Greetings, Gather writers, and welcome to this issue of Freelancing for Pleasure and Profit.
Seasoned writing professionals are finding it may soon be necessary to cross genres or step out of their usual writing niche in order to continue generating full time freelance income. While diversifying is always a positive step, it may not be quite so easy for writers who have worked at the same publications and written the same types of articles for years.
This is why it is so important for freelancers to step outside their comfort zones frequently, and practice writing in a form or on a topic not typically their style. When or if a need arises, you are prepared to fill it. In a worst-case scenario, if your job is eliminated....or your usual freelance gigs dry up overnight...you are prepared to step into a variety of alternative options.
If you're a freelance reporter, brush up on short stories or lifestyle pieces. If you are a technical writer, moonlight a couple of nights a week as a town reporter. Are you a copywriter? Maybe you should hone your reporting skills.
It's easy to become stuck in a wage-earning rut as a freelance writer. As with any job, we are lulled into the security that it will be there forever. Sadly, it may not. But as a prepared freelance writer who has trained himself or herself to diversify, and has actually performed these other facets of freelance writing, the likelihood of dusting yourself off and moving on to a new freelance assignment is all that more likely.
So how does one go about learning a new mode of freelance writing? By reading. Get your hands on everything you can read that is the type of writing you plan to do....or want to learn. Read newspapers, online publications, magazines and even newsletters or pamphlets. Before long you'll have developed a keen eye for discerning the good writing from the bad, and you'll work to mirror that writing to a degree; while interjecting your own personal style.
Yes, there are more and more print publications folding in this economy. However online publications are stronger than ever and continue to grow. There will always be work for freelance writers. Just be prepared. You may have to write out of your comfort zone. So start reading, practice writing, and get ready now. Your efforts may very well put you at the top of your class.