Who’s kidding whom? As creative artists and artisans, fiction-writers or not, we all want to write what we want to write.
|Aggressive promotion, not a muse, earns you income in a crowded writing market.|
Writers hold an idealistic standard for where our printed words fall. We covet that moment when we see our byline in print above our hard work.
The reality is that getting published and getting paid can sometimes be two very separate things. We may dream of our articles in the glossies, but while we’re anxiously awaiting a response from editors, we still have to put food on the table, heat the house and pay off the Christmas bills.
They say that writing is a lonely business, that writers are introverts, that writing is all about the muse. At times I think “they” are right. But if we want to be successful and prolific, we have to set those nostalgic images aside. We need to change our own mindset of who and what we are. And if we want an income, we must aggressively pursue markets for our work.
If new to trying to live by the pen, you may have overlooked the obvious. If you’re not committed to expanding your opportunities then don’t bother reading any further. Some writers are self-sufficient and income might not matter to them.
In the real world there are potential clients all around you. There are the small business owners and our communities. Local business owners are a great source of work and revenue. Many might even be exited to learn about your services and how you can help them.
If you do anything different this year, make it a resolution to attend a local chamber of commerce or business-networking meeting. Business owners are busy people, but they understand the value of networking to market their skills, products or services and to meet others who can help them achieve their goals.
Freelance writers are small business owners too, although it’s often hard for us to see ourselves in that light. Unfortunately, like most business owners, marketing our product is the hardest part of the job. But it’s necessary and not so hard once you make the commitment to get started.
When you attend a meeting, write your profession in big letters on your nametag and be amazed at how many people are interested in meeting a writer. Remember, they’re looking for others whose services can help their business grow. Their gears are definitely turning as they learn more about what you do.
Think ahead of time about how your writing can help a business and develop a 30 second “speech” about what you do and how you do it. “I enjoy providing an avenue for experts to share their knowledge within their industry via ghostwriting articles for them.” Or, “One of the things I do is to connect employers with their workers by providing interesting and informative articles for company newsletters.”
You can be vague or specific depending on the type of writing you’d like to do. Can you ghostwrite articles in their industry, using them as the expert? Can you improve content on their website? Can you write or edit training manuals and newsletters?
If the answer is yes, and you’re interested in doing any of these things, you have a ready-made market surrounding you in these meetings. You just need to let them know you exist and how you can help. Don’t forget to hand them a business card while you’re telling them about your writing services.
The great thing about networking meetings is that they’re all about meeting people. So even if you are that proverbial introvert, someone will talk with you and introduce you to someone else. You will be amazed at how many business owners can use your services. And even if you don’t land a paying job immediately following a meeting, know that your name and profession will have been filed in many address books for future reference or to pass on to another business that might need your services.
And, while you’re working on promoting your business through the local community, don’t forget that you’ll have made your own contacts that might have very interesting stories to write about in the future.
Karen Braynard is a contributing correspondent to a small handful of local weekly newspapers, a feature writer for The Senior Guide and aspiring full-time freelance magazine writer with a few clips under her belt. http://www.kbwrite.com email: email@example.com