This column appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Word Weaver.


The Writing Fairy® Eat My Dust Column

by Dorothea Helms

When it comes to freelance writing, a little lateral thinking goes a long way. Open your mind to out-of-the-box ideas, and you can come up with out-of-the-ordinary ways to boost your bottom line.

First, consider your writing. Is it as tight and creative as it could be? I’m a great believer in the concept that the more you write, the better you get – BUT you can stagnate if you never get out there and take a workshop or course. One of the most useful things I’ve done in my career is to attend workshops through the Editors’ Association of Canada.

What’s that? You don’t want to be an editor? Well fine – but what better way to find out how to please editors than to find out what they do? I learned so much about writing by being exposed to what editors look for, that I eventually became an editor. Who knew? Plus, EAC provides great food for lunch.

And how about marketing your work? Everyone thinks of magazines and newspapers – BUT I make most of my living writing other things. Have you ever approached your municipality to ask if the Communications Department farms out writing jobs to freelancers? Some may not have a department to handle things like brochures, newsletters, tourism guides, etc. Others may still opt to contract out some of their writing jobs because their staff is so busy.

Local businesses, ad agencies, public relations firms, businesspeople who need ghostwriters for speeches and columns – have yourself a good brainstorm and see how many avenues you might pursue to expand your business. A few years ago, I even got paid to write humorous fortune cookies for a business group. “If all you bring home is the bacon, you end up fried.” OK, it’s corny, but it’s a living.

No BUTS about it – there’s more to successful freelancing than creative writing. Creative marketing helps a lot. Get out there and pitch a variety of markets.

REMEMBER: “Entrepreneur who put all her eggs in one basket end up scrambling for business!”