Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's time to apply like crazy

A year ago, I'd turn up my nose at much of the writing I'm doing today. Blogging for $12 a post? That would have been way beneath me.

But it's not one year ago. It's today. And today, there are very, very few writing jobs that are still beneath me.

A former editor of mine -- actually my first editor -- sent me an e-mail message yesterday asking me about comic-book writing. (I do some writing for independent comics. If you think the pay is bad for blogging or content writing, try writing a comic script for a comics company that isn't Marvel or DC.) Turns out, his newspaper chain just put him on a one-week unpaid furlough. It's an alternative, management said, to more layoffs.

So, yes, the writing and publishing industry is in the crapper these days, and a lot of freelance-writing careers are following them. I'm determined to not have this happen to me, if at all possible, so I'm supplementing my print-magazine clients -- who are dwindling every day, it seems -- with as much online writing as I can. This means that I'm applying for some jobs that I'd never, ever consider in previous years. Of course, so are a lot of other freelancers. That's why I apply for so many jobs, even some that may not perfectly match my skill sets. When there's so much competition, you have to throw a lot of cover letters out there and hope some stick. So far, I'd say I get about one or two potential hits a week. Not all of these turn into jobs, but some do.

There are two places every freelance writer should search regularly for online writing jobs: Deb Ng's Freelance Writing Jobs and Anne Wayman's About Freelance Writing. Anne and Deb do the hard work of scouring the Internet for job leads, shoveling through the junk on craigslist and other sites to provide us lazy freelance writers with the possible nuggets.


  1. Wow, good post. Glad I found this blog.

    These days I dread asking my writer friends "How's it going?" i never know when I'm going to get an answer like "My editor cancelled my column and is going to recycle blog content instead" or "My publication may be going under and I'm lucky I still have a job." It's a bummer!

  2. Hi, Lara:

    Thanks for your kind comments. What frightens me the most is when I look over the magazines I wrote for regularly last year. About 10 of them are now either out of business, online only or no longer using freelancers. I used to write regularly for the Chicago Tribune. Now that paper is becoming tissue-paper thin. It's a tough racket these days.