other, more valuable ways.
When You Do Get Paid, Get Paid
I hate content mills. There, I said it. Every time I see a job listing offering to pay me $1 for every 100 words, I scroll right past it. I think I’m worth more than a penny per word, and I think you are, too.
Freelance for long enough, and you’ll eventually get asked for your going rate. If you’ve only been working for a few dollars per post, it will be difficult to negotiate a higher rate from your new employer. After all, why should they pay you ten times what the content mills offer you?
Hold out for better-paying gigs, and you’ll reap the rewards over and over again. For an 800-word article, the difference between a penny per word and six cents per word is $40. If you write 800 words each weekday, that’s $200 you could be making every week: over $10,000 you’re missing out on each year.
When you’re looking for writing jobs, remember: you and your writing have value. Whether you want to be an Actual Writer or you’re just writing for hobby money, you need to have confidence in yourself and your work in order for your searches to be successful.
Check out more writing tutorials here!