So you want to be a freelance writer (part two): Be the go-to writer
One surefire way to be successful as a freelance writer is to be the go-to writer. So what is that?
Basically, you need to become indispensable to your editors. How? Easy. You’ll have to set pride aside and treat your freelancing as the job that it is. You don’t have a boss standing over your shoulder demanding that you perform, so you have to perform that role for yourself.
1. Don’t be an entitled, demanding primadonna who only takes the choicest and most exciting assignments with the greatest readership. Do you want to make a living or not? Then suck it up and take some assignments that just aren’t as thrilling. Stop acting as though you’re so much better than those lowly stories.
2. Pitch and accept the writing assignments that no one else wants (covering school board and township meetings and writing holiday features) to become your editor’s favorite go-to writer. In fact, if you can show your skills by taking those dull, lowly assignments that the staff writers dread and write them with some aplomb and flair, your editor will be impressed and likely ask you to continue taking on bigger and better stories.*
3. Build up goodwill by being willing to take the boring, dull, and pencil-in-the-eye back page stories, and better assignments will flow your way much faster. Be a diva demanding only the most exciting features at your peril – no one will want to work with you.
* Warning: When you transform articles that are usually dry, uninteresting sawdust into lively and stylish gems, don’t be surprised if your editor asks you to continue doing those pieces even after the bigger assignments role in. After all, she’s got a good thing going with you. However, please note that you may elect to continue doing these smaller, less interesting pieces because they are good, steady money. And what writer doesn’t enjoy being paid for their craft? 🙂