to Find Writing Work That Fulfills Your Passion
By Patricia Fry
Copyright © 2009 by Patricia Fry, All Rights Reserved
president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and
editor of the monthly SPAWN Market Update, I often respond to
writers' questions. One of our most frequently asked questions relates
to finding writing work.
example, Lydia wrote, "My dream is to quit my job and become a full-time
writer. Can you tell me how to get started?"
asked, "What does it take to become a freelance writer? I'm disabled and
want to do this work from my home."
writes, "I'm a college graduate with a degree in journalism, but I can't
find work. Can you give me some job search advice?"
you're looking for corporate work, want to write for a newspaper or
yearn to do freelance writing or editing, the opportunities are
plentiful. If you can construct a sentence and you're willing to
approach job hunting with gusto, an open mind and a lot of creativity,
you will find work.
checklist for job hunters:
to online writing-oriented newsletters and join online writing
organizations that offer job listings for writers. Many of them also
keep you current on publishing trends. Here are a few resources to get
you started: SPAWN (www.spawn.org),
Writer's Weekly Newsletter and website (www.writersweekly.com),
Freelance Writer's Report
www.writers-editors.com and Writing-World (www.writingworld.com)
familiar with job search sites for writers.
Attend writers/publishers' events and ask people how they got their
jobs/assignments. Participate in interactive web sites for writers. Find
local organizations through your library, bookstores and in the calendar
section of the newspaper. Locate online sites using your favorite search
engine. Type in "writers groups" or "writers," for example. I found a
potential publisher for a client's book recently while networking with a
fellow writer. A few years ago, a writer friend suggested I contact an
editor she knows about trying my hand at technical writing. I ended up
writing a dozen articles for this magazine during that 12-month period.
your writing services.
A little volunteer work might land you the job you seek. Offer to write
the church bulletin, a company newsletter or a press release for a
charity organization, for example. Not only are you gaining experience
and adding to your portfolio, but you're showing off your talent and
skills to all of the right people.
classified employment ads
every week and apply for every job that has "writing" in it. Post your
resume on some of the major Internet recruiting sites such as
monster.com. And search their databases for job opportunities.
and keep adding to it. Make copies of your published articles,
brochures, etc. to show prospective employers/clients.
and post your portfolio and resume there.
Write every chance you get. Practice, practice, practice.
to all types of writing. You may have your heart set on becoming rich
and famous writing your own novel or landing a job as the
editor-in-chief for Reader's Digest. In the meantime, however,
accept the work that comes your way. Do some PR work for your neighbor,
ghost write a book for a client, revise some technical manuals. Get paid
and learn new skills.
If You Want a Writing Job in the Corporate World
materials from companies
for which you'd like to work and see if you can improve upon them. Show
your ideas to the appropriate department head.
and service clubs where you can network with businessmen and women who
might hire someone with your skills.
a temp agency
as a writer. This may be your foot-in-the-door.
If You're Hoping for a Job With a Major Newspaper
at a small newspaper
while waiting for your big break. There's an ongoing turnover at
newspapers, so they're always hiring. This is not a glamorous job, but
it's a step in the right direction. I got my first job writing a
business column for a local newspaper. First, I studied the newspaper to
see what was lacking and saw a need for a business column. I went out
and interviewed a couple of new business owners and wrote up some sample
columns. When I approached the publisher with my ideas and my samples,
he hired me on the spot.
story on speculation
for the newspaper of your choice. Watch for the opportunity to write
about a local high profile issue and offer it to the newspaper for a
fee. Attend meetings and events that aren't being covered by staff and
offer to report on them. Your effort is bound to get the editor's
Create Your Own Work
articles for magazines.
For this profession, you'll need writing, organizational and research
skills as well as patience and a great deal of self-discipline. You'll
also need the following tools: a computer, Writer's Market and
A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit
(Matilija Press, www.matilijapress.com).
Start by approaching busy freelance editors and see if they need help
accommodating their clients. The editors I know often turn clients away
because they're too busy.
and be willing to do the work necessary to reach your goals. Many people
who ask me for guidance in the writing field are not willing to take the
give up your day job.
If you need the money and can't keep waiting for THE job to come along,
go to work and write in your spare time. "What spare time?" you might
ask. This may be one of those situations where you have to make some
sacrifices. I once wrote an entire book in 8 months while working
full-time. How? I got up at 4 every morning and wrote for two hours
before going to work. I also devoted my weekends to writing.
checklist to generate other ideas. The point is to keep on keeping on.
My writer friend, Kathy, earns a living for herself and two sons writing
technical manuals. After struggling long and hard to find this job, she
advises other writers, "You cannot win if you do not play."
Patricia Fry is a full-time freelance writer and the author
of 29 books including, The Right Way to Write, Publish
and Sell Your Book, (Matilija Press, Jan. 2006).
http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. She is also
the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and
http://www.spawn.org. Follow Patricia's informative
publishing blog at