Monday, May 19, 2008

How did you get started writing?

That's probably the second most frequent question I hear about getting paid to write.

When I first started my writing business, I spent hours every day looking for work. I'd respond to ads on Craigslist, read every listing on free project sites, pore over Writer's Market pages, and anything else I could find. The results? NOTHING! Skunked. Day after day.

Until I got "lucky" one day. I landed a gig that paid a whopping $2 each for 500+ word articles on mortgages. Oh, and there was a bonus of $100 if I managed to complete one thousand of these articles!

Then I got my hands on Peter Bowerman's books The Well-Fed Writer and Back for Seconds. Boy oh boy, a real eye-opener! Just thinking about my new business in this completely new way gave me hope that it could actually make some money.

Bowerman lays it all out for you. How to get into action and get your business going, what you need to do to get the word out, where to look for jobs, how to build your portfolio, how to think about pricing, even what equipment you'll need. He's got a great free newsletter that comes out monthly, too. You'll hear from other writers who are either full-time or trying to go full-time - what's working, how they've solved common problems, creative ways they've gotten new clients, all kinds of good info.

If you're just starting out, you really need to get your hands on these books. Not every strategy he discusses will appeal to you (cold calling - ick!) - but they're still worth knowing about and experimenting with. Plus, you'll pick up some great tips that'll squash your learning curve significantly.

Have you read the Well-Fed books? What tips and tools are you using? What do you think about Bowerman's approach to building a writing business?

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