You don't have to be the next Hemingway, Bronte, etc to be a professional writer.
As someone who has received hundreds of rejection letters, I find it alarming that there are so many talented writers out there, who refuse to put their entrepreneurial hats on.
This is a really strange time to be a writer. There are very little jobs in print journalism, the digital age is forcing the publishing industry to reinvent itself, and blogs have revolutionized the way everything from opinions to the latest news are distributed to the general public.
As a result, the pressure for writers to put their entrepreneurial hats on is a lot more crucial than ever before.
I've decided to compile this list today, in order to help writers, that want to put their talents to good use, and think beyond the traditional, writerly, path.
Here a couple of suggestions that work, for writers that want to branch beyond conventional, print journalism and publishing house options:
1) Company Blogs
Blogs have exploded in terms of their overall popularity. Not only has this affected the distribution of news and information, but it's also pressured companies to include a blog on their website.
No matter how big or small the company is they're either feeling the pressure to create a blog or they've already created a blog. Common problems with company blogs include dull content and inconsistent, infrequent publication dates. If they can afford it, companies will happily work with bloggers with relevant expertise/ web writing experience.
In an age of smartphones and social media, new apps are created all the time, and more established apps always need help with content, marketing, and updates. They're not always the highest paying options, but they look good on paper and allow your content to quickly be distributed to a large volume of people.
3) Web Designers
People who deal with the technical side of web design need writers too. Although they're brilliant at what they do, not all of them are good writers/ have the time to write their own content.
This one for sure makes it to the list. Why? Because some of my best opportunities I've had thus far have come from either business owners that want to work with both a web designer and a writer, and web designers that need quality content.
4) Independent Bloggers & (Online) Magazines
It's easier to build up writing samples quickly via blogs and online magazines, than via traditional, print journalism. That's something that I wish I knew when I started pitching for the very first time. Here are a two reasons, based on my personal experiences, why that's the case:
1) Print publications often publish less frequently than blogs and online magazines, so it often takes a lot longer for them to get back to you, pay you, and publish your work.
2) More blogs and online magazines are open to freelance submissions than print publications because there's a lot more demand for content. Print publications often rely mostly on a steady roster of in-house writers, editors, etc, therefore, they can be as picky as they want about freelance submissions.
5) Startups and Not For Profits
Although they're often restricted by a tighter budget, startups and not for profits often have lots to do, and because of their budgets, people are often forced to juggle a lot of different things at once. As a result, independent contractors are often valued and respected within not-for-profit organizations.
I'm a huge fan of freelancers working with not-for-profits because my first ever freelance project happened through someone who worked for a not-for-profit and was a family friend. The level of ambition is high, the dedication is high, and the massive level of creative freedom that freelancers have access to is typically pretty high.
If you want to branch out into freelance writing, you don't just have to write for magazines. There are so many different options out there, that I might have missed some of the available options. What types of non-traditional places have you sent pitches to? Feel free to comment, in the comment section below.