10 Ways to Keep Your Freelance Writing Mojo Going
In 2008 I left my human resources career to pursue my passion of writing. I was published in a local magazine the following month. That was a great start to my journey, which seemed very promising. I thought that one success was going to get me published in my “dream” magazines without having to query first. I was wrong.
I submitted a few query; received either rejection letters or no response at all; got discouraged; and gave up freelancing completely. During that time, blogging became the “hot” thing to do, and I was drawn to it like a magnet. That was a blessing and a curse. While it helped to improve my writing skills, it took my focus away from what I should have been doing all along – freelance writing.
To keep you from making the same mistakes I did, I would like to share 10 things ways you can keep your freelance writing mojo going. These tips apply whether you are a full-time or sometime writer.
1. Write out your story idea. Flush out your story as much as you can during your first few drafts. Be sure to identify the central point. This will make it easier to select audiences.
2. Who is your audience? Think of all of the audiences that may be interested in your story. Some will be more obvious than others, but after a little brainstorming, you will have a pretty full list.
3. Which online and print publications cater to these audiences? To find print publications, use Writer’s Market. You’ll find information categorized by topic, genre and name of publication. They also detail the audiences served, topics accepted, and the best way to submit your story. Conduct a search for online magazines or visit Twitter to find online publications.
4. Review the writer’s guidelines for each publication. You will find these guidelines by doing a general Google search or going to the websites of the individual publications. Be sure to write and submit the story as specified. Sometimes publications want the entire story, but query letters are preferred in many cases. You may even be asked to mail your submission.
5. Write query letters. When writing query letters, share your idea and tell editors why their audience would care about the story. To get better results, specify in which department your story would fit. If you have an editor’s name, use it. If you don’t have the editor’s name, find it. Also, keep your query letter to one page.
6. Be sure to submit your query letter. This may sound obvious; it isn’t. If you second guess or doubt yourself at ANY time, your dream of seeing your name in a byline will continue to be just that – a dream.
7. Wait. But don’t wait too long. Some magazines will tell you when you should hear from them if they are interested. Others won’t say anything at all. If you don’t hear anything within a month, follow-up.
8. Follow-up. You want to do this for two reasons: 1) to confirm that your story had been received, and 2) to let the editor know you are serious. If you don’t hear from the publication at all, move on. There are more audiences waiting to read your story. Continue to submit future stories to that publication, though.
9. Have a tracking system. Keep a log of the date you sent the query letter, the title of the story and the name of the publication. This makes it easier to follow-up on your submissions and to see additional opportunities with other publications and audiences.
10. Keep on moving. Laugh in the face of rejection. Keep submitting stories to the publications in which you’re really interested; they will notice you. Also, continue to build clips and credibility by submitting your work to smaller, lesser-known publications.
If being published is your desire, keep on writing, even if you only have a little time. This will build your confidence and credibility. Most importantly, though, writing often will help you keep your freelance writing mojo going, which will ultimately increase your visibility and profitability.
Marcie Hill is a gifted writer and blogger who loves sharing stories, educating her audiences with little known and unknown facts, and giving people a platform to tell their stories. Find her at www.marciewrites.com.