Job opportunies for journos -- Go for it

Dateline: Mon 27 Jun 2011

With much great gratitude to friend Tom Henderson, who sends this our way, along with his own vitals -- and we do wish him well, as he wishes us:

"Tom Henderson is a researcher, but his work is freelance and he hasn't had a W2/W4 in more than a dozen years, yet seems to survive and thrive. This guest column comes from the freelance world that he lives in, in tech journalism and reporting. In fact, he started a new blog today at called Rantopolis. Wish him well.

"If you're out of work, or just need to supplement your income, there are thousands of ways of doing it. First, don't take any old drivel-- you have to 1) eat 2) pay taxes and 3) rinse and repeat. Get paid what you're worth, and remember that you get to pick your own charities. These sites post reasonably good jobs: (copywriting)

"Other places to go are the publishing houses of various trades. Go to Barnes and Noble or your favorite PRINT magazine stand and buy $30 of magazines you like. Get familiar with them. Then go online and pitch their editors, now that you know what they need-- or can work with the editors(s) to improve their publication. Virtually all print magazines have had staff cuts and now use freelancers more than ever. Online, the opportunities are different, but the pieces are shorter and the economics/dynamics are different.

"There are also various writers guilds, press associations, and other online resources that cost anywhere from zero to a few hundred per year. I can recommend some that I've dealt with, or that have recommendations of colleagues, if you'd like.

"I live fully, and have put several children through college (some at retail) on freelancer's income. You can, too. To become a successful freelancer, you must discipline your time, and not screw off surfing the web for grins. Freelance editors abound, so if your copy isn't perfect, you can have someone tidy your copy for little money.

"Finally, budget yourself, time and money-wise. Save save save. Don't take on more than you can do. Turn everything in on time, and to spec. You'll be happy you did, because about half of the writers out there
don't do these basics. Remember that the online world is timed differently than daily newspapers. Depth and linking are important, as is the ability to write your own head and decks-- and understand how
keywords help promote your article online. Good luck."


hendy [Member] said:

There are more if anyone wants some. 1099 is an ok life.

2011-06-27 22:01:16

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Thanks, Tom, for taking the time and effort to share this information.

That's great you have been able to be so successful in this. I wonder if it has a lot to do with your skills/talents in the area of technical writing. Seems there is always quite a bit of demand for that niche.

I know hundreds of writers who have tried freelancing and most don't make enough to pay for bird seed.

I did fairly well 8-10 years ago. But with the economy the way it is now, it's very rough sledding.

I'll check out the websites you listed, though. Thanks again.

2011-06-27 22:16:27

hendy [Member] said:

I firmly believe that tenacity and finding editors with budget is the key. Once there, good writers and journos have few problems. Having a variety of clients is also important, so as to defray/diversify income sources, as budgets and funding are mercurial.

It's a bit like playing violin: creative endeavors mean you have to practice every day, and some of us forget that fact, then get rusty, then face "restart" issues getting back in the groove. The trick is: never leave the groove once you're there for any reason (barring the obvious).

2011-06-28 08:36:26

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