Q: “I was wondering if you could direct me to your posts that are specifically about how to get started. I am currently in the stage where I feel like this is a field where I could be successful, and my main question right now is where to look for job opportunities (the real ones, not the scams!). I’ve had success with my writing on a very small scale- had some things accepted for publication in a national religious magazine for children, an article accepted for publication in the local newspaper, won a short story contest, etc. I am a stay-at-home mom so the smaller projects are more appealing to me with my busy lifestyle (and my short attention span? :-)). I also blog on my personal blog and on a group writing blog.
Anyway, if you could just point me in the right direction- maybe websites where legitimate jobs are posted, or groups I could join to help me find these kinds of jobs, that would be fantastic.”
~Kasey Tross from Mormon Mommy Writers
A: Hi Kasey. What a great question! I think there are a variety of resources beginning freelance writers can utilize when on the hunt for legitimate writing jobs. Five years ago when I scouted the writing market myself, I learned quickly where to find the good ones and the not-so-good ones. I’ll break down the places I’ve used here.
It’s easy to see why doing a job hunt online would be a beginning writers first line of contact. It’s fast and accessible way to find writing jobs. You may be surprised to know that a lot of the great writing gigs (some I still have currently) I got came via this route. You just need to know where to look and what to look out for. Here are the things you want to keep an eye out for. It’s all the red flags that will help you stay away from writing job scams.
- Craigslist. It’s still one of my most favorite ways to get a job. Surprisingly, I’ve gotten a lot of amazing jobs from big name companies this way. You just need to be careful to weed out the real jewels and the fake ones. That article above and this article on what new writers should watch out for should help.
- Freelance Writing Gigs. I used this website to troll decent writing gigs when I first started out and I occasionally still check out this site for potential leads. On the positive side, it lists several writing jobs in different categories and in various locations. On the downside, they usually list lower paying jobs.
- About Freelance Writing. Anne Wayman offers a helpful and informative guide for writers on her website. Here is her 20 potential online gigs and her job resource list for freelance writers.
- Problogger. In the past, I got two legitimate paying writing gigs through Problogger. It’s a great website for writers who want to get paid for blogging.
- JournalismJobs. I consider this to be one of the most legitimate website to find journalism jobs out there.
- Mediabistro. While I have yet to get a job from here, that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried or that I don’t troll their list every so often. Their list of dream jobs includes high paying gigs from mega media companies.
- @Writerjobs lists various writing gigs throughout the US every day.
- Gorkana. Sign up for Gorkana alerts and get a weekly job list sent to your email.
Aside from online resources, the best places to get new writing gigs is through networking and cold calls. I’ve been most successful when I’ve kept in touch with old and new contacts and introduced myself as a writer looking for new opportunities. Truthfully, the majority of my writing jobs have come this way. It helps when editors and hiring managers already know you (even if you’re just an acquaintance). Having a face with your resume really gets your foot in the door. You can meet potential networks through meetups, parties, and even through cold calls (via email). I’ve gotten several jobs this way and even career shadowed a reporter for a newspaper once. Contacting him was one of the best things I ever did.
Once you’ve had a successful experience with someone you’ve met, you open the door to potential future clients. And you’ll need to rely less and less on online resources and more on your contacts.
Hope that helps!
Any experienced writers out there want to share where they received their writing gigs? Please share it with Kasey below.