Laying the Groundwork

Inside every freelance writer is an author eager to break out with a best-selling book. It may be a nonfiction work dealing with a topic you are on fire to proclaim. You have dreams of giving talks on the topic and signing copies of your book for rooms full of people eager to hear your message.

It may be a work of fiction in a genre that has captivated you since you were a young child. You love the setting and the characters that live in your chosen world, and in your imagination you are a part of this world.

Harsh reality sets in at the end of the month or the beginning of the month; it depends on when your mortgage, car insurance, utility and other bills are due. I need a (second) job to help with the growing expenses. If only I could earn enough writing to help pay the bills.

If only! You scan the freelance jobs available looking for that magic mix of good pay and steady work. You see some possibilities but they all require that you send in examples of your past work on a particular topic. You say to yourself, I could write on that — it doesn’t excite me but I could write on that. Regular work would be good, but I don’t have any past articles to submit.

We all know being an adult often means doing something we really don’t want to do. It’s no different in the writing world. Often we find that the regular work available is in areas different from the topics that get us excited. Because of that, we also don’t have the previous credits the job posting is asking for. But the regular work, and money, sure would solve a problem for us.

Short answer — deal with it! Sit down and write three to five great articles on some topic you consistently see job postings for. Do research if necessary to gain the knowledge. Then post those articles on your blog. You may want to create a unique page on your website for these postings. While not as wonderful as articles in actual magazines, they are better than nothing and they can get your foot in the door to a room of regular paychecks.

So now, you can cover the bills as they come in and you are doing it with your writing. Writing like this will force you to become a better researcher, so much the better for your books. It will also force you to meet frequent deadlines — another plus!

You can lay the groundwork for a successful freelance career by crafting your portfolio to earn the work you and your family need. What are you waiting for?

About Dennis McGeehan

Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband, homeschooling Dad of eight, a Martial Artist, Freelance Writer, Author and Speaker. He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. His latest book is titled The Diaries of Joseph and Mary.
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