OK, I'm a freelance writer. Now what?
June 22, 2007 8:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I parlay the sudden improvement of my freelance writing resume into career advancement?

Since I moved to Los Angeles late last year, I've been trying to get some contracts, and about three weeks ago, my efforts came through in spades: I wound up with an ongoing series of projects doing search-engine-optimization copywriting for a web development firm. I also got work doing a series of podcast scripts for a travel writing content company (via, of all things, craigslist). And I was hired as one of the two bloggers (I did most of the actual blogging) for a big arts festival in Toronto. Needless to say, things are kind of working out pretty well.

But I'm hoping you freelancer MeFites out there might help me out with figuring out my next few steps. I've been working on turning my feeble website into a clearinghouse for my work (I've also got a few short films, but without links from the front page), but my design skills aren't spectacular (if you look at my site via my profile, it'll be sadly obvious) and I don't really have the time (or, right now, the desire) to learn enough to make it kick ass the way I want it to. And aside from doctoring up my website, I don't really know how else to make a decent portfolio when my work is so multimedia. I've got some great stuff going on right now, but it's not taking up enough of my time that I couldn't take on more work, and I feel like now I'm in a prime position to really start selling myself.

(The travel writing is great, but probably isn't as lucrative in the long run as the SEO writing, and for now I'd like to focus on whatever can make me more money.. But that doesn't mean I don't want to continue doing it, or wouldn't love to make a great career out of travel writing. I'm just aware of the financial realities.)

I hope this question's not too vague. If it is, just read it this way: My freelance writing portfolio has suddenly bulked up substantially, and I'd like to know how I can best use that to my advantage in advancing my (new) career.

(I've also checked out these excellent AskMe posts.)
posted by hifiparasol to Work & Money (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I use a Movable Type blog as my freelance writing HQ to show people my work. Each entry = a published piece, with entry headlines giving the title, publication, and pub date. My categories are things like "travel", "food and restaurants," "articles about writing," etc... I give people the option of linking directly to the publication site to read a story, or of clicking into the entry to read my manuscript.

I'm also an information architect, and the IA is what pays the majority of my bills. But my freelance writing gives me an edge in interviews, no doubt. I'm lucky that I can switch back and forth between roles since I'm freelancing for both.

Don't sweat creating a site from scratch. It's not worth my time since I'd rather be writing than tweaking.
posted by mdiskin at 9:09 AM on June 22, 2007

Do you mean that you want to advance your freelance writing career or do you mean you want to advance some other career (e.g. do you have a day job that you consider your career instead?
posted by acoutu at 9:34 AM on June 22, 2007

Do you mean that you want to advance your freelance writing career or do you mean you want to advance some other career?

The first thing.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:54 AM on June 22, 2007

Put together an email newsletter and mention your recent work. You can send it to your contacts. You could also do this with informal email messages.

Set up a blog and mention the work you're doing.

Ask your contacts if they know anyone else who needs similar work. Follow up.
posted by acoutu at 12:19 PM on June 22, 2007

(Side question: how did you get hired as the blogger for the Toronto festival? Just surprised they didn't hire locally.)
posted by loiseau at 5:44 PM on June 22, 2007

I was as surprised as you are. It was basically an I-know-a-guy-who-knows-a-guy situation -- a freelance editor I know got me the job at the last minute.
posted by hifiparasol at 5:50 PM on June 22, 2007

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