Entry-Level Freelance Writing Gigs?
June 16, 2019 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I need to take a baby step into kickstarting a writing career. Help me find easy cheeseball things to start on and get my feet wet again.

I had to downshift all my writing into hobby/backburner status while coping with a lengthy period of chronic un/under employment, especially when the un/underemployment burned me out altogether. But a growing dissatisfaction with my "day job", coupled with being very close to being debt-free, has got me thinking of how I could change my career up soon. And my roommate deciding to make the leap and move to L.A. in search of screenwriting work has made me think "....writing. Right."

So I want to ease back into it. I have some experience with online content and paid content - some articles for Atlas Obscura (which you can find) and some articles for a theater company in Scranton - but they're all a bit old. I'd like to get some more recent experience under my belt. But also I still have a day job I need to be functional at, so I want to go a little low-stress on this; not quite as brainless as stuff for a content farm, but close.

Is there some kind of place where I can find jobs to bid on, quick little just-a-couple-paragraph one-off articles or blurbs for small fundraising brochures, or whatever, for me to just grab here and there and crank out so I can get back into a practice again, and also build a foundation to build on for bigger stuff? The day job also gives me the luxury of not having to fret about how much they pay, but I would like paid work.

Ideally I'm thinking something that's a combination of, like, Fiverr and Linkedin. But definitely entry level/simple/beginner. For now. There are a lot of places where I can find work to pitch that I've already written, but nothing that's a job board for "I have a thing I need someone to write."

I don't have any experience in technical or medical writing, alas. My writing is more general, with a bit of an emphasis on movies and travel.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Work & Money (10 answers total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
I don’t know if this is helpful or not, but it looks like you’ve posted ~200 questions and ~9500 answers to AskMe. It might be a relatively painless way to begin to pull some writing samples together?
posted by doctor tough love at 10:11 AM on June 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't just want clips, I want to take the next step into a regular practice.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on June 16, 2019

Best answer: Textbroker sounds close to what you’re looking for.
posted by hazel79 at 11:06 AM on June 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Check out Verblio (used to be Blog Mutt). Zero stress, lots of stuff to write, decent pay for the word count. It's not quite bidding, you just pick an article and write it. Basically writing things on spec. The customer might approve it and pay for it, but sometimes they don't--in that case, you can recycle it to another customer or use it elsewhere.

It's maybe not ideal to make a career out of writing for them (though some people can and do), but it's great for practice/refreshing your skillz/making a few bucks on the side.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 11:21 AM on June 16, 2019 [12 favorites]

You can pitch tourism boards in your state, and others nearby. Many towns and counties work to attract folks from your specific big city to their smaller community for day or weekend trips. They might buy you a train ticket and a lunch in exchange for a write up. You can also pitch larger travel publications articles about things you love in your city and wouldn't mind having more traffic through those places.

Also, expository writing about a skill you have. Organization, cooking, craft. You could also get super meta and write about metafilter.

You might consider getting a reddit profile and joining writing groups there. Some have prompts.

Finally, start a blog. It's a great thing to be able to refer folks to. I bet you could turn/combine a lot of your answers from the Ask vault into longer form articles.
posted by bilabial at 11:40 AM on June 16, 2019

Response by poster: Last redirect and then I'll sit on my hands - I actually do have a blog, and that is helping get my butt into a chair; I'm finding, though, that since I only answer to myself, it's a little too easy for me to be lazy and blow off writing in it. That's why I thought of starting to get back into writing for someone else, so that I would have things like deadlines and such to answer to as an additional motivator. Same with non-pay writers groups, it's too easy for me to dodge them.

And as for "writing for my state tourism board" - I live in New York, so I would be a very small fish in a very big pond at this stage, that's actually a step or two after this. :-)

Verbilio sounds exactly like the right balance of "just enough pressure but not too much" at this stage, and I'm very interested already.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:31 PM on June 16, 2019

Are you in the freelancers' Binders on Facebook? MeMail me and I'll add you to a handful of groups if not.
posted by tapir-whorf at 10:18 PM on June 16, 2019

Best answer: Upwork is a pretty large and reputable site that sounds like what you’re looking for right now. I write a few articles a week for a gentleman’s website and it wasn’t particularly difficult finding someone that likes my bid on their gig. Go for the job posters that have a deposit down already or have a history of paid work. It takes about a week for the money to deposit in your account once they approve your work. It’s not just for writers, it’s pretty much a Craigslist for freelancers with a little bit more oversight and reputation. It’s perfect for dipping your feet in a little at a time.

I did write for textbroker for a few years and there are a lot of jobs available with no wait. But it is not very well paid and it can get a little more complicated than the pay should entail. I’ve written everything from descriptions for products on a website to long researched articles about Indian reputation management companies. Most of the articles only pay $1-10. I haven’t logged into Textborker since I’ve opened my Upwork account.
posted by shesaysgo at 12:26 AM on June 18, 2019

Response by poster: Any opinions on WritersWork? My computer has figured out what I'm doing and threw an ad for them up at me.

(Fret not: I am NOT trusting the hubba-hubba come-ons quoting exorbitant income on any of these sites, I'm considering signing up with a few of them simply as a "throw everything at the wall" move, and will be doing this largely for the "it will get my butt into a chair" experience of it; whatever money I get will be 100% gravy.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:10 AM on June 19, 2019

Response by poster: Update: I'm signing up for a couple of these but running into questions, I'll memail people who've recommended specific sites.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on June 22, 2019

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