Article by Wendy McCance
I have received a few questions from readers asking how I have been getting writing assignments. I’d like to share some of the details of how I got started writing. I hope it inspires you if you are trying to pursue a writing career as well.
When I started blogging, the last thing on my mind was making money. I wrote because I was angry, confused, had lost hope in society and needed answers. I just needed a place to put my thoughts, and trust me, if you read my early posts, you will see raw emotion and a lot of disappointment.
As the months went by, my attitude changed and I realized I was on to something. Writing was great and I wanted to make money doing what I loved best. I took all of the usual routes and thought about using advertisement, writing for magazines, websites and so on.
My first attempt at writing for a company was writing for Yahoo Voices. It’s incredibly easy to write for Yahoo. You can make some money (think pennies) but it’s a great place to start. You get your feet wet, have a published piece of writing and because someone reviews your article, you get valuable feedback on what might need to be tweaked.
There are several sites like Yahoo that are good for practicing your writing before you attempt the big league companies. In the beginning I just needed practice and a chance to expand my knowledge and gain some confidence.
Ok, skipping ahead, the real paying assignments came from offers I received. I haven’t had any offers to write for a magazine, but honestly, I still have query fear and have put out very few letters.
I think the turning point came when I started blogging for the Oakland Press. The Oakland Press is a local newspaper for our county. Get ready for secret number one:
Write an email to a few of the local newspapers. Most of the papers have an online presence and are looking for people to fill positions online in blogs. It’s worth a try. When you have your blog in a newspaper, you are looked at in a new light. Trust me, it’s not hard to do. Look around and see what types of local magazines circulate in your area as well. This is another good idea when starting out. People like to read a story from someone who lives in the same area that the paper is circulated.
Now that I have you thinking about a new way to approach your writing, I would like to mention the two key words that will change the way you look at getting writing assignments: Networking and Sales.
Networking and Prospecting are the keys to getting asked to write for a company. Every paying assigment I have gotten to date has been from people asking me to write for them. I was blown away the first time it happened. I had felt like I was spinning my wheels trying to find a way into the world of writing and here was a CEO of a company who had seen my articles and wanted me to write for his financial company.
You have to view writing as your business and your articles as your resume’. The keys to a successful business hinge on who you know and how well you can promote yourself. When you write a post and send it to several websites, you never know who will read your article and see the potential of you writing for them. Just make sure that you are proud of what you have written and that the writing is error free.
If you have a Twitter account, be picky about who you choose to follow. Pick people who are relevant to what you do. Surround yourself with the people you would love to talk with in person. Also check out who they follow. You gain a wealth of information on who’s who out there when you check out who they are interested in keeping up with.
Find websites where there are groups or discussions to join. Joining in the conversation on sites like LinkedIn or Quora is extremely valuable. Showing your knowledge on a subject can get the right people to notice your skills. I have gotten several writing assignments by getting involved in group discussions and showing off my writing abilities.
You are in charge of your own success and finding ways to promote yourself can have an extraordinary impact on your future.
The last thing I would like to mention is something I’m sure you have heard time and time again. You need to practice. Look, I have had a blog for over one year. In that time, I have created two blogs and have written a combination of about 447 articles. That’s almost an article a day. Some days I wrote more articles and some days I didn’t write at all. The point is that I practiced my craft. The benefits to practicing your writing are tremendous. You are finding your voice, gaining confidence, learning from your mistakes and really feeling like you truly are a writer.
The best reason I have found in having a blog is being able to test what you think might work without worry about thinking outside the box. You aren’t going to lose a job by doing something different. You can really let your creativity loose and see where it takes you.
In closing, remember, networking, sales and practice. Work on these areas and you will see success.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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